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

By Chayut Setboonsarn

RAYONG, Thailand (Reuters) – China’s BYD opened an electric car factory in Thailand on Thursday, its first in Southeast Asia’s fast-growing electric vehicle market where it has a leading position.

“Thailand has a clear vision for EVs and is ushering in a new era of auto manufacturing,” BYD CEO and president Wang Chuanfu said at the opening ceremony.

The BYD factory is part of a wave of investment of more than $1.44 billion by Chinese electric vehicle makers building factories in Thailand, backed by government subsidies and tax incentives.

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

Thailand is a regional auto assembly and export hub where Japanese automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. have long dominated.

“BYD is using Thailand as a production base for export to ASEAN and many other countries,” said Narit Tersuterasukudi, secretary-general of the Board of Investment of Thailand, referring to the 10-nation Southeast Asia bloc.

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

“Batteries and other key components will also be assembled here,” said Liu Xueliang, BYD’s general manager for Asia Pacific.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsar; Editing by Devjot Ghoshal)

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