THAILAND: Chinese keen on rubber, tyres, auto parts markets

Chinese investors are expected to flock to Thailand this year, with direct investment estimated at 30-40 billion baht, notably in rubber processing, automobile tyres and auto parts.

Gao Wenkuan, the economic and commercial counsellor of the Embassy of China, said greater investments from Chinese investors were anticipated this year compared with projects worth a combined 17 billion baht applying for investment privileges a year ago.

The Board of Investment approved 28 projects from China last year, up from 15 in 2009, 27 in 2008 and 26 in 2007. The total investments were valued at US$17.31 billion, up from $7 billion in 2009, $3.47 billion in 2008 and $15.85 billion in 2007.

The investments mainly went to ventures in agricultural products, minerals and ceramics, metal products and machinery and services.

However, Chinese investors remain concerned about the government's investment promotion policy, the domestic labour shortage and energy supply stability, Mr Gao said on the sidelines of the Thailand-Anhui trade conference in Bangkok.

Energy supply is a particular of concern, as large investment projects need large amounts of electricity, he said.

Yu Yong, director of the Commercial Department of Anhui province, this week led 40 companies from the eastern province to Thailand. He said Chinese investors from Anhui were keen to invest particularly in agricultural and food-processing businesses, automotive and parts, pharmaceutical products and medical equipment and tourism.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)