Siam Cement Group (SCG), Thailand's largest cement maker and industrial conglomerate, has teamed up with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to develop an innovation hub for five industries under the government's S-curve policy.
The CAS is a leading research institute, established in line with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The institute has also made a partnership with CG Corporation since last November to develop and transfer knowledge of innovation and technology under the CAS high-technology industrial zone in Thailand.
The SCG-CAS ICCB Innovation Hub project is worth 100 million yuan (431.6 million baht). It is located at the National Science and Technology Development Agency in Pathum Thani.
Roongrote Rangsiyopash, SCG's president and chief executive, said the budget will cover the cost of researchers, technologies, venues and laboratory equipment, with the expectation of gaining returns from innovation creation.
Five industries/sectors are included: smart cities; artificial intelligence and robotics; high-value chemicals; new energy business; and environment and sustainability.
"SCG and the CAS began the agreement last November," Mr Roongrote said.
Under the agreement, both parties will develop new technology and innovation to meet market needs through various activities such as educational visits at research institutes and technology companies; innovation and technology exploration to fit a diverse array of demands; and proof-of-concept testing of innovations.
The CAS Innovation Cooperation Center Bangkok (CAS ICCB) is the agency under the partnership, with transfers of technology and innovation to benefit the Thai-Chinese service and industrial sectors.
Mr Roongrote said SCG expects commercial products from the innovation hub to be launched in the market within one or two years.
In 2018, SCG had sales of high-value-added products and services of 184.96 billion baht, accounting for 39% of total revenue.
SCG spent 4.67 billion baht on research and innovation during the period, representing 1% of total revenue.
Biao Jiang, the CAS ICCB's director, said the centre is one of nine offshore branches globally to play a prominent role in exploring partnerships with leading organisations abroad to showcase the CAS's scientific works.
The CAS comprises more than 100 research institutes with a total of 70,000 researchers and team members, a network of 800 senior researchers and three affiliated universities.
"In the initial stage of the innovation hub, the centre plans to launch three commercial products in high-value petrochemicals, new energy business such as energy storage and batteries, and smart cities," Mr Jiang said.