China wealth fund eyes Thai stake
Targets investment in govt Future Fund
China has expressed interest in investing in the Thailand Future Fund (TFF), according to Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong.
The interest comes from the China Investment Corporation (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund responsible for managing part of China's foreign exchange reserves.
The CIC has over US$740 billion in global assets under management, said Mr Apisak.
Mr Apisak led a delegation to Beijing over the weekend to meet a group of leading Chinese investors, both state enterprises and large private companies.
The CIC told the Thai delegation it was interested because the TFF has an investment policy that matches its own in terms of seeking investment opportunities in quality and secured assets with promising returns over the long term, he said.
The Thailand Future Fund will mobilise up to 100 billion baht to invest in infrastructure projects and will be listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
The Finance Ministry and the Vayupak Fund will initially put up 10 billion baht as seed money for the fund to bolster investors' confidence and seek more income.
In Beijing, the Thai delegation discussed Thailand's investment promotion programme, "2016 Special Investment Promotion Year".
The government earlier declared 2016 as the year of investment, part of its policy to attract foreign investors to invest by offering them a range of investment privileges.
In Beijing, the Thai team outlined potential privileges in 10 selected industries which the Thai government is promoting.
In December, the cabinet approved action plans for 20 infrastructure projects worth a combined 1.79 trillion baht, part of a strategy to kick-start an ambitious development plan from 2016-22.
The cabinet also approved the launch of an infrastructure fund to raise cash from the public for the construction of state projects.
Among the Chinese investors that attended the meetings with the Thai delegation were the China National Building Material Group, China Minmetals Corporation and Power China Group.
The meetings were supported by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), China's largest bank.
The ICBC was also willing to offer funding to Chinese investors who want to invest in Thailand, it said.
Mr Apisak said the expected expansion of Chinese investment into Thailand should help spur the Thai economy and manufacturing sector.
The investment boost would help further Thailand's dream of becoming Asean's hub of trade and investment, he said.