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‘Industrial Chinatown’ rides high on BRI

2019-04-09 10:29:36 China Daily

Complex in Thailand is endeavoring to create first-class investment platform for Chinese enterprises planning to go global.

Cheered on by the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, the Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone has set its sights on becoming an overseas "industrial Chinatown", offering Chinese enterprises a way to access the world stage, while bringing prosperity to Thailand's economy.

The zone, located on the flourishing east coast of the "Land of Smiles" and just a two-hour drive from the capital city, Bangkok, is jointly developed by China's Hangzhou-based Holley Group, which is engaged in the manufacturing of healthcare and pharmaceutical products, and Thailand's Amata Group, whose core operations are in the development and management of industrial estates and related businesses.

The zone is recognized by the Chinese government as its only national economic and trade cooperation zone in Thailand that endeavors to create a first-class investment platform for Chinese enterprises.

The industrial complex was formally established in 2007, cashing in on the Chinese government's strong support for domestic companies to "go global" since 2006, as well as the BRI, which was mooted by President Xi Jinping in 2013. Many Chinese enterprises have since invested in Thailand, starting up factories or other businesses at Rayong - a city on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand that's famed for its tranquil beaches and seafood.

As of late 2018, some 118 Chinese companies had set up shop in the zone, with a total investment of $3.5 billion.

The zone's gross industrial output value had reached $12 billion by the end of last year, according to Zhao Bin, president of Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Realty Development.

In an interview with China Daily, he said since the BRI was set in motion, Chinese enterprises have been keener to invest abroad, particularly in countries and regions along the BRI route like Thailand.

"About two-thirds of the Chinese companies came here between 2013 and 2018, many of which are manufacturers of vehicle parts," said Zhao, adding that most of them are in the manufacturing sector, including Zhongce Rubber (Thailand) Co, Zhongli Talesun Solar (Thailand) Co and New Thai Wheel Manufacturing Co.