Thai govt okays $22.6b infrastructure investment in EEC

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The Thai government has approved mega infrastructure development projects worth over 740 billion baht ($22.6 billion) next year in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the enhancement of the former Eastern Seaboard.

The approved budget will go towards building the roads connecting Laem Chabang port and U-tapao airport, a Map Ta Phut port’s capacity expansion and highway development in the EEC zone, which covers Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said that it expected the corridor would attract the private investment of at least 100 billion baht ($3 billion) per year.

The governments in the past had developed the Eastern Seaboard since more than thirty years ago with intention to attract auto-makers to set up production plants and make it become the “Detroit of the East”. However, the current government wants to make it the manufacturing paradise of Asia, focussing on technology and innovation-based industries.

Sangsubhan said the investment in the three EEC provinces in the first nine months of 2017 reached 104.16 billion baht and 67.8 billion baht of that was the investment in the 10 targeted industries: next-generation cars, smart electronics, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics for industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemical, digital and medical services.

“Once the National Legislative Assembly passes the Eastern Special Economic Zone Act, more investment from international companies including BMW, Nissan, Minor Internationala and Air Asia will flow into EEC,” said he, adding that the Act is expected to be effective in January 2018.

On the same day, Pailin Chuchottaworn, chairman of Vidyasimimedhi Institute of Science and Technology and a former CEO of PTT Pcl, said PTT Pcl, the Thai energy conglomerate, also plans to invest 10 billion baht ($300 million) in the first phase of its innovation centre for bio-based petrochemical products in EEC.

Most of the investment will be used to develop the infrastructure, he added.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.