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Korean EV makers meet BoI to discuss opportunities

Aug 04, 2023Aug 04, 2023

PUBLISHED : 31 Aug 2023 at 04:00

WRITER: Lamonphet Apisitniran

A group of electric vehicle (EV) businesses from South Korea and the mayor of Yeonggwang-gun, Korea's leading e-mobility city, recently met with the Thai Board of Investment (BoI) to seek EV investment opportunities here.

According to BoI secretary-general Narit Therdsteerasukdi, the board talked with Kang Jong-man, mayor of Yeonggwang-gun, and a delegation of more than 20 representatives of EV manufacturers that are members of the Korea Smart e-Mobility Association (Kema), on ways to enhance bilateral cooperation and investment in EVs.

Many of these visiting South Korean companies are small EV makers, EV motorcycle makers, and EV agricultural makers.

The BoI also invited Thai companies which South Korean investors wanted to meet, such as Panus Assembly Co and Next Point Plc.

According to the BoI, the government wants South Korean investors to invest in Thailand, particularly in S-curve industries and the Eastern Economic Corridor.

In May 2023, the BoI staged a roadshow in South Korea to invite investors to invest in Thailand under the framework of its new investment promotion strategy for the next five years (2023-27).

The BoI is promoting EVs, the bio-, circular and green economic model, smart electronics, especially upstream investment in wafer fabrication, and digital and medical devices.

Mr Narit said investors from South Korea are interested in the EV industry because Thailand is an automotive production base in Asean with strong supply chains for automotive parts and logistics.

Thailand also has high potential growth for the EV industry, and the government has strong measures to support the EV industry, including its subsidy policy for EV cars and battery production.

Thailand and South Korea are long-term strategic economic partners. Between 2018 and 2023 South Korean investors applied to the BoI for 144 Thai investment projects, with a value of 58 billion baht. These involved mostly home appliances, electronics, automotive parts, steel and metal, and digital businesses.

For the first six months of 2023, the BoI reported that the automotive and auto parts industry received 80 investment applications worth a total of 19.6 billion baht, with most projects involving the production of parts such as tyres, axles, hybrid transmission systems, and electric charging stations for EVs.

Fourteen EV battery manufacturers have been granted investment promotion benefits for projects worth a combined investment value of 33.9 billion baht, representing an annual production capacity of 276,640 units.

South Korea is a global leader in the EV and automotive industries, with Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors Corporation among the major players. The city of Yeonggwang-gun has the highest EV penetration rate in the country.