Photo Credit: The Nation
Economy, Investment and Trade
Alibaba Group pours billions into Thai economy
(20 April 2018) Chinese E-Commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group has pledged to invest a combined amount of US$349 million (THB11 billion) in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and a related “Smart City” project. This move will benefit small farmers and rural enterprises in Thailand as the e-commerce group will enable low income farmers to use their digital platform to market Thai products. Alibaba demonstrated their e-commerce prowess when its online platform T-Mall sold 80,000 “Golden Pillow” Durians in just one minute. Other Thai products will also be sold on T-Mall, China’s largest online marketplace which is used by more than 1.4 billion consumers. Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma was in Bangkok to sign four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs). Part of the collaboration with Thailand also involves two digital campaigns, “Go to China”, which brings Thai local farm goods to the Chinese market and “Go to Thailand”, which will bring more Chinese travellers to Thailand. Thailand’s Industry Ministry will also work with Alibaba Business School to train budding Thai entrepreneurs.
Thailand medical tourism industry to benefit from China’s lack of reproductive health clinics
(20 April 2018) The lack of reproductive health clinics in China will benefit Thailand, one of the biggest reproductive health markets in the world, as older Chinese couples are looking to conceive a second child after the Chinese government ended the one child policy on 30 October 2015. This development will likely benefit Thailand’s medical tourism industry, which will gain approximately US$6 billion on the undersupply of reproductive health clinics in China. Thailand has been developing this market for more than 10 years with an eye on boosting their medical tourism market. Cost of doing IVF procedure in Thailand ranges from US$15,913.43 to US$38,000 (THB500,000 to THB1.2 million), which is 35 percent cheaper than Singapore and Hong Kong, and 45 percent cheaper than the United States. Given Thailand’s volume of health professionals and facilities, the country is expected to serve about 1 million couples. China is the world’s most expensive IVF market, followed by the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore.
China and Laos sign partnership agreement on medicinal plants research
(17 April 2018) A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on medicinal plants research cooperation was signed on 17 April 2018 between China and Laos to carry out a medicinal resource census in Laos. The census aims to connect the economic and medicinal values of Laos’ special botanical resources. China and Laos will jointly set up a traditional medicine research centre in Laos in order to conduct comparative studies on Chinese and Lao medicinal plants, train Lao medicinal plant resources researchers, and effectively improve medicinal plant resources exploration and application. Adding to that, the Traditional Medicine Research Institute under the Laos Ministry of Public Health said the signing of the MoU is a concrete demonstration that traditional Chinese medicine is benefiting the Belt and Road Initiative, and will significantly promote traditional medicine partnership between China and Laos.
China imposes temporary anti-dumping measure on selected type of synthetic rubber imported from US, EU and Singapore
(20 April 2018) China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that starting from 20 April 2018, the country will impose temporary anti-dumping measures on a certain type of synthetic rubber imported from the United States, the European Union and Singapore. According to the Ministry, the three countries that were selling halogenated butyl rubber at a discount to appropriate price is impacting China’s domestic industry. The Ministry will also hold a hearing on the anti-dumping investigation on 3 May 2018 and stakeholders are allowed to submit written representation to the officials within 10 days of the announcement. The temporary anti-dumping measures that was imposed are based on the preliminary findings from an anti-dumping investigation launched by the Chinese authorities in August 2017.
China and Cambodia ink partnership agreement on new Kampot port construction
(25 April 2018) Try Pheap Group, Cambodian high-profile luxury timber exporter inked a partnership agreement with China’s Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group to run a feasibility study on the deep-sea port construction in Kampot province. The proposed new port will be able to manage large vessels, including ships that will be able to transport up to 30,000 tonnes of cargo and is expected to create 500 new jobs during the first phase of construction, generating an additional 1,500 over the next three years. Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen said the relationship between China and Cambodia is at its strongest, adding that the new port will be a significant element of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In 2016, Chinese investors invested a total of US$5.1 billion in key Cambodian economic sector, namely manufacturing, textile, and electricity.