The Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) in Thailand is pushing forward measures to develop the robotics and automation industries in Thailand after receiving cabinet approval.
A cabinet meeting on August 29 had approved in principle (pdf in Thai on the link) measures to pursue development in the robotics and automation industries, assigning the Ministry of Industry to be the main agency responsible for ensuring concrete results and the project's implementation.
The OIE will support all target groups that can use automation or robotics system, covering the agricultural, industrial and service sectors to enhance their manufacturing efficiency and help them compete better at the global level. In addition, increased automation would help address the issue of any labour shortages in the industrial sector.
The government is aiming for an investment of 12 billion Baht (US$362 million) in the first year, expanding to 200 billion (US$6 billion) Baht over the next five years. The development plan also aims to reduce the import of robotics and automation systems by 132 billion baht (US$3.97 billion) on an annual basis.
South China Morning Post reported that the Board of Investment (BOI) will provide tax deductions of 50 per cent in corporate tax for the companies working in these high-tech sectors. The Ministry of Finance will also permit participating firms to deduct 300 per cent of corporate tax for research and development expenditures, in order to promote research in the area.
The capabilities of the robotics and automation industries in the country would be boosted by the increasing the number of System Integrators (SI), who design and install the automation technology, from the current 200 to 1,400 within five years.
The government also plans to help companies establish Centers of Robotic Excellence through a collaborative network of eight educational/ research institutions and private sector organisations.
At least 150 prototype products must be developed within a five-year period. Training of not less than 25,000 people is targeted within the period. (The Department of Skill Development under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in Thailand signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federation of Thai Industries on May 29 to set up a Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Academy (MARA). The initiative will focus on the development of robotics, mechanics, artificial intelligence and automation and ensure that these technologies play a larger role in the business and industrial sector, in addition to helping develop skilled workforce.)
According to Bangkok Post, the Ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Thai-German Institute, Chulalongkorn, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai universities, state agencies the Board of Investment (BoI), the Office of the East Economic Corridor (EEC), the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), and private companies Siam Cement Group (SCG) and WHA Corporation Plc.
Automation and Robotics is one of the five industries, constituting the new S-curve, targeted by the government as part of its Thailand 4.0 strategy. These sectors are expected to serve as growth engines to accelerate Thailand’s future growth. The other four industries are Aerospace, Bio-Energy and Bio-chemicals, Digital and Medical and Healthcare. First S-curve or five existing industrial sectors (which can be developed by adding value through advanced technologies (Next-Generation Automotive, Smart Electronics, High-Income Tourism and Medical Tourism, Efficient Agriculture and Biotechnology and Food Innovation), adding up to a total of 10 targeted industries.