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Accelerating Thailand’s Smart E&E Hub

Nov 09. 2020
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Given the rapid evolution of E&E technology, Thailand is aiming to maintain the global competitiveness of its supply chain. To this end, the Thai government has committed its full support to the Ministry of Industry’s development plan which aims to establish the country as ASEAN’s foremost hub of smart E&E users and manufacturers with the ultimate goal of patenting its own technologies by 2029.

The development framework focuses on upgrading the E&E supply chain to accommodate more innovations and facilitate the design of smart electronics ranging from electronic engineering to software, as well as promoting the local market adoption of smart electronics devices such as sensors and machinery for upgrading manufacturing and farming processes, by leveraging the country’s strong E&E ecosystem and position as gateway to ASEAN, especially the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) group of countries. It also calls for better management of electronic waste under the circular economy concept of reuse, recycle and refurbish as well as encouraging electronic waste reduction.

With the goals of enhancing Thailand’s competitiveness as a provider of Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) and upgrading the country from its role as a base for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), the 10-year framework includes four action plans. The first step is to upgrade the E&E supply chain to support high value added manufacturing with the objective of attracting 100 new smart electronic manufacturing companies, ten new IC design houses and electronic manufacturing service providers, and one smart electronics standard. The second action plan aims to promote more systems developers (SD) for the creation of an Internet of Things platform and Center of Smart EE (CoSEE) through the enhancement of investment incentives to cover all types of SD, standard development for smart E&E, and support for laboratories. The third action plan is to stimulate the market by offering more incentives for smart E&E factories to upgrade to the 4.0 platform with a target of USD 1.6 billion for the domestic smart electronics market. Under this approach, the Ministry of Industry will promote the use of smart E&E to monitor machinery for standardization. Step four is to introduce measures for managing electronics waste in a comprehensive manner.

The Ministry of Industry’s Electrical and Electronics Institute (EEI) has established a framework for the development of the industry in three areas, with its proposed E&E development referred to as a “national agenda”. The first step requires the creation of a collaborative platform among designers, programmers and marketers. Second, a data science center is to be established to ensure that industrial and behavioral data are analyzed and made use of more efficiently. Lastly, an innovation lab will be set up for researching and testing product standards and user designs.

The strategy of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is to develop the E&E industry in line with both organizations. The strategy calls for local business to deliver products that match the demand of each customer segment by designing products and their functions that serve IoT growth and the rapid changes in customer behaviors towards smart and eco-friendly products. The FTI’s strategy is also aimed at upgrading the Thai E&E industry to be more competitive as part of the global supply chain and produce innovations for manufacturers of smarter and smaller products. To achieve this, more support will be provided to enable businesses to improve their engineering designs and the development of new products, such as sensors, components of telecommunications devices, smart energy management tools, electronic vehicles, medical devices and micro controllers. In addition, the local E&E industry could also leverage the country’s highly efficient electric power system to develop a smart power distribution system, as the country already enjoys competitiveness in terms of product standards.

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