Chinese and Thai investors seek cross-border benefits
Chinese investors plan to build attractions in Thailand worth at least 2.5 billion baht to cash in on the tourism boom from the mainland.
Atchaka Sibunruang, honorary president of the Nanjing Business Association in Thailand, said the group took a delegation of Thai investors to meet leading investors in Nanjing to seek opportunities from mainland China.
The meetings generated initial deals between Thai investors and Chinese companies and individuals for business expansion in both countries, said Mrs Atchaka, also a former science and technology minister.
Potential investments include construction of a Nanjing-style crocodile farm and a spa resort in Thailand at a combined cost of 2.5 billion baht.
The crocodile farm will be close to Bangkok, while the resort site is under consideration.
"Chinese investors are interested in the Thai market because they see room to grow, especially for tourism business," Mrs Atchaka said. "China has been the largest source of tourist arrivals to Thailand for years and will continue to grow in the long term."
Chinese investors are also interested in fruit, as several Chinese companies have imported Thai fruits directly from growing spots such as Chanthaburi province, famous for supplying much of the world's durian.
According to the Nanjing Business Association, Thai investors have set up businesses in Nanjing such as boutique resorts, pet farms, tea farms and forestry companies.
Thai and Chinese investors are discussing a joint-venture tea farm in Nanjing valued at nearly 200 million baht.
According to Mrs Atchaka, the collaboration between Thai and Chinese investors is part of the economic development plan under China's One Belt One Road Initiative.
Part of the scheme involves drawing investment from abroad while China sets sights on expansion in other countries.
Huang Jin Wu, secretary of the country committee of the Chinese Communist Party for Fujian and Nanjing, said Nanjing is an up-and-coming destination for locals and international tourists.
Last year, more than 5 million tourists visited Nanjing to see old houses listed as heritage sites.
Toon Mahadumrongkul, a Thai investor who joined the trip, said Nanjing can be promoted as a new destination for Thai tourists because of its history, given that many Thai-Chinese migrated from Nanjing.
More than 9.8 million Chinese tourists came to Thailand in 2017, representing 28% of total arrivals.