PM woos Chinese firms
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PM woos Chinese firms

Talks to business heads at BRF forum

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, where the Thai premier is attending the 3rd Belt and Road Forum on Tuesday. (Photo Government House)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, where the Thai premier is attending the 3rd Belt and Road Forum on Tuesday. (Photo Government House)

Chinese companies are interested in investing in bio-circular and green (BCG) economic development projects, as well as renewable energy, electric vehicles (EV) and transport infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Tuesday.

Mr Srettha had just met with Chinese business leaders on the sidelines of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing, which will end on Thursday.

Among those he chatted with was Zhu Hexin, chairman of Citic Group Corporation, which operates a wide range of businesses, including financial services, commercial banking, investment banking, asset management, resources and energy, manufacturing, real estate, energy contracting, and infrastructure.

Mr Srettha said Citic has already made some investments in Thailand and that the company and Thailand share an interest in clean energy.

Citic Dicastal, a subsidiary of Citic Group, is the world's largest producer of aluminium alloy wheels for the car industry, Mr Srettha said.

He said he invited Citic to set up a factory to produce alloy wheels in Thailand, and the company can expect to achieve steady business as four Chinese EV manufacturers have already set up plants in Thailand, with two more coming.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke also said that Citic has been ranked among Fortune's Global 500 firms for 15 consecutive years since 2009 and was ranked 100th this year.

The spokesman said Citic had also expressed interest in megaprojects under public-private partnership (PPP) deals.

Mr Chai added the prime minister invited Citic to co-invest in Thailand's five strategic industries -- BCG, which covers agriculture, food, medicine, and clean energy, the automotive industry, the electronics industry, and the digital and innovative industries.

The PM also invited the company to set up its regional headquarters in Thailand as part of a plan to push Thailand's new economies, Mr Chai said, adding that the company is also keen to expand its investments, particularly in areas Thailand is interested in, such as clean energy and industrial estate development.

Mr Srettha then met with executives of CRRC Group, which specialises in designing, manufacturing and maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock.

The company already supplies locomotives to Thailand, though it also sees increasing opportunities for export growth overseas, so it is exploring avenues to build a factory to produce electric rails and locomotives in Thailand, Mr Srettha said.

If the company can set up a factory in Thailand, the country will serve as a platform for the company's exports worldwide, Mr Srettha said.

He added that he also informed the company's executives that his cabinet recently approved the continuation of the southern land bridge connecting Chumphon on the eastern coast along the Gulf of Thailand to Ranong along the Andaman Sea.

If implemented, it will provide a logistics link for shipping to India, the Middle East and Africa, Mr Srettha said, adding that the land bridge project has sparked keen interest from the company.

The PM said he also invited executives of Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer of smartphones and consumer electronics, to set up a production base in Thailand. The company already has its regional headquarters in Thailand, but it has no production base yet, he said.

Mr Srettha then held talks with executives of Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group and asked them to consider promoting more products made by Thai small and medium-sized entrepreneurs on its online retail platform, Lazada.

"Talks with the companies were a success. We tried to encourage their investment in Thailand by offering tax incentives to them. They said they were glad and eager to do more business as Thailand is now open [to investment]," Mr Srettha said.

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