BYD Launches EV Plant in Thailand, Bolstering Presence in SEA

Chinese electric vehicles manufacturer BYD initiated its inaugural plant in Thailand, marking its entry into the Southeast Asian market for electric vehicles (EVs).

Recognized as the predominant player in the region, BYD’s CEO and President Wang Chuanfu expressed confidence in Thailand’s EV aspirations and its evolving auto manufacturing landscape.

The establishment of the BYD plant is part of a significant wave of investments exceeding $1.44 billion by Chinese EV manufacturers, who are establishing factories in Thailand with the support of government subsidies and tax incentives.

BYD’s Shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange rose by 1.6% to HK$235 following the news, reaching their highest levels in a week.

Thailand, a key hub for automobile assembly and exports, has traditionally been dominated by Japanese automakers like Toyota, Honda, and Isuzu. By 2030, the country aims to switch 30% of its annual vehicle production of 2.5 million units to EVs as per governmental objectives.

BYD intends to leverage Thailand as a production base for exporting vehicles to the ASEAN region and beyond, according to Narit Therdsteerasukdi, the Secretary-General of Thailand’s Board of Investment.

The extensive Thai facility, introduced two years ago with an investment of $490 million, is anticipated to manufacture 150,000 vehicles annually, including plug-in hybrids. Additionally, BYD plans to conduct battery assembly and production of other critical components at the facility.

Thailand stands as BYD’s largest international market, holding a significant 46% share in the country’s EV segment during the first quarter, and ranking as the third-largest participant in passenger cars, according to research firm Counterpoint.

Noteworthy competitors in Thailand’s EV market include Great Wall Motor, operating a production plant in the country, and U.S. automotive giant Tesla.