Digital industrial estate planned for Eastern Economic Corridor

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Thailand’s industrial prowess will be getting more hi-tech in the near future as the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand announced plans to collaborate on building a $280 million ‘Digital Innovation Park’ in Sriracha that will be home to innovative technology companies and linked to the new Eastern Economic Corridor.

CAT Telecom and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) signed a memorandum of understanding last week to build and manage the park as a joint venture with construction beginning in 2017 and the facility open for business in 2018. The 237-acre Digital Innovation Park is located in a special economic zone, is in Thailand’s industrial heartland of the Eastern Seaboard, and falls under one of the 10 industries the government would like to cluster and focus on in its efforts to transform Thailand into a more advanced economy.

“The Digital Innovation Park will be a big smart metropolis,” said Verapong Chaiperm, governor of the IEAT. He added that his agency would develop special incentives for businesses and industries that choose to locate there.

For its part, CAT Telecom is planning to develop and install optical fiber links, internet gateways, a data center and cloud computing systems to ensure the highest-level technical infrastructure support for businesses in the park. The investment by the company would be about $280 million.

By mid-2017, the company will conduct roadshows abroad to woo international high-technology companies to invest in and set up shop at the new estate. The facility is a stone’s throw from a CAT telecommunications station. CAT is the agency that manages Thailand’s telecommunications links with the outside world.

The Digital Innovation Park would be a complement to Thailand’s Science Park located just north of Bangkok. Also developed and managed by state agencies, the Science Park is home to a different segment of the high-technology universe. It provides facilities for what are generally smaller-scale start-up enterprises by entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists and other innovators, and is situated near five universities that can also provide talent and human resources.

The Digital Innovation Park, however, will focus on attracting more established international technology companies that need closer links to the ports, rail lines, roads, airports and other industries that make the Eastern Seaboard the Kingdom’s industrial powerhouse.

Because of its specialization, however, the park will have more advanced digital infrastructure that what is typically found at most Thai industrial estates. However, the park will also serve to as a model for more advanced digital infrastructure and is expected to spur other estates to upgrade their facilities to become even more advanced.