Being the second largest economy of Southeast Asia, Thailand has emerged as a major industrial center in the region, supplying not only Asia but also the rest of the world with a growing range of products. But like any other Asian countries, Thailand had to battle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected its economic growth. Despite the challenges faced by the country during the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, Thailand is projected to achieve an economic growth of at least 3% as per estimate by analysts. Moreover, Thailand’s main industries – automotive, electrical and electronics, consumer goods, food and beverage, and plastics manufacturing – are expected to post improvement in 2022 and the next few years as demand rebounds.
Thailand’s plastics industry, in particular, is showing its resilience and is poised for strong growth. The country’s strong petrochemical industry fuels growth in both upstream and downstream plastics production. Some of the world’s biggest producers of plastic materials operate production facilities in Thailand, supplying the global requirements for engineering plastics. Thailand also serves an important source of biodegradable plastics with some of the world’s largest producers of bioplastics having their plants in the country. As Thailand Board of Investment states in its report, the country is being positioned to become a global bioplastics hub as part of the Thailand Industrial Development Strategy 4.0 (2017-2036).
Meeting Regional Challenges and Emerging a Winner
Thailand has all the attributes as an industrial hub in Southeast Asia. Its major industries – automotive, packaging, medical supplies, household appliances – are known worldwide. These industries benefit from plastic materials and technologies which help encourage growth and innovations in product development and production processes.
Thailand is one of the countries in Southeast Asia known for its automotive industry with some of the world’s biggest suppliers of vehicles and automotive parts having their presence in the country. To date, Thailand has become one of the leading global suppliers of automotive parts and components. While the COVID-19 pandemic led to decline in the automotive industry, Thailand has been able to meet the challenge and emerge towards recovery due to increased use of automation and digitalization of the automotive manufacturing sector. According to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), Thailand’s production of vehicles could reach more than 2 million units by 2024 as demand recovers post-pandemic. With the government keen on developing electric vehicles (EVs) production, Thailand is expected to become a regional EV production center where advanced production processes would be in high demand.
Thailand is turning into a regional hub for EV production. (Photo: Torsten Dettlaff/Pexels)
One of the key drivers for the plastics market growth in Thailand is the increasing demand for packaging materials, which are expected to reach 67.6 billion units in 2025, or an annual growth rate of 1.5%, according to GlobalData. The packaging sector is one of the pillars of Thailand’s manufacturing industry which supported the high demand for packaging during the lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 spread. Demand for food and goods delivery, PPEs and other medical supplies was aptly met by the packaging sector.
Rigid plastics was the most consumed packaging material followed by flexible packaging. The demand for flexible plastic packaging from hospitals, drug manufacturers, and PPE manufacturers in the medical sector is expected to remain robust for the next few years as health becomes a main preoccupation. Sustained demand for plastics in medical devices, such as testing equipment, ventilators, syringes, and others, and PPE such as masks, face shields, and others, is also anticipated.
Thailand’s food packaging industry continuously rely on plastics to
meet rising demand. (Photo: Thai Kitchen)
Thailand also has a robust consumer appliances sector, and the country is a major exporter of electrical appliances in the region. Despite the slight downturn in 2020, the appliances sector has recovered and is expected to be a thriving industry beginning 2022 and beyond. The Statista Digital Market Outlook estimates that the household appliances market in Thailand will reach US$4 billion in revenue by 2025. Thailand is an attractive manufacturing location for many well-known electrical appliances brands.
Attractive Conditions Boosting Industry Development
Plastics manufacturing is also an investment target for leading producers of high-performance plastics, machinery and equipment that supply the requirements of various sectors.
Thailand has the advantages of being a haven for companies offering high-tech production systems. As an important gateway to Southeast Asia’s industrial markets, Thailand offers attractive investment incentives, professional manpower, excellent infrastructure and logistics that make the country a home to a growing number of industrial giants.
One of these global companies is Covestro, which operates three business units in Thailand, producing polycarbornate, polycarbonate films, and polyurethane. The films are mainly used in the automotive, telecommunications, medical technology and ID document sectors, while the polyurethane is used in the construction, refrigeration and hot water sectors, as well as special applications for automotive, footwear and sports equipment manufacturing.
Covestro operates three business units in Thailand - Coating Adhesive and
Specialities, Polycarbornate, and Polyurethane. (Photo: Covestro)
Another industry giant, BASF, operates four production sites in Thailand and these offer products and solutions for a diverse range of industries including agriculture, automotive, chemicals, construction, paints and coatings, nutrition and health, personal care and hygiene, and plastics and rubber. BASF operates a polyurethanes system house, a construction chemicals admixtures plant, and am ASEAN Technical Competence Center for its coatings business.
Adiabatic cooling equipment maker, Frigel, has a large manufacturing facility in Bangkok, Thailand, serving the region’s growing demand for the company’s process cooling technology for the foods and beverage, as well as other sectors. Frigel’s plant serves customers in the Asia-Pacific market by providing sales, engineering, parts and services.
Another major industry player, ENGEL through its subsidiary ENGEL Machinery (Thailand), has its own technology center and training center in the country as it expands its offerings for customers in Southeast Asia. Innovative process technologies and the new options opened up by digitalization can be developed in the center where injection tests, sampling and demonstrations can be performed. Gala Industries, which produces centrifugal dryers and underwater pelletizing systems, offers its products to the engineering, plastic, and recycling industries. It operates production facilities in Thailand’s Chonburi Province, where it supports customers in the region.
But homegrown Thai conglomerates are also increasingly becoming active even globally. One is Indorama Ventures, a producer of intermediate petrochemicals and currently the world's largest producer of PET resins with installed production capacity of over 4.2 million tons, and has subsidiaries and production plants in other countries. PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited or GC is an international chemical business operator that offers a wide range of polymers for various industries among them packaging, construction, electronics & electric and other consumer products. PTT Global Chemical specializes in synthesizing olefins and aromatics and operates several production plants among them refinery, centers for aromatics and olefins, green chemicals production facilities and performance materials plants, etc.
At CHINAPLAS 2022, breakthrough materials and production solutions from leading companies will emphasize how they can support the varying needs of different industries, such as automotive, construction, electronics and electrical, packaging, foods & beverage, medical/healthcare in Southeast Asia. For more information, visit: www.ChinaplasOnline.com
For media enquiries, please contact:
Hong Kong: Ms. Cynthia Lau
Tel: (852) 2516 3583
Official Website: www.ChinaplasOnline.com
Copyright (c) Ringier Trade.com. Copyright (c) Ringier Trade Media Ltd. (c) 2021.
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part in any form or medium without express written permission is not allowed.
Ringier Trade .com (c) Ringier Trade Media Ltd., accept no responsibility or liability for any information provided by any third party on this website.