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BYD Launches Southeast Asia’s First EV Factory in Rayong, Thailand

Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) inaugurated its inaugural electric vehicle (EV) plant in Thailand on Thursday, marking its entry into Southeast Asia’s burgeoning EV market. This facility represents a significant milestone for BYD as it expands its global footprint in response to Thailand’s ambitious EV initiatives.

BYD CEO and President Wang Chuanfu underscored Thailand’s strategic importance in the EV sector during the opening ceremony, emphasizing the transfer of advanced technology from China to support the country’s automotive manufacturing evolution.

The establishment of the BYD plant is part of a broader trend of Chinese EV manufacturers investing heavily in Thailand, attracted by government subsidies and tax incentives totaling more than US$4.4 billion. The move aligns with Thailand’s goal to convert 30% of its annual vehicle production into EVs by 2030, highlighting the nation’s commitment to sustainable transportation solutions.

Thailand, renowned as a key hub for automotive assembly and exports in Southeast Asia, has traditionally been dominated by Japanese automakers like Toyota, Honda, and Isuzu. Now, with BYD’s $490 million facility in Rayong, equipped to produce 150,000 vehicles annually including plug-in hybrids, the country is poised to strengthen its position as a regional leader in EV manufacturing.

Speaking on BYD’s strategy, Board of Investment (BOI) secretary-general Narit Therdsteerasukdi affirmed the plant’s role as a pivotal production base for export across ASEAN and beyond. The facility, announced two years ago, is expected to generate employment for approximately 10,000 workers, reinforcing economic growth in the region.

Liu Xueliang, BYD’s Asia Pacific general manager, highlighted the plant’s comprehensive capabilities, including the assembly of batteries and critical components, underscoring BYD’s integrated approach to enhancing local manufacturing infrastructure.

In Thailand’s competitive EV market, BYD currently commands a substantial 46% share and ranks among the top players in passenger cars, alongside competitors like Great Wall Motor and Tesla. However, recent scrutiny of BYD dealers due to consumer complaints over pricing strategies underscores ongoing challenges in market acceptance.

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