Asean’s zero-tariff implementation this year has created great investment opportunities between the country’s biggest agro-conglomerate, the Charoen Pokphand Group, and Chinese investors with billions of US dollars to be spent on a range of projects. CP plans to set up a one-stop industrial park in Rayong province that will draw mainly Chinese investors.

The investment could come in any form, such as a joint venture wholly owned by the group or Chinese investors. CP is negotiating with potential Chinese investors. Its retail arm will soon be granted a licence in China for 7-Eleven convenience stores.

The Asean-China Free-Trade Agreement will open up a free flow of trade in goods and investment between the two sides.

CORE BUSINESSES Revenue from CP’s four core businesses – Charoen Pokphand Foods, CP All (the operator of 7-Eleven), the CP International Trading Group and True Corp – reached Bt346 billion last year. Chairman and CEO Dhanin Chearavanont yesterday said the group had set a capital-expenditure budget of Bt40 billion for this year that would focus on Thailand. Local investment will take up Bt30 billion at most, with the rest used abroad. “Thailand still has plenty of room for expansion, thanks to record-high foreign reserves and a rebounding economy,” he said.

China-ASEAN Free Trade Area

CP will focus its investment on Thailand for a few years before looking abroad. Its investment in China will be higher than in Thailand, because the economy there is growing and the purchasing power of its people rising. The focus in China will be on food and retail operations.

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Camilla Davidsson is a photographer based in Bangkok

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