Foreign investment in Thailand in the first half of 2012 showed a positive trend and indicated that Thailand remains a major investment base in the ASEAN region.
The Secretary-General of the Office of the Board of Investment (BOI), Mrs. Atchaka Sibunruan, said that, from January to June 2012, Thailand’s foreign direct investment amounted to 278.5 billion baht, an increase of 66.5 percent, when compared with 167 billion baht in the same period of 2011.
In terms of the number of investment project applications, it increased by 32.6 percent to 692 projects, against 522 projects in the same period last year. Japan remained the largest group of foreign investors, with the highest number of applications, at 389 projects worth 176 billion baht. Singapore came second, with 69 projects valued at 18 billion baht, followed by Malaysia, with 17 projects worth 11.4 billion baht.
The industries with the highest investment value included metal products, machinery, and transport equipment, with 240 projects valued at 108.9 billion baht; electronic and electrical appliances, with 134 projects valued at 59.7 billion baht; service and public utilities, with 130 projects worth 42.7 billion baht; chemicals, paper, and plastics, with 97 projects valued at 27.3 billion baht; and agriculture and agricultural products, with 38 projects worth 18.7 billion baht.
The BOI Secretary-General stated that, in the second half of 2012, BOI had planned road shows to various countries, such as Germany, France, China, and the United States. It will also open a new overseas office in Mumbai, India, in the middle of August. The Mumbai office will be BOI’s 14th overseas office, which is expected to attract Indian investors to invest more in Thailand.
Mrs. Atchaka confirmed the positive investment trend in Thailand’s industrial sector with expected continuing growth. Considering strong investor confidence in the Government’s comprehensive water management and flood prevention plan, she believed that the amount of foreign direct investment for the whole year would exceed the target of 630 billion baht, which had already been increased from the initial target of 600 billion baht.
Thailand’s investment regime is among the most liberal in the region. Foreign investment from all countries is welcome, as Thailand recognizes its importance for economic development, employment, and technology transfer. Various kinds of investment incentives are offered, with some restrictions for certain industries and activities.
The Government has also improved procedures to facilitate businesses and investment in Thailand by setting up a One-Start One-Stop Investment Center in 2009. This center provides information and consultative services to investors, with staff from 20 government agencies related to investment in Thailand working at one place.