Semiconductor industry vital to future foreign investment

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2024

Meeting of economic ministers discusses sending Thai students to train in Taiwan to counter lack of advanced skills

The government plans to establish a national semiconductor board to set investment and development strategies for this vital industry, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira said on Monday.

Speaking after the meeting of economic ministers chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Monday, Pichai said the setting up of the semiconductor board will help attract foreign investments and push Thailand’s economic expansion to meet the goal of 5% annually.

He added that Thailand already lagged behind other countries in the region in having a national committee dedicated to the semiconductor industry, which is crucial to the country’s future investment plan.

Pichai said the meeting also discussed the concerns of foreign investors and entrepreneurs regarding lack of advanced skills among Thai workers. The meeting proposed cooperating with factories and universities in Taiwan to send Thai students to train and improve their electronics skills, so they can fulfil market demand as soon as they graduate.

The Finance Minister cited a report from the Board of Investment (BOI) stating that the agency has been promoting investment in the electronics industry, which is being driven by the trend of production base relocation to mitigate risks from geopolitical conflicts.

The BOI said there has been significant investment in both electric vehicle and semiconductor industries, and encouraged the government to help create facilitating ecosystems for both industries in Thailand. This can be done by attracting entrepreneurs in advanced semiconductor manufacturing, such as chip production, electronics design, subcontract manufacturing, and testing of advanced chips to establish their facilities in the kingdom, said the BOI report.

The move would help increase the industry's value and create high-skilled jobs for Thai workers, said the BOI, adding that negotiations with global companies to support the move are already underway.

The government started hosting a weekly meeting of economic ministers last week in response to underwhelming economic growth in the first quarter of this year of only 1.5%.