Bangkok, May 17 (IANS) From pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, from automotive parts to industrial machinery, Thailand is wooing Indian investors across multiple sectors.
“We want companies in sectors that India is strong in like pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, IT, automotive parts, and also industrial machinery,” Kanokporn Chotipal, director of investment at the Mumbai office of the Board of Investment (BoI), Thailand, told IANS.
Kanokporn led a group of potential Indian investors to Subcon Thailand 2016 and Intermach 2016, Southeast Asia’s biggest industrial subcontracting and business matchmaking events, held in this Thai capital from May 11 to 14.
She said that such events gave Indian investors an opportunity to come and get first-hand knowledge of Thailand’s business environment.
“Normally, we intend to have Indian people come and source metal, electrical, and automotive parts among others from Thailand. This is the main purpose of the fair,” Kanokporn said.
“Every year, Indian businessmen keep coming because the parts from Thailand, even if these are not cheap, quality is good,” she added.
She also stated that Indian investors who go to Thailand through the BoI stood to gain a lot.
“We have five packages actually – A1, A2, A3 and B1 and B2,” Kanokporn explained.
“In A1, we give the maximum incentives. Exemption from corporate income tax for eight years without a ceiling for eight years on investment amount, excluding land, working capital,” she said.
“In the B category, corporate income tax exemption is not given. But such companies get other things like exemption from import duty on the raw material and machinery.”
BoI started its India operations in 2013 and some 10 Indian companies have entered Thailand through it.
Among the Indian companies in Thailand that enjoy BoI incentives are IT firms Intellect Design Arena, an offshoot of Polaris, and 3i Infotech and automobile parts maker Paracoat.
Ashok Tandon, president and managing director of Lloyds Steel Industries, who was part of the BoI delegation from India to Subcon Thailand and Intermach this year, said that he was looking at Bangkok to enter the Southeast Asian market.
“We thought Subcon Thailand could help us know the facts for a company in a country outside of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries to know the facts before entering that region,” he said.
“It also gave me an opportunity to meet non-Indian people who have invested in Thailand,” he said, adding that the two events gave him the opportunity to do a lot of networking.
“At the end of the day, we could get a lot of information and some insights into opening a company in Thailand.”
During the delegation’s visit, meetings were also arranged with the India Thai Business Association (ITBA) and India-Thai Chamber of Commerce (ITCC).
Arun Kharat, founder director of transportation solutions provider Wings Travels Management which recently bought over taxi aggregating mobile app BookMyCab, found these meetings particularly useful.
“Interacting with organisations and associations like ITBA and ITCC was very encouraging and has given us more confidence to set our foot in Thailand,” he said.
Wings Travels Management, which runs taxi aggregation services in nine Indian cities, is now set to launch its operations in Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai.
“The visit (to Subcon Thailand and Intermach) has given us more clarity in terms of future operations,” Kharat said.
Bilateral trade between India and Thailand has grown significantly and has multiplied more than four times between 2004 and 2014 – from $2.05 billion to $8.65 billion.
The trade figure in 2015 includes Thai exports of $5.29 billion and imports of $3.03 billion. India ranks 10th as an export destination for Thailand and overall the country’s 16th trading partner.
(Aroonim Bhuyan visited Bangkok at the invitation of Board of Investment, Thailand. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)