Thailand plans to build a $37 billion smart city in an industrial hub near Bangkok. The project has attracted billions of dollars in investment pledges from global automotive, robotics, healthcare and logistics companies.
The yet-to-be-named city will be spread over 14,619 rais (2,340 hectares) of land and will cost $37 billion over the next 10 years. In its initial design, the first town was to be built in the Huai Yai sub-district of Chonburi province, about 160 kilometers (99 miles) southeast of Bangkok and was approved by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha on Monday.
Secretary General of the Eastern Economic Corridor Kanit Sangsubhan said the project consists of five business centers to be rented out as commercial areas. The area includes hubs to house regional headquarters, financial centers, and areas for precision medicine, international research and development, and future industries such as clean energy and 5G technology.
Meanwhile, Knit added, the residential part of the new city will be designed to accommodate 350,000 people by 2032, and generate 200,000 direct jobs. Most of the population will be employed in the industrial estate, which is planned to attract an investment of around 2.2 trillion baht (Rp 910 trillion) over the next 5 years.
"The new city will be livable for a new generation of people, as well as operate as a business center," Kanit said, quoted by Bloomberg on Monday (11/07/2022).
"We created this new project to compensate for the lost revenue from Thailand during the pandemic," he added.
As additional information, the Thai government said the construction of this new city and business center could add around 2 trillion baht (Rp 827.6 trillion) to Thailand's gross domestic product in 10 years. Not only that, the value of assets after the 50-year concession period will also increase five times.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut's government has also touted the Eastern Economic Corridor, a development project whose goals include urbanization, spurring advanced industry and upgrading infrastructure. This is done in order to increase the nation's economic growth rate which lags behind neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam.
According to government officials, the Eastern Economic Corridor is made up of three provinces that have historically been the country's manufacturing hubs and currently account for as much as one-fifth of Thailand's economy. Its output grows 6%-7% annually, faster than any other country.