Singapore takes crown from Japan

Singapore takes crown from Japan

Japan has lost its crown as the biggest foreign investor in Thailand for the first time in 40 years.

It has been overtaken by Singapore and China, whose investors are keen on heavy industries that need huge inflows, the Board of Investment (BoI) said.

Singapore is the biggest investor in Thailand this year, with an investment value of 13.1 billion baht from 51 projects, while China ranks second with an investment value of 10.7 billion from 37 projects.

Japan is third with investment value of 9.9 billion baht from 92 projects, according to BoI data for the first eight months.

BoI secretary-general Hirunya Suchinai said most of the rising investment value from Singaporean investors was indirect investment from China.

"Chinese companies have invested and run businesses in Singapore for a certain period of time before moving to Thailand in the name of Singaporean companies," she said.

Ms Hirunya attributed the fall in Japanese investment to the gloomy global economic outlook and the high-base effect from Japan's lengthy investment in Thailand, particularly in the petrochemical and automotive industries.

"But this year, Japan has switched to service sectors such as finance, plus logistics and high-tech industries with new innovations. That helps to reduce the investment budget, but they're more effective," Ms Hirunya said.

The drop in Japanese investment is in line with the government's policy of promoting high-tech industries that transfer innovation and technologies.

"We're confident Japan will not leave Thailand even though investment value has fallen this year. Thailand remains Japan's major investment hub in Asean, and Japanese companies have built fundamentals here for expansion," she said.

The BoI plans to host an investment roadshow in Japan soon in a bid to promote the government's cluster policy.

Hamamatsu mayor Yasutomo Suzuki said after the signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding between the BoI and a group from his city that Japanese investors were keen to know more details about industrial clusters.

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