Chinese EV battery firms 'eye Thailand'
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Chinese EV battery firms 'eye Thailand'

Initial investment of B30bn expected

The Board of Investment (BoI) said it believes that at least two leading Chinese manufacturers of electric vehicle (EV) battery cells will choose Thailand to make their wares, with a combined initial investment of 30 billion baht.

BoI secretary-general Narit Therdsteerasukdi said the expectation is a follow-up to the government's roadshow highlighting the promotional privileges for Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery makers, which took place in the two southern Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong from April 7-10.

He said that many manufacturers showed interest in investing in Thailand. The list includes Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), China Aviation Lithium Battery (CALB), Inpow Battery Technology (IBT), Eve Energy, Gotion High-tech, Sunwoda and SVOLT Energy Technology.

These companies see investment opportunities in Thailand and are interested in the BoI's new promotional privileges for producing battery cells for EVs and energy storage systems, Mr Narit said.

Producing battery cells is an upstream industry that uses advanced technology and knowledge of chemicals and materials and requires huge investments. It is the heart of the EV industry, he said.

The BoI can let investors waive their corporate income tax while also offering them exemptions on tariffs of imported machinery and raw materials, as well as financial support, all to increase their competitiveness.

Mr Narit said that this year, at least two large manufacturers have clear plans to produce battery cells in Thailand, and they will invest about 30 billion baht. Each manufacturer will begin with a production capacity of 6-10 gigawatt hours a year, he said.

Some other companies are either in discussions with Thai partners or are expanding their studies into the issue after earlier planning to produce only battery modules and packs. They are interested in the promotional privileges, Mr Narit noted.

"I believe that in two years' time, Thailand will have a large-scale battery cell factory. This will be another milestone to strengthen the supply chain and the foundations of the electric vehicle industry," the BoI secretary-general said.

China leads the world's battery industry. Chinese cell battery manufacturers have a combined market share of more than 60%, with CATL sitting at the top.

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