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


By Chayut Setboonsarng

RAYONG, Thailand (Reuters) – China’s BYD opened an electric vehicle factory in Thailand on Thursday, the automaker’s first plant in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing regional market for electric vehicles where the company has become the dominant player.

“Thailand has a clear vision for electric vehicles and is entering a new era of automotive production,” said Wang Chuanfu, CEO and president of BYD, at the opening ceremony.

The BYD factory is part of a wave of more than $1.44 billion in investment from Chinese EV makers setting up factories in Thailand, helped by government subsidies and tax breaks.

Under a government plan, Thailand aims to convert 30% of its annual production of 2.5 million vehicles to electric cars by 2030.

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

“BYD uses Thailand as a production hub for exports to ASEAN and many other countries,” said Narit Therdsteerasukdi, secretary-general of the Thai Board of Investment, referring to the 10 Southeast Asian countries.

The $490 million plant, announced two years ago, has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year, including plug-in hybrids.

“We will also assemble batteries and other key components here,” said Liu Xueliang, BYD general manager for Asia Pacific.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Editing by Devjyot Ghoshal)

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