May 26, 2023
China Reopening Drives Demand for Industrial Land in Thailand
(Bloomberg) -- WHA Corp., Thailand’s largest industrial estate developer, expects a pickup in return of Chinese investors following the reopening of borders to sustain a surge in demand for land to set up new factories.
WHA, which operates 12 industrial estates and four under development in Thailand and Vietnam, expects a “very good’ year with sales of about 1,200-1,300 rais (208 hectares) of land in the first half, or nearly 75% of its full-year target of 1,750 rais, Chief Executive Officer Jareeporn Jarukornsakul told a briefing Friday.
Most of the Chinese demand is coming from companies setting up units to manufacture electric vehicles, automobile parts and electronics, Jareeporn said.
Thailand is benefiting from the scrapping of Beijing’s Covid Zero policy that’s allowed companies to accelerate diversifying production base outside of China and the return of tourists in large numbers. Inflows from tourism and foreign direct investment are the bright spots in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy that’s hit by falling exports and post-election uncertainty.
“We are benefiting from a major shift in global production base out of China,” Jareeporn said. “Our sales teams are working non-stop even over the weekend.”
WHA reported a 52% increase in revenue from land and properties in the first quarter with land sales soaring to 487 rais from 36 rais in the same period a year earlier.
Thailand saw foreign investment applications more than double to 155.3 billion baht ($4.5 billion) in the three months through March from a year ago, led by companies from South Korea, Singapore and China, according to the nation’s Board of Investment. Chinese firms sought to invest 25 billion baht during the period, up 87% from a year ago, board data showed.
“If the new government pays more attention and support to foreign direct investment, we should get more inflows,” she said.
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