The electronics and electrical appliances (E&E) industry in Thailand has long been an important sector to the nation, first as a manufacturer of white goods, then computers and parts, and now integrated circuits, hard disk drives, and printed circuit boards.
Constituting a nearly $100 billion USD industry, Thailand’s E&E sector has played a vital role in growing the country’s economy as a major export earner and positioning Thailand as one of the semiconductor leaders in the Southeast Asia region.
Taking note of this, SEMI, the global industry association serving the electronics manufacturing supply chains, will include discussions pertinent to Thailand’s semiconductor industry at the upcoming SEMICON Southeast Asia 2016 (SEMICON SEA 2016), the region’s premier showcase for microelectronics innovation.
According to Ng Kai Fai, President of SEMI Southeast Asia, “Forums and discussion sessions during SEMICON SEA 2016 will include topics that will interest semiconductor players from Thailand. This includes integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing, which is Thailand’s largest electronic imports and second largest electronics exports as well as automotive electronics, a sector which is booming in Thailand.”
Exports and Investments
“Thailand is in the list of the world’s fifteen automotive manufacturing countries and the most important growth area within automotive electronics is infotainment. According to recent news reports, the global automotive electronics market is expected to reach $280 billion USD by 2022. This provides a fertile ground for the semiconductor and electronics industry to strengthen the regional business collaborations between Thailand and Southeast Asia.”
Although Thai semiconductor sector has faced a difficulty in upgrading from downstream to upstream industry, there were a few significant, albeit not very successful, public and private attempts to upgrade the industry. These attempts can be seen as lessons learnt for other developing countries aiming to technologically upgrade their industries.
Integrated Circuit (IC) packaging plays a crucial role in Thai semiconductor industry. Most of semiconductor firms in Thailand have been involved with ICpackaging. The supply chain of this specific group is well-established.
The MNCs’ subsidiaries in Thailand achieved substantial technical acquisition and upgrading for the last two decades, while R&D activities for new product or process innovation still mainly conducted outside the country (Hobday and Rush 2007). High performance semiconductor packaging and investment on automation were increasingly utilized as it offered higher efficiency and required less labour. Research and innovation activities among Thai-own large corporations have also increased, particularly on IC and appliance designs.