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Why Thailand’s Smart Electronics Sector Still Remains a Magnet for Investors

The Nation Thailand

From his headquarters on the appropriately named Hi-Tech Industrial Estate north of Bangkok, U.S. electronics company executive Ronald Rocha marvels at the success of his firm’s investment in Thailand.

Back in 2002, New York-listed Benchmark Electronics Inc. paid $45 million for the Thailand and U.K. operations of an American competitor. It turned out to be a bargain buy. Today, Benchmark’s Thailand unit accounts for one-fifth of the company’s $2.3 billion global revenues after morphing into a manufacturer of such sophisticated, high value-added products as surgical lasers, defibrillators and optical sensing technology for electric vehicles.

“The Thai acquisition was an excellent decision,” says Mr Rocha, Benchmark’s Asia Vice President for Electrical Manufacturing Systems. “In the past, companies would go to countries like Thailand just to reduce cost. We are here because of capability, technology and quality as well as the low-cost advantage. The government is industry friendly, there is a high emphasis on education and the workforce is very stable. Growth for us has been nonstop – 40 percent in the past five years.”

The story of Benchmark’s Thai investment epitomizes the transformation taking place in Southeast Asia’s second largest economy. Described by the World Bank as “one of the great development success stories” that has used smart economic policies to become an upper middle-income country, Thailand is now striving for further prosperity by embracing an innovation-driven strategy known as Thailand 4.0.

Last year, total shipments earned $59.8 billion, making Thailand the world’s 13th largest exporter of E&E products, data compiled by Thailand’s Electrical and Electronics Institute (EEI) shows. Now, as the so-called Internet of Things (IOT) revolutionizes E&E industries, Thailand is at the forefront of the transition to smart appliances that can communicate, monitor, control and interact.

Spearheaded by global giants such as Daikin, Mitsubishi, Sony and Toshiba of Japan, LG and Samsung of Korea, Bosch and Siemens of Germany, Seagate and Western Digital of the U.S., and Delta Electronics of Taiwan, Thailand boasts an E&E supply chain of  more than 2500 companies, according to the EEI. They include local champions such as chip designer Silicon Craft and ThaiGerTec, a Thai-German joint venture that designs and develops microelectronics, powerelectronics and embedded systems for the automotive industry...

13 November 2020

Thailand's Electronics Sector Still a Magnet for Investors in Jan-Sep, BOI Data Shows


BANGKOK, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic and the US-China trade friction have failed to slow Thailand's resilient electronics and electrical (E&E) industry which on the contrary many investors see as a haven, Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) data shows.

In the first nine months of 2020, the number of foreign and domestic companies which applied to invest in Thailand's E&E sector actually rose to 106 projects, from 94 projects in the same period in 2019, making it by far the most popular sector, totaling over $1.2 billion in investment applications submitted to the BOI.

Delta Electronics Inc., a Taiwan-based multinational that is one of the world's leading manufacturers of power supplies and electronics fans that are essential to cool computers, smart phones, home appliances and, increasingly, medical devices and electric vehicles, first opened a factory in Bangkok in 1988 and in 1995 listed its local subsidiary on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Today, Delta Electronics (Thailand) employs 12,000 people and accounts for $1.6 billion, or about 18 percent, of the group's $9 billion global revenues. Bangkok is the regional headquarters for all Delta's operations in Southeast Asia, India and Australasia and the Thailand business oversees research and development hubs in Bangkok, India, the U.S. and Germany. Next year it plans to expand further by opening a third factory in Thailand. "As an investor we really wanted to find a country that can give you confidence for the long term and that is why we chose Thailand," says Delta Thailand President Jackie Chang. "It is also very good for logistics, such as air and sea freight, and the people can adapt easily to different cultures."....

11 November 2020