Chinese EV research centre to open investment floodgate in Thailand
The China Automotive Technology and Research Centre (Catarc) is to establish a regional office in Thailand, a move likely to bring substantial Chinese investment to boost Thailand’s position as an electric vehicle (EV) hub.
The move follows negotiations that showcased Thailand’s potential and is expected to bring further investment to drive the “30@30” goal – increasing EV production to 30% of total manufacturing by 2030.
EV production is a burgeoning industry forecast to drive Thailand’s economy over the long term while also reducing transport pollution and aiding the country’s path towards carbon neutrality.
In announcing Thailand’s selection to host the regional office, Kriengsak Wongpromrat, president of the Automotive Institute, noted that this would facilitate coordination with Chinese EV manufacturers looking to invest in Thailand and the broader Southeast Asian region.
Catarc is a technical powerhouse within the automotive industry under the supervision and asset management of the Chinese government. It also serves as a technical support organisation for national government agencies.
The regional office is expected to attract more Chinese EV businesses and investors to Thailand, making it a pivotal hub for EVs and modern vehicles in the region.
“Having support agencies in Thailand makes it easier for investors to follow. Our success must be credited to various Thai agencies involved, such as the Board of Investment and the Industry Ministry," Krieangsak added.
China is focusing on New Energy Vehicles (NEVs), with a goal to expand production to Southeast Asia. This could result in significant investments in China’s Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) business in Thailand soon.
Thailand’s National Electric Vehicle Board (Board EV) has outlined a policy to promote EVs in line with the 30@30 policy. This aims to boost Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) to at least 30% of total vehicle production by 2030. Currently, seven Chinese investors have entered Thailand, with a combined annual production capacity of around 350,000 vehicles. However, this falls short of the set target, although more production lines and business partnerships are expected to follow in the future.
Thailand will also need to develop systems compatible with emerging technologies as China and Thailand have different systems, such as road use and traffic signs. The Automotive Institute is preparing to adapt to these changes.
Catarc’s regional office in Thailand is currently being registered with the Commerce Ministry and is expected to open by the end of this year.