With the global economic slowdown and the spreading coronavirus, Thailand's investment applications are likely to fall below last year's 756 billion baht, according to the Board of Investment (BoI).
Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary-general of the BoI, said it's difficult to set a target for investment applications this year because of a slew of risk factors, particularly the world's economic slowdown and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The BoI was scheduled to set an investment application target in February, but it has not done so.
The board reported that total investment applications in 2019 stood at 756 billion baht from 1,624 projects.
This value was 7% lower than for 2018 applications, which were worth 815 billion baht, with the number of projects also down 7% from a year earlier.
In 2019, Chinese investment applications surpassed those by Japanese firms for the first time, worth almost four times as much at 262 billion baht for 203 projects.
Applications for investment in the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor amounted to 506 projects, with investment worth 449 billion baht.
Japanese investment applications totalled 73 billion baht for 227 projects, while Hong Kong investors were in third place with 36 billion baht for 67 projects.
Of the total investment applications from China, roughly 160 billion baht was for projects in 12 targeted industries and general sectors, while 101 billion baht was for the high-speed railway linking three airports.
The government is promoting advanced technological development in 12 targeted industries: cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education development.
Last year the BoI approved investment promotion for 1,500 projects, up 2% from 2018, worth 447 billion baht, down 19% from the previous year.
"This year, the agency continues with investment promotion, particularly in local economy development, R&D and high tech," Ms Duangjai said.
At the latest meeting on April 13, the board approved further measures to promote local economy development, entitling investors to a corporate income tax exemption for another three years.