Asia’s continued global dominance as the home for investment and economic growth shows no sign of abating as we approach the third decade of the 21st Century. International momentum provided by the titans of industry such as China, India, Japan, Korea and the ASEAN, gives the continent continued dominance over the front pages of magazines in just about every industry outside of petrochemical production.
Because, while it remains home to almost half the world’s population, the combined production wealth of Asia today accounts for 32 per cent of global GDP.
In the south east of the continent, Thailand’s centrality forms a natural hub connecting Asian economies from north to south, ranging from China to Indonesia, and from east to west, linking Vietnam to Myanmar.
The country is strategically located at the heart of the ASEAN Economic Community, an attractive centre for regional production, trade, export and transportation. Surrounded by the world’s fastest growing economies, CLMV, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, Thailand presents perhaps the best investment destination in ASEAN.
Today however, the focus is very much on the country’s infrastructure and industrial development on its eastern seaboard.
For more than 30 years Thailand’s eastern coastal area has been the centrepiece of Thailand’s economy, linking trade and investment with the rest of the world and rightly earning a reputation as one of the wider region’s major industrial areas.
It is, for example, a major global production base for motor vehicles and electronics, a product of its integrated deep sea ports and modern facilities, with petrochemical investments that rank among the top five in Asia.
The region is rich with energy sources and materials for manufacturing, as well as an important provider of professionals and some of the most skilled labour in the ASEAN.
Today the Eastern Economic Corridor, a US$45 billion development project covering an area of approximately 13,000 square kilometres, is being pitched as the ASEAN region’s future centre of industry, the ideal place for regional HQs for multinational companies in the coming decades.
Speaking at the recent TCEB International Media Familiarisation Trip conference, economist Dr Cholachit Vorawangso Virakul said that the development will be the flagship project of the Government’s Thailand 4.0 project, an investment-led transformation tool for the evolution of Thailand’s economy.
“The EEC is a pivotal initiative for Thailand as we progress towards our economic and social goal of Thailand 4.0. It will be the most complete and special economic zone in Thailand, containing commercial metropolises of the future and providing a investor’s gateway to Asia,” she said.
“It’s an initiative featuring wide-ranging reform, economic as well as social. It’s about achieving sustainable growth and development. Industrial upgrading of target industries. It’s about upgrading the environment, creating eco-cities at international standards, fitted out to accommodate expat communities.”
It is, however, not the only story of infrastructure development that organisers can look forward to in Thailand.