Investors’ confidence in Thailand’s management of the COVID-19 crisis and the recovery outlook led in the first six months of 2020 to an increase in the number of investment applications, especially in target industries such as the medical sector, the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) said.
In the January-June period, 52 medical sector projects worth 13 billion baht filed investment promotion applications with the BOI, representing a 174% rise in the number of projects and 123% increase in investment value compared to the same period last year, BOI data shows.
The total number of investment applications for all sectors increased 7% to 754 projects, while the investment value dropped 17% to 158.9 billion baht due to the impact of COVID-19 and to the smaller average size of projects.
“Thailand’s performance in the first half of 2020 demonstrates that the country has shown particular resilience to disruption which is important to investment decision,” said BOI Secretary General Duangjai Asawachintachit.
Meanwhile, the FDI applications in the same period increased 5 % year-on-year to 459 projects with a total value of 75.9 billion baht.
Japan and China take the lead
Japan ranked first with 99 projects worth 22.6 billion baht, representing 30% of the total FDI value. China came in second with 95 projects worth 17.5 billion baht, followed by Singapore with 55 projects worth 10.6 billion baht.
The FDI applications contributed 61% of total investment projects and 48% of total investment value pledges during the January-June period.
In terms of target industries, the sectors that received the most investment pledges in the first half of 2020 from both domestic and foreign investors were electrical appliances and electronics, 28.3 billion baht; agriculture and food processing, 15.3 billion baht; automotive industry, 13.5 billion baht; medical industry, 13 billion baht and petrochemical industry, 4.4 billion baht.
During the period, BOI received 336 applications from new investors worth 42.5 billion baht, accounting for 49% of total project applications and 27% of investment value.
“Given the current situation, we will continue to review our scheme and to do what is required to support existing businesses and attract new investment,” said BOI secretary general.
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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative
Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.
Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.
By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.
However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.
In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.
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