China’s BYD opens EV factory in Thailand, first in Southeast Asia

China’s BYD opens EV factory in Thailand, first in Southeast Asia

By Chayut Setboonsarng

RAYONG, Thailand (Reuters) -China’s BYD opened an electric vehicle plant in Thailand on Thursday, the auto maker’s first factory in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing regional EV market where it has become the dominant player.

“Thailand has a clear EV vision and is entering a new era of auto manufacturing,” BYD CEO and President Wang Chuanfu said at the opening ceremony.

BYD’s plant is part of a wave of investment worth over $1.44 billion from Chinese EV makers who are setting up factories in Thailand, helped by government subsidies and tax incentives.

By 2030, Thailand aims to convert 30% of its annual production of 2.5 million vehicles into EVs, according to a government plan.

Thailand is a regional auto assembly and export hub and has long been dominated by Japanese car makers, such as Toyota Motors, Honda Motors and Isuzu Motors.

“BYD is using Thailand as a production hub for export to ASEAN and many other countries,” said Narit Therdsteerasukdi, Secretary General of Thailand’s Board of Investment, referring to the 10-nation Southeast Asian bloc.

The facility, announced two years ago, is worth $490 million and will have a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year, including plug-in hybrids.

“We will also assemble batteries and other important parts here,” said Liu Xueliang, BYD’s Asia Pacific general manager.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Editing by Devjyot Ghoshal)

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