Insight – Thailand launches economic transformation plan and increases R&D investment

The Royal Thai Government has launched a comprehensive new economic-transformation strategy, called ‘Thailand 4.0’. The 20-year plan is designed to promote and support innovation, creativity, research and development (R&D), higher technologies and green technologies.

The strategy targets the adoption of digital processes and future industries, to enhance the competitiveness of Thailand’s economy. Addressing the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), it aims to transform industries and supply chains through the use of smart technologies and digital innovation.

Innovation leader showcases capabilities in Thailand

Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recently invited David Chuter, CEO and Managing Director at the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) to Thailand to showcase Australia’s capabilities and innovations that are contributing to the success of our ‘factories of the future’.

Australia is well-positioned to participate in Thailand’s economic transformation. Thai businesses are actively seeking overseas Industry 4.0 partners with the know-how and expertise to help them move up the value chain and become more efficient.

Australia–Thailand ties already strong

Australia and Thailand have a long-standing strong commercial relationship. Thailand is Australia’s sixth largest two-way trading partner, and Australia offers niche solutions and proven capability in the Industry 4.0 realm.

In addition, Australia is world-renowned for its robust R&D capability, making it the ideal partner for Thai businesses seeking the know-how and unique capabilities to enhance their competitiveness.

Some Australian business have already achieved notable success in Thailand. Melbourne-based ANCA is a world leading manufacturer of computer-controlled metal grinding machines, and has already achieved success in Thailand. So has Fibre King, an innovative packing manufacturer.

Austrade helped both businesses to expand operations in Thailand. With country market experience, Austrade has helped make introductions to key stakeholders, and provided advice and guidance to facilitate a smooth and successful move to the region.

Collaboration opportunities

‘There are many real opportunities to strengthen existing government-to-government, business-to-business and university-to-university links,’ says Chuter.

‘There are collaboration opportunities in R&D for example, as one of Thailand 4.0’s aims is to increase R&D expenditure to 4 per cent of GDP,’ he adds.

As part of his two-day visit, Chuter delivered the IMCRC’s futuremap® workshop at Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard where a large number of manufacturers (including Australian manufacturers) have their operations.

This workshop enabled participants to identify gaps within their businesses that need to be addressed in order to achieve their future business ambitions, including through digitalisation and technology utilisation.

Opportunities for Australian exporters

Additionally, Austrade has identified capability gaps within Thai manufacturing businesses which may benefit from Australian capabilities.

‘There are opportunities for Australian businesses to provide expertise in the areas of automation systems and robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), smart factories, smart manufacturing, 3D printing/additive manufacturing, electric vehicles and autonomous technologies,’ says Susan Kahwati, Austrade’s Senior Trade and Investment Manager in Thailand.

Australian manufacturers interested in the futuremap® tool to assess their current state of business and to identify areas of focus can express their interest to participate.

IMCRC also invites Australian manufacturing companies to apply for Industry 4.0 R&D funding.

Watch a video about Chuter’s program in Thailand - Economic and Commercial Diplomacy: Factory of the Future.

To learn more about business opportunities in Thailand, read the Thailand Market Profile or contact Austrade.