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ITRI opens Southeast Asia office in Thailand

02/29/2024 02:24 PM
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Photo courtesy of Industrial Technology Research Institute
Photo courtesy of Industrial Technology Research Institute

Taipei, Feb. 29 (CNA) The government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) said Thursday it has opened a Southeast Asian representative office in Bangkok of Thailand.

The ITRI said it has also signed an agreement with the Thai-Taiwan Business Association (TTBA), which was organized by Taiwanese investors in Thailand, to provide necessary assistance to Taiwanese investors to extend their reach in the fast-growing Southeast Asian market.

Speaking at an opening ceremony for the ITRI Southeast Asia Office on Thursday, the institute's Edwin Liu (劉文雄) said that increasing numbers of Taiwanese have relocated their investments to the Southeast Asian market amid global supply chain restructuring and trade tensions between China and the United States.

Liu added that bilateral trade with the 18 countries covered by Taiwan's New Southbound Policy surpassed US$150 billion in 2023.

The New Southbound Policy aims to enhance trade and exchanges between Taiwan and 18 countries in Southeast and South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, to reduce Taiwan's dependence on China. It was introduced after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in 2016.

Through the newly established ITRI Southeast Asia Office, Liu said that the institute is determined to help Taiwanese companies upgrade technologies to reduce carbon emissions and promote smart manufacturing for a higher share of the Southeast Asian market.

Liu said the office will introduce bioresources and integrate the particular resources with ITRI's circular economic technologies in an attempt to cement sustainability in economic development.

Liu added the office will apply digital training methods to help enterprises build a talent pool, focusing on a wide range of goals such as net zero emissions, smart production and smart agricultural development.

According to Liu, the office is expected to drive Taiwanese investors in the Southeast Asian market to upgrade their technologies and become a strategic partner of Taiwanese companies to penetrate the markets in the region.

Liu said the office will help ITRI forge ties with its counterparts in the region to build an industrial ecosystem. This ecosystem will facilitate increased cooperation between Taiwanese investors and regional companies, to boost the economic strength in the Southeast Asian market and strengthen Taiwan's status in the global supply chains.

Also speaking in the office opening ceremony, Chang Chun-fu (張俊福), Taiwan's representative to Thailand, said Taiwan served as the fifth largest foreign investor in Thailand in 2023, when investments rose 24.87 percent from a year earlier to 54.6 billion Thai baht (US$1.52 billion), citing the Board of Investment in the Southeast Asian country.

Chang said Thailand has become one of the most important investment destinations for Taiwan investors.

In a recent interview with Thairath, Thailand's major newspaper, Chang said Taiwan was seeking to collaborate with the Southeast Asian country in industries such as clean energy and electric motorcycles.

Chang told Thairath in the interview published on Sunday that he anticipated more collaboration between the countries, adding that many of Thailand's policies are in line with Taiwan's.

According to Chang, Taiwan and Thailand are currently working together in fields including the electronics industry and printed circuit boards (PCBs).

(By Chang Chien-chung, Wu Kuan-hsien and Frances Huang)

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