Foreign companies flirting with EEC Smart City plan
Nine foreign companies have expressed intent to invest in the Smart City initiative, part of the government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme, but they have yet to apply for Board of Investment (BoI) incentives, says the industry minister.
The Smart City project focuses on urban development to serve investors and industrial plants in the EEC provinces: Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.
The government expects to improve the local economy and create an economic value chain based in the Smart City.
Minister Uttama Savanayana said the interested foreign companies are from South Korea, Austria and China.
The government is in talks with Chinese company Huawei, which is studying the feasibility of the EEC's Smart City.
"Both parties will develop and create crucial concepts for the Smart City," Mr Uttama said.
The governments of South Korea and Austria are also in talks with Thailand about the project.
The Smart City project has a variety of aspects, from economy, tourism, safety and environment to healthcare, education and governance.
Mr Uttama said the government will hold roadshows in Britain and France in June to present the much-touted EEC scheme after the EEC Act's implementation last month.
The roadshows will take place in South Korea, Japan and China as well.
"Investors from Britain are interested in biotechnology and electric cars, and we will meet with France's Airbus to talk about the investment for maintenance repair and overhaul centres in the EEC provinces as Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding last year," Mr Uttama said.
The EEC scheme has received investment applications worth roughly 300 billion baht, he said.
The government believes that the 2018 EEC Act will build investor confidence and the corridor will beef up investment flow in the near future.
Under the corridor, 10 targeted industries are prioritised: next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital and medical services.