ASIA: The Star recently reported that THE KINGDOM intends to build a US$37 billion (RM162.8 billion) smart city in an industrial hub near Bangkok, attracting billions of dollars in investment pledges from global automotive, robotics, healthcare, and logistics firms.
On Monday, a panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approved a master plan for the city in the Huai Yai subdistrict of Chonburi province, about 160 kilometers southeast of Bangkok.
The yet-to-be-named city will take up 2,340ha of land and will cost 1.34 trillion baht (RM162.8bil) over the next ten years, according to officials.
According to Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the Eastern Economic Corridor, the project will include five business centers for rent.
There will be a hub for firms’ regional headquarters, a financial center, and areas for precision medicine, international research and development, and future industries like clean energy and 5G technology.
The new city’s residential quarter will be designed to house 350,000 people by 2032 and create 200,000 direct jobs. Residents will primarily be those employed in the industrial sector.
“The new city will be livable for the next generation of people while also functioning as business centers,” Kanit said. “We started this new project to make up for lost income during the pandemic.”
The new city, with its business centers, is expected to add two trillion baht (RM242.9bil) to Thailand’s GDP within ten years, and the value of assets after a 50-year concession period will be more than fivefold, according to a government statement.
Prayut’s government has promoted the Eastern Economic Corridor, a development project whose goals include urbanization, promoting advanced industries, and expanding infrastructure, to boost the country’s economic growth rate, which is lagging behind that of neighbors such as Indonesia and Vietnam.
The Eastern Economic Corridor is made up of three provinces that have historically been the country’s manufacturing hub and now account for up to one-fifth of the Thai economy.