Thailand needs to speed up its transition towards Industry 4.0 by building more digital infrastructure and drawing foreign investors considering relocating their production bases because of the Covid-19 crisis, says Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.
The pandemic not only forces people to follow a new lifestyle, but it also causes entrepreneurs to consider making changes to their factories in terms of geography and technology, he said.
"The Covid-19 pandemic is stimulating uses of digital technology, making consumer behaviour change faster than expected," Mr Suriya said.
The trend is awakening industries to the need to develop their manufacturing techniques in line with Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution focusing on advanced technology and high-level services.
"The ministry is working on plans to make the development towards Industry 4.0 quicker," Mr Suriya said.
This means the country needs to put more efforts into developing technological and personnel resources in 12 targeted S-curve industries, ranging from new-generation cars and smart electronics to biochemicals and medical services.
Various industries will increasingly depend on digital tech, which will help them improve assembly lines and analyse a large amount of data to increase productivity, said Thongchai Chawalitpichaet, chief of the Office of Industrial Economics.
Thailand also must make itself ready to welcome foreign manufacturers that are reviewing risk diversification plans after production and transport in some countries were slowed or suspended due to Covid-19, he said.