BoI sees medical sector spike
New investment in medical services and equipment soared in the first seven months of the year as government policies boosted targeted industries, according to the Board of Investment (BoI).
Secretary-general Hirunya Suchinai said investment value via new applications in medical services and equipment from January to July was 5.10 billion baht. That was a 251% jump over the same period last year, when investment in the sector was 1.45 billion baht.
"New applications in medical services and equipment rose substantially due to the government's policy to stimulate investment in 10 targeted industries," she said.
The 10 sectors are meant to modernise the country's industry as part of the government's Thailand 4.0 scheme. The targeted industries are: automotive and auto parts, including electric vehicles; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.
Apart from stimulating investment in the medical sector, the government also aims to make Thailand the medical hub of the Asean region, said Mrs Hirunya.
One move that could help drive the Thai medical industry and improve its medical technology is a plan to produce intraocular lenses. The project has already been approved by the BoI, with operations expected to begin by January next year.
Some 50,000 intraocular lenses are expected to be produced every year, she said.
Mrs Hirunya noted the project was a collaborative effort between private investors, the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office (STI) and King Monkut's University of Technology North Bangkok.
"This project will help reduce the need to import expensive intraocular-lenses from overseas and also help serve domestic demand, as the number of patients suffering from eye diseases is rising," she said.
The BoI has revised its target for new investment this year to 550 billion baht, up from the previous target of 450 billion, due to expectations that interest from Asian investors will rise.