Board of Investment retools to drive Thailand 4.0

The Board of Investment has formed new divisions and approved new investment categories last week to support advanced technologies and research to draw investment into the Eastern Economic Corridor and drive the development of the Thailand 4.0 national strategy, turning the Board into what the Bangkok Post called one of the Kingdom’s busiest state agencies.

The Board of Investment (BoI) approved six new investment categories that will receive promotional privileges in six industries targeted by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The six industries are agriculture and biotechnology; high-performance batteries and next-generation automotive; aviation; bioenergy and biochemical; automation machines, robotics and smart electronics; and medical instruments.

Among the privileges prepared for businesses investing in these industries are a corporate income tax exemption of 8 to 10 years and a 50 percent cut on corporate income tax for an additional five years after the tax holiday. Eligibility for those perks will be available for investors during the next two years.

The key to obtaining them is that businesses must be engaged in research and development or research and development-supporting businesses, and that they locate in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECI) and the Eastern Economic Corridor of Digital (EECD).

Firms seeking the privileges are also required to work with educational institutes, research centers or other “excellence hubs” on human resource development and employee training, said BoI Secretary-General Duangjai Asawachintachit.

“The government’s Thailand 4.0 scheme – meant to usher the country into more value-added, innovative and creative sectors – has made the Board of Investment one of the busiest state agencies as it reworks its processes and structures to promote technological changes,” the Bangkok Post wrote last week.

The Board has established five new divisions that the newspaper said were created to support industries investing in the corridor and what are called “S-curve industries.” The five new BoI divisions are: bio and medical industries; advanced manufacturing; basic and support industries; high-value services; and creative and digital industries.

S-curve businesses experience a gradual start while establishing a niche market, and then manifest rapid growth, assuming a dominant position in their field. They then may maintain a high-performance level, but with little growth because the market is mature.

The BoI will also oversee the Strategic Talent Center, jointly established by the BoI and other key organizations to identify available specialists or researchers in the fields of science and technology to support the private sector in conducting research and development and innovation activities