China’s BYD signs land deal to build first EV plant in Thailand

China’s BYD signs land deal to build first EV plant in Thailand

A BYD Co showroom in Shanghai, China, on Aug 31, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)
A BYD Co showroom in Shanghai, China, on Aug 31, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Chinese electric-car maker BYD Co signed a land purchase deal Thursday with WHA Corp, Thailand’s largest industrial-estates developer, to build its first electric vehicle (EV) production plant in Southeast Asia.

The plant is expected to start operation in 2024 and have annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, mostly for export to Southeast Asia and Europe, the companies said in a joint statement. 

The deal follows BYD’s partnership with local distributor Rever Automotive Co, which announced last month it will start selling BYD cars in several dealerships across Thailand by the end of 2022. BYD has announced its entry to several overseas markets in recent months, including Denmark, Germany, Israel, Japan and Cambodia.

The site covers 237 acres (96 hectares) at WHA’s Rayong 36 Industrial Estate. The deal is WHA’s “most significant” in 20 years, it said in the statement.  

BYD plans to invest about 30 billion baht in production of electric vehicles, according to Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office. Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) last month approved BYD’s 18 billion baht plan to manufacture battery-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the country. 

The Chinese EV maker, backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, is among the latest companies to take advantage of the Thai government’s tax incentives, a key part of a plan to make Thailand -- a longstanding auto manufacturing powerhouse -- become the EV production hub of Southeast Asia. The Thai government earlier this year allocated about 43 billion baht through 2025 to promote the use of EVs as part of the effort.

Thailand aims to ramp up local EV output to reach at least 30% of total car production by 2030.

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