Amongst all the bad economic news, Thailand’s industrial property sector is profiting from the protracted US-China trade war, as mainland Chinese manufacturers shift production to ASEAN countries in an attempt to avoid escalating tariffs.
Chinese foreign direct investment into the south east Asia sector rose last year by 31.7% to USD 233 million, after declining by 15.7% in 2016-17, according to Bank of Thailand data. In the same period, total FDI into Thailand skyrocketed by 130.5% year on year. Chinese investment accounted for 4.3% of total FDI last year and 7.6% in 2016-17, according to CBRE.
FDI into Thailand’s manufacturing sector was increasing before the trade war too, and is now seeing increased participation from China.
Last year, sales of serviced industrial land plots – privately owned industrial estates – by major developers in Thailand increased by 50% year on year. One park, specifically developed for Chinese manufacturers by Thai industrial estates provider Amata, accounted for 15% of the total sales in 2018.
CBRE also says China could be in line to take over from Japan, which has been the largest source of investment into Thailand since the late 1980s. Total FDI into Thailand last year amounted to USD 235 billion, with Japan contributing USD 86.6 billion and China US D4.9 billion, so there’s still a long way to go before Chinese investment outstrips Japan.
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