British investors showing interest in Thailand 4.0 opportunities

5_Thai44British investors are among a growing pool of foreign investors who have expressed interest in the high-technology industries Thailand is planning on promoting as part of its “Thailand 4.0” policy, Great Britain’s ambassador in Bangkok said last week, as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha re-established the Creative Economy Policy Committee that had been left dormant by the previous administration.

Newly arrived British ambassador to Thailand, Brian Davidson, and his director of trade and investment, Marcus Winsley, met last week with Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang and told her that several sectors under the Thailand 4.0 creative economy policy hold appeal to British investors, including aircraft production, fashion design, energy-saving technology and other high-value manufacturing.

Thailand is working to become the aviation hub of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and British investment would help propel the Kingdom towards that goal, Atchaka said.

Ambassador Davidson said British investors are interested in the sectors of Thailand 4.0, but also want to expand their existing investments in a wide variety of industries because they see Thailand as the center of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the free trade and investment area composed of the 10 countries in the region.

“From now on, British investors will focus more on the ASEAN region,” he said.

Thailand 4.0 is a broad policy initiative developed by the administration of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to transform Thailand’s economy from one reliant on basic manufacturing to one driven by innovation, creativity, start-ups, higher-technology and green industries over a 20-year period.

To support that transition, the Prime Minister issued a directive last week to re-establish the Creative Economy Policy Committee, a high-level advisory body with the Prime Minister as chairperson and that will include members of the private sector. The committee had been left dormant by the previous administration.

The government is also planning to engage at least 10 foreign universities and educational institutes, including MIT Media Lab, Babson College and Stanford University in the United States, and Imperial College London, to help Thailand develop more creative products and innovations.

Thailand has also garnered interest from investors in South Korea following a recent seminar on Thailand 4.0 held by Thailand’s Board of Investment in Seoul. The event featured one-on-one meetings with Korean investors and representatives of the Thai private sector.

“Thailand is among the leading countries in ASEAN for IT (information technology) with great potential for further growth in its ICT industry. Many of its advantages such as good infrastructure, a well-trained workforce and strategic location will allow for greater development,” said Kim Young-sun, secretary-general of the ASEAN-Korea Center.

Thailand plays a crucial role in the increasingly advanced regional supply chain, particularly in cross-border logistics services, he added.