Thai smart electronics sector proving to be smart investment.

Thailand is transforming its traditional electronics manufacturing into a higher-tech smart electronics sector, and one American electronics executive said that his company’s investment in the Kingdom was one of its best business decisions.

“In the past, companies would go to countries like Thailand just to reduce cost. We are here because of capability, technology and quality as well as the low-cost advantage,” said Ronald Rocha, Vice President of Benchmark Electronics.

Eighteen years ago, Benchmark bought the Thailand operations of a competitor. Now manufacturing at the Hi-Tech Industrial Estate just north of Bangkok, its Thailand-made smart electronics account for one-fifth of the company’s global revenues.

“The Thai acquisition was an excellent decision,” Rocha said.

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) said that Benchmark’s story illustrates how industries in the Kingdom are transforming along with the entire economy. According to the World Bank, having used smart economic policies to become an upper-middle-income country, Thailand is now striving for further prosperity by embracing an innovation-driven national strategy known as Thailand 4.0.

Smart electronics is one of 12 industries prioritized under Thailand 4.0. All of them are higher technology or green industries that rely on research and development and innovation. And all are eligible for generous support, incentives and privileges from the Board.

They include medical devices, electric vehicles, robotics, automation and digital industries.

In 2020, Thailand exported $59.8 billion worth of electronics goods, making it the world’s 13th largest exporter of electronics products, according to Thailand’s Electrical and Electronics Institute.

Rocha said that Benchmark has taken advantage of Thailand’s BOI incentives. “We use them to buy machinery for our factories. That creates jobs and allows for more business. It is a win-win,” he said.

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