THE THAI market has enough demand side support for South Korean robotics and automation firms to invest in the country thanks to Thailand’s 4.0 policy, Kim Jongheon, director of the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement (KIRIA), said yesterday.
Besides tax incentives, adequate demand for products and services will be a key factor South Korean robotics and automation companies will consider before making the decision to invest, he said.
Thailand has been pursuing a clear policy to promote robotics and automation systems in a bid to transform traditional factories into smart ones.
Kim made the remarks yesterday on the sidelines of the “Thailand-Korea Investment Promotion Seminar on Robotics & Automation”, in Bangkok, co-hosted by Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), the Asean-Korea Centre, and also KIRIA.
The seminar was aimed at a business delegation of 13 South Korean robotics and automation firms to help them gain an understanding of business opportunities and also to learn about the BOI’s tax incentives for the sector.
Kim added that it was up to these companies to make a final decision on whether to invest in Thailand.
The three organisations jointly arranged the three-day trip, which began yesterday, for these companies to explore business opportunities in Thailand.
Thailand has selected robotics and automation as the new growth engine for the country’s economy.
Thailand imports robotics and automation machinery worth over Bt300 billion per year and most of the businesses in Thailand need to utilise the automation system in the near future, Narit Therdsteerasukdi, deputy secretary-general of the BOI, said at the event.
This would give an opportunity to foreign investors to set up their base in Thailand to manufacture robotics and automation systems for the local market and for export, he added.
He said 39 projects had applied for BOI tax incentives to invest in the manufacture of robotics and automation products worth Bt3.351 billion since 2015 until June this year.
During the same period, 55 projects worth Bt18.958 billion sought BOI tax incentives to invest in robotics and automation systems to enhance their operations.
According to the BOI, South Korea was ranked No 8 in terms of highest value of the overall projects seeking tax incentives during 2015 to June this year – a total of 92 projects worth Bt14.737 billion.
Most of them were electric and electronics businesses.
Lee Hyuk, secretary-general of the Asean-Korea Centre, told the seminar that South Korea was one of the top five countries in robotics manufacturing along with China, Japan, the US and Germany, all together accounting for 74 per cent of the global industrial robot market, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) figures for 2016.
He said that trade in robotics between Thailand and Korea remained significantly low, which pointed to the strong potential for cooperation in robotics between the two countries.
Besides the seminar yesterday, the BOI Unit for Industrial Linkage Development and the Thai Automation and Robotics Association will jointly hold a business match-making event between Thai operators in the automation and robotics sectors and also related industries with their 13 South Korean counterparts.
Tomorrow, these 13 firms will be offered an opportunity to visit the Eastern Economic Corridor.