The Board of Investment (BoI) helped companies arrange 248 business pairings worth 952 million baht in trade value during the virtual version of the 2021 Subcon Thailand, Asean's largest international industrial subcontracting event, a slight decline from its estimate.
Before the eight-day event, which ended Sept 27, the BoI expected business matchings to fall to 300 pairings, down from 1,300 last year, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19.
Despite the pandemic, organisers believed Subcon Thailand would help promote Thai industries and stimulate foreign investment.
There were 2,833 visitors from 16 countries, including Japan, Singapore, India and Vietnam, said Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary-general of the BoI.
"Among the highlights was the participation of global companies like Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Ducati and Electrolux," she said.
Many foreign companies prefer to buy raw materials from local firms to avoid delays of late deliveries from abroad, due to the pandemic, or a shortage of some items.
Foreign investors had enquired about the 2021 event schedule as they were keen for business matching with prospective local partners.
In 2020, the BoI helped arrange 1,300 business pairings with a total investment value of 4.6 billion baht.
This year, many investors were interested in new-generation technology in the automotive industry as they wanted to venture into the electric vehicle (EV) industry, said Ms Duangjai.
The National EV Policy Committee announced in March a goal to have EVs comprise 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030, part of an ambitious government plan to make Thailand a regional EV production hub.
The 2021 Subcon Thailand was co-organised by the Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association and Informa Markets. They said the event serves as a channel for industrial part manufacturers to negotiate trade deals with prospective buyers.
The BoI said it will continue to organise international business events to support Thai industries and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), despite the pandemic.
Kiattisak Jirakajornvong, president of the Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association, said earlier that over 400 firms and members of the association have the potential to support new investment projects, including those under the S-curve scheme.
Most of the members are SMEs using high technology, he said. They can serve many industries such as EVs, defence, medical equipment and rail systems.