October 19, 2023
BANGKOK – Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who is in China to attend the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, has also spent the last couple of days wooing investors.
Srettha, who is being accompanied by a delegation of 50 businessmen, is scheduled to meet President Xi Jinping on Thursday to discuss bilateral trade ties.
Meanwhile, he has met representatives of six top companies in China, and the results of the meetings is summarised below:
Srettha met Sun Yongcai, chairman and executive director of CRRC, the world’s largest state-owned enterprise producing rail transit equipment, engineering machinery and other types of electrical equipment.
At the meeting, CRRC expressed interest in Thailand’s transportation infrastructure, including high-priority areas such as bio-circular-green (BCG) economy, renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Srettha invited the group to establish factories in Thailand, with a particular emphasis on technology transfer. He said Thailand had a surplus of labour, a good healthcare system and a high demand for railway engines.
• Alibaba Group
In a meeting with Fan Jiang, CEO of Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group, Srettha discussed investment in cloud services in Thailand to support its digital industry development.
Alibaba considers Thailand strategically important thanks to its large market and customer base. At the meeting, it expressed interest in providing training programs for e-commerce and pledged to develop Thailand’s digital economy. Alibaba also expressed interest in collaborating with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to launch tourism promotions online.
Srettha met Alain Lam, chief financial officer of Xiaomi Technology, to discuss the option of expanding the production of electronic components in Thailand.
The mobile phone giant has already set up Xiaomi Technology (Thailand) Co Ltd to serve as a hub for mobile phones in Southeast Asia.
At the meeting, Srettha also highlighted the Southern Economic Corridor project, which aims to link the region logistically. Xiaomi, meanwhile, has shown interest in collaborating within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and is exploring factory setups to support business growth.
• Ping An
Srettha held discussions with the insurance giant’s executive director Xie Yonglin on green investment policies. His aim is to boost investment in green initiatives by 20% in 2023 and expand insurance services internationally.
Ping An, meanwhile, sees good opportunities in Thailand thanks to a high number of Chinese expats and tourists as well as its flourishing medical tourism industry.
• CITIC Group
The premier met CITIC Group’s chairman, Zhu Hexin, to encourage investment in Thailand’s strategic industries, such as agriculture, food, medical and clean energy sectors.
He also encouraged CITIC to set up regional headquarters in Thailand, as well as expand its financial arm in the country to help leverage Thailand’s EV industry. In return, Srettha offered investment benefits from the Board of Investment (BOI).
• China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco)
Srettha met Yang Xiaoqing, chief executive officer of China’s largest defence contractor, which produces commercial and military products.
The prime minister is also set to meet representatives of Huawei, Tencent, EVE Energy and GDS Data on Thursday.
Separately, Srettha will deliver a speech on “Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature” on Wednesday and will preside over the Thailand-China Investment Forum on Thursday.
This forum will be attended by Chinese entrepreneurs and key Thai officials such as Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, BOI secretary-general Nattapol Rangsitpol, president of the Federation of Thai Industries Kriengkrai Thiennukul and Thai Chamber of Commerce chief Sanan Angubolkul.
Also attending will be Bank of China deputy CEO Jiang Xiaotong, who is expected to discuss the bank’s role in supporting bilateral trade and investment.