SET-listed auto parts maker Aapico Hitech Plc (AH) is hopeful that its new research and development unit in Ayutthaya will help raise profit margins and competitiveness in the long term.
According to president and chief executive Yeap Swee Chuan, the new R&D unit integrates existing ones in production facilities in Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Rayong and Chon Buri, and will enable the firm to expand into new segments such as electric vehicle (EV) parts.
Mr Yeap said with the new R&D unit, Aapico, is set to increase spending in R&D every single year from just 10 million baht now.
Aapico acquired 25% stake in a Singapore-based Quantum Inventions in 2014 to support its mobility business. The company has also recently jointly invested in Thai start-up firm Smoothlane Co, the operator of digital automotive marketplace CarParagon.
Founded early this year by Thai and Korean classmates at Stanford Business School in California, CarParagon aims to make the search for a new car convenient and cost-effective.
With the exception of Isuzu dealerships, 40 authorised dealers from all brands have joined CarParagon.
At present, CarParagon has 1,300-1,800 new cars listed in the website with 2,500 visitors per day.
"Thailand 4.0 policy, which focuses on using high technology and innovation to create more value-added products, has prompted Aapico to seek more automotive-related business based on new technology," Mr Yeap said.
Aapico runs facilities in Thailand, Malaysia and China, comprising 28 subsidiaries and 10 associates. Approximately 75% of its total revenue is from Thailand.
Aapico posted revenue of 15.14 billion baht in 2015, down 1.2%. Net profit stood at 313 million baht, down 14.7%.
It reported revenue totalled 11.35 billion baht from January to September this year, up 1.9%, with net profit rising 66.4% to 400.16 million baht.
AH shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 14.90 baht, down 30 satang, in trade worth 5.17 million baht.