November 16, 2023
BANGKOK – His meetings on Tuesday focused on boosting confidence, strengthening relationships and positioning Thailand as a regional business hub in Asia.
Expressing his government’s vision for propelling Thailand forward, Srettha invited Stanford University to become a key partner in this journey. He also lauded the ongoing collaboration with Kasetsart University in the Big Data training programme and said he hoped more Thai universities would collaborate through a faculty exchange programme.
While interacting with Thai students in the US, the PM covered a range of topics, including environmental concerns such as air quality and PM2.5 pollution as well as a broader landscape of education. Srettha also commended the students for the value of experience, education and opportunities they will be bringing back home upon graduation.
Underscoring Thailand’s openness to investments, Srettha invited private sector leaders to contribute towards promoting the exchange of skills and expertise to boost Thailand’s competitiveness.
Here are the results of some strategic meetings Srettha held with leaders of key US corporations:
• The US retail giant unveiled plans to invest in modernising its stores, expanding services and enhancing food departments.
• Acknowledging Walmart’s consistent purchases from Thailand, Srettha invited it to consider establishing distribution centres on Thai soil.
• Walmart executives aired interest in several agricultural products from Thailand such as rice and fruits, and said they will visit in the first quarter of next year to explore new products and potential suppliers.
Western Digital (WD)
• Since Thailand hosts WD’s largest HDD production base, Srettha commended the company’s decision to also make the country a global hub for the manufacturing of hard disk recording heads.
• Srettha highlighted Thailand’s commitment to green energy and encouraged WD to upskill local labour.
• The company, meanwhile, lauded Thailand’s new long-term resident visa initiative, saying it makes the country more attractive for high-potential individuals to reside and invest in Thailand.
• WD also said it was considering moving its headquarters to Thailand.
• Google is considering Thailand as a potential location for its 11th global data centre and fourth in the Asia-Pacific region. The technology giant has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration with the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry.
• Srettha lauded the collaboration, saying it will enhance the country’s digital competitiveness and improve public services through digital government transformations.
• Microsoft is currently exploring options to invest in a large-scale data centre in Thailand. The prime minister commended the company’s signing of an MoU with the government, which he said demonstrates Thailand’s commitment to enhancing public services through digital technology.
• Recognising the importance of clean energy, Srettha said Thailand has introduced the Utility Green Tariff (UGT) to support Microsoft’s focus on renewable energy.
The news report states that in the investment for Data Centers in Thailand by Google and Microsoft, there is a preliminary indication that the investment value for each company will be up to THB100 billion, totaling over THB200 billion.
• Sam Altman, the CEO of the company behind ChatGPT, met Srettha and told him that OpenAI was considering opening a branch in Thailand. The prime minister welcomed the suggestion and said the branch could be set up in Chiang Mai or Phuket, thanks to their favourable ecosystems.
• Srettha said Altman’s decision to meet him signified a positive sign of interest in Thailand, which he believes would lead to mutual benefits.
The prime ministers’ discussions with top US executives underscored Thailand’s potential for investment opportunities and its growing importance in the global technology and manufacturing landscape.