Thailand Attracts Over $16B Investments in 2016

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Thailand Board of Investment announces investments to the Kingdom surged by 56% across multiple key sectors.

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The level of investments to Thailand has been extremely encouraging and are helping transform the country into an important player within the Asian economic ecosystem.

The Thailand Board of Investment New York office announced that the value of investments to Thailand over the course of 2016 surged to 584.35 billion baht, about $16.6 billion US dollars, beating its target of 550 billion baht, which lends hope that 2017 investments will pass the 600 billion baht mark.

The number of investment applications in 2016 nearly doubled to 1,546 projects, of which 70% were approved. Of these approved projects, 33% have started investment procedures. The 2016 number represents a 56% increase compared to 2015’s 988 projects, while their value soared by 196% from 197.74 billion baht in 2015.

The BOI expects these investments will help to create 139,000 jobs for Thais, while encouraging the use of domestic raw materials worth 697 billion baht per year and produce exports worth 877 billion baht per year.

“The level of investments to Thailand has been extremely encouraging and are helping transform Thailand into an important player within the Asian economic ecosystem,” said Deputy Secretary General of the Thailand Board of Investment, Ms. Ajarin Pattanapanchai. “Our country is one of the favored foreign direct investment destinations for North American, European and Asian companies in the ASEAN region.”

According to BOI, 59% of investments, or 908 projects, originated from foreign investors. Out of those investments, 581of them were new projects with an investment value of 92,426 million baht and 327 were expansions representing a value of 208,587 million baht. The top five foreign investments in Thailand originated from Japan, Singapore, China, Netherlands and Hong Kong.

The United States ranked seventh with 29 projects and an investment value of 9,320 million baht, which represented a 61% increase compared to 2015. U.S. companies that invested in Thailand include Seagate Technology, Microchip Technology, Lumentum Operations, Baxter International, Mars Petcare, Dow Chemical and Goodyear.

Industries that attracted the most foreign investment in 2016 are automobiles and parts (88.51 billion baht), electronics and electrical appliances (64.91 billion baht), petroleum and chemical products (46.98 billion baht), agriculture (45.89 billion baht) and tourism (21.98 billion baht).

Entrepreneurs should take note that Thailand was ranked number one in a March 2017 ranking on best countries to start a business, conducted by US News & World Report in partnership with brand strategy firm BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Relatively low initial costs and streamlined procedures, according to the report, make countries attractive to entrepreneurs. Also, Thailand was ranked once again the least miserable country to do business in within Bloomberg’s 2017 Misery Index. The index, computed by adding inflation to the unemployment rate, gives Thailand a score of 1.11, which is the best – or least miserable – for all 74 economies surveyed by Bloomberg, in terms of people holding a job and keeping the rising cost of goods in check.

The Thai government, in an effort to drive additional foreign talent and technology transfer to the Kingdom in 2017, has recently launched its new digital economy “Thailand 4.0” policy, which promotes high-tech investment. The six-prong strategy includes supporting infrastructure development, electric cars and parts, sophisticated technology industries such as aviation and parts, medical equipment and medicine, renewable energy and the establishment of the East Economic Corridor.

The BOI will also enforce new laws including the BOI Act and the Competition Act in support of new investment in research and development and innovation.

“We are committed to ensuring that we have a healthy economy,” said Deputy Secretary General Pattanapanchai. “A robust foreign direct investment environment is one of the core components of a thriving economy.”

About BOI
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) is the investment promotion agency for Thailand that facilitates foreign direct investment. BOI’s services are free of charge and customized to help business succeed in Thailand. For more information, please visit http://www.boi.go.th and http://www.thinkasiainvestthailand.com

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David Margolis
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