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Thailand’s Semiconductor Industry Gains Momentum

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Thailand is eyeing a significant role in the global semiconductor production surge, with plans to entice more foreign investment into the sector this year, reveals the Board of Investment (BoI).

According to Wirat Tatsaringkansakul, deputy secretary-general of the BoI, an increasing number of companies from China and Taiwan are considering expanding their investment in Thailand, particularly in the realm of printed circuit boards. This shift is primarily driven by a desire to mitigate geopolitical risks.

“Thailand is poised to welcome these investments, offering advanced technology within clustered environments,” Mr. Wirat affirmed.

The country’s appeal as an advanced manufacturing hub amidst geopolitical tensions is underpinned by robust infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and favorable tax incentives, he explained.

In 2023 alone, total investment in semiconductor production in Thailand amounted to a staggering 800 billion baht, as per the BoI’s data.

Sony Device Technology (Thailand) (SDT) recently injected 2.3 billion baht into establishing a new semiconductor fabrication building, dubbed Building 4. This facility will specialize in assembling image sensors for automotive applications, display devices, and laser diodes for data center applications. Managing director Takeshi Matsuda hinted at the possibility of relocating some semiconductor technologies from Japan to Thailand in the future, citing the latter’s cost advantages and a workforce with comparable expertise.

Occupying an expansive area of 66,370 square meters, Building 4 will predominantly focus on the assembly of image sensors crucial for driver safety in automobiles, micro organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for augmented and virtual reality applications, and laser diodes essential for data centers, Mr. Matsuda outlined.

He emphasized the significance of the automotive sector and data centers in Thailand’s economic landscape, revealing plans to add 2,000 employees to SDT’s existing workforce of 1,600 within three years.

Scheduled to commence operations by mid-year, the new plant will kick off production of laser diodes, with image sensor assembly for automotive applications slated to begin next year, Matsuda added.

Terushi Shimizu, CEO of Sony Semiconductor Solutions (SSS), underscored the pivotal role of semiconductors in driving the digital era, emphasizing its importance at both national and community levels. He hailed innovation as crucial for both Thailand and Japan’s advancement.

According to Mr. Wirat, SDT has been serving as Sony’s sole semiconductor manufacturing base outside Japan for over three decades. With 17 projects worth 22 billion baht and 8,000 employees, Sony Group’s presence in Thailand continues to grow, with recent investments in integrated circuits valued at 5 billion baht, as confirmed by the BoI.

SDT, helmed by executive director Somchok Vukthong, is pivotal in Sony’s imaging and sensing solutions business, particularly in the production of image sensors for cameras.

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