Foreign IT firms eyeing EEC investment

Foreign IT firms eyeing EEC investment

Two giant foreign IT firms have expressed interest in spending 30-40 billion baht each in investment in the Digital Park Thailand, a 700-rai area in Chon Buri meant to serve as a regional hub for digital innovation, says Buddhipongse Punnakanta, digital economy and society (DES) minister.

He said one firm is American. He declined to go into detail about the other.

"The two firms are involved with IT and tech innovation," Mr Buddhipongse said.

He was speaking during a trip to Sri Racha yesterday to survey the Digital Park Thailand project, part of the government's Eastern Economic Corridor of Digital.

Two other companies have shown interest in developing infrastructure, Mr Buddhipongse said, adding that the project will be carried out under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. Both are Thai companies.

Terms of reference for the PPP are expected to be finalised in the next two months, and bidders should be able to submit their proposals by the end of this year, he said.

One firm is in the ICT segment and another has foreign shareholders, Mr Buddhipongse said without elaborating.

Under the PPP model, a private firm will invest in broad infrastructure other than ICT, which will be handled by state enterprise CAT Telecom, the landlord for the project.

The DES Ministry and CAT will have to select the bidder to develop the project through a joint venture with CAT.

"The companies interested in developing Digital Park Thailand see the potential of the project in the wake of the pandemic," Mr Buddhipongse said.

One highlight of Digital Park Thailand is the Thailand Digital Valley project, with 30 rai to host five key buildings meant to support advanced technology and digital development. The project is still under construction.

The first building is complete, while the second is scheduled to finish next year and the rest in 2023.

The facilities are aimed at serving as a centre for technology showcases, forums, research and development, and training, as well as providing a regional community for global tech firms.

The goal is to develop an innovation hub that results in the commercial launch of products.


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