THAI logistics operator Best Group has entered into a joint venture with Hong Kong-listed property firm Hydoo International Holding Ltd to set up an exhibition centre in Bangkok that will also host the what the partners say will be the world's largest financial technology (fintech) hub.
Worth Bt80 billion, the Trust City World Exhibition & Trade Centre is scheduled for completion in 2020, with construction work having already started. The centre will comprise 2.5 million square metres of exhibition space on Bangna-Trad Road KM 29. The complex will occupy a site of more than 500 rai.
The project is being operated under a local joint venture, Hydoo Best Group, of which 60 per cent is owned by Best Group. The remainder is held by Hydoo International, which has taken on its first overseas joint venture with the announcement of the project yesterday.
The trade centre is expected to reach a return on investment in 10 years.
Cheng Yiu Hung Raymond, vice president of Hydoo Best Group, said that Trust City World Exhibition & Trade Centre would be the company's first overseas investment project outside China.
He said Hydoo International had been listed on Hong Kong stock exchange for almost four years and its mother company had been doing property business in China for more than 20 years. The company had developed more than 20 turnkey projects, which are large-scale wholesale centres, featuring many shophouses, in some 10 cities across China.
“We have started to invest abroad and Thailand is our first choice,” said Cheng, noting that the company had been encouraged by the Chinese government’s adoption of the One Belt, One Road initiative, which promotes Chinese investment abroad.
“Thailand is also in a central location in Southeast Asia. There are a lot of Chinese people living, travelling, working and investing in Thailand. The Thai economy has been quite good over the past few years and the country will provide a lot of opportunities for our company to grow further.” Cheng said most of the customers at the company's wholesale centres are Chinese who don't know how to invest or do business abroad.
“With the company's trade centre being developed in Thailand, we will be able to help or work together with our Chinese customers to invest, set up factories, and sell their products in Thailand," he said.
Sittichai Charoenkajornkul, president of Hydoo Best Group, said that Thai entrepreneurs still lacked good marketing practices and a central trade venue for promoting their products. Such obstacles made it difficult for them to sell their products, especially in the regional and global market arenas.
The operations of Trust City will be held to international standards to enhance international business partnerships and handle a range of trade activities, the partners say.
“It aims to become a centre of the AEC Plus 6 grouping of Asian nations with a wide range of product categories, from raw materials to semi-finished parts. Trust City will also promote tourism and the MICE (meeting, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) industry, which is a highly developed part of tourism sector in Thailand," Sittichai said, adding that there would be an international pavilion at the trade centre and global companies would be invited to set up their own offices in the complex.
Sittichai said that Trust City was conceived on the idea of centralising Thai trade, which is fragmented, into various market venues, such as Bobae, Pratunam, Sampeng, Phahurat, and Giant Swing. The trade centre would have to be convenient and modern. It would allow Thai startups a chance to compete with overseas counterparts by gathering domestic and foreign products.
For the fintech hub, Symphony Quants, was selected as the project's strategic partner. It will develop a robotics wealth advisory system called Wealth DNA.