EV & electronic supply chain flee to Thailand due to geopolitical risks


Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, CEO of WHA Group. (Photo: Krungthep Turakij)

Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, CEO of WHA Group, Thailand's biggest industrial real estate developer, said that an increasing number of businesses are growing concerned about the potential return of former US President Trump to the White House and the escalating tensions following the Taiwan presidential election, the investors shift their focus to Thailand especially in electronic and electric vehicle sectors.

The Thai financial media outlet "Krungthep Turakij" held a forum titled "2024 Geopolitics: The Prelude to War," inviting numerous industry experts to share insights on Wednesday (Jan. 31). Topics such as US-China relations and supply chain relocation became focal points of the conference.

Jareeporn observed that the tension between the United States and China persists even with President Biden in office, indicating that the strained relations between these two superpowers have not eased.

She noted a clear trend of businesses considering Thailand as an investment and production base, estimating this trend to continue for several years. She emphasized that businesses are eager to invest establish supply chains in secure locations like Thailand with advantages of safety and neutrality.

Jareeporn pointed out that under a series of electric vehicle (EV) subsidy measures by the government, significant investments from China and Taiwan have poured into Thailand. She highlighted that Chinese companies, in particular, have purchased considerable amounts of land in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Wirat Tatsaringkansakul, Deputy Secretary-General of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), shared a similar view, indicating that the proportion of Chinese investments in Thailand has increased by 20-30% over the past two years. He also anticipated continuous growth in investments from China and Taiwan under the influence of geopolitical factors.

Wirat Tatsaringkansakul, Deputy Secretary-General of the BOI. (Photo: Krungthep Turakij)

Meanwhile, Chaichan Charoensuk, Chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC), discussed the recent "Red Sea crisis" geopolitical conflict, which has led to increased costs for businesses. He noted a significant reduction in the number of ships carrying goods, resulting in a 4-5 folds increase in freight rates and additional charges reaching $800-1000 USD, with delivery times extended by 15-20 days.

In addition to electric vehicles, Jareeporn mentioned that the supply chains for electronics, printed circuit boards (PCB), and semiconductors continue to attract investments in Thailand. This not only helps attract more buyers but also boosts the performance of the WHA Group, which has achieved record-high revenues for two consecutive years.

Regarding investments in clean energy, Wirat stated that although Vietnam holds an advantage due to lower wages, Thailand performs better in infrastructure and labor skills, thus having the opportunity to attract investments in the green economy.

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