Chinese firm sets sights on rubber factory in Thailand
China's Yunnan Yun Manganese Group, a latex manufacturer from Yunnan, wants to establish a factory to manufacture rubber products in the southern provinces, capitalising on the rich natural rubber supply there.
Li Yong Sheng, chairman of Yunnan Yun Manganese Group, said the factory will produce various types of rubber-based products.
The group last week signed a memorandum of understanding with the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) and Prince of Songkla University to develop health-related products.
Yunnan Yun Manganese Group is building Southeast Asia Health Living Mall in Chenggong, Kunming, Yunnan province, for 20 billion baht, spanning 400,000 square metres. Construction is scheduled to finish in three years.
The group is also bringing in health and wellness items from Thailand and Asean countri es, including latex goods, organic food, and herbal, massage and spa products.
The group pledges to offers 100,000 sq m for products made from southern border provinces to sell in the mall without rental fees for two years.
In partnership with Prince of Songkla University, the group also plans to commercialise the school's research.
Founded in April 2005, Yunnan Yun Manganese Group engages mainly in mining, hydropower, real estate development, property management and rubber.
Kobsak Pootrakool, the Prime Minister's Office minister, said he has been authorised by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to facilitate cooperation between Yunnan and SBPAC. He said the project is aimed at increasing bilateral trade between Thailand and Yunnan.
Thailand is the fifth-largest trading partner of Yunnan province, trailing Myanmar, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Laos. Last year, two-way trade totalled US$983 million (31.6 billion baht), making up 4% of the tot al.
The Thailand Business Information Center reported that from 2005 to 2017 Yunnan's investment in Thailand came from 45 companies and totalled $294 million, $236 million of which came in the form of real investment. Yunnan's foreign investment mainly focuses on property, wastewater management, logistics, rubber products and the wholesale sector.
Yunnan province approved Thai investment for 183 projects worth $604.34 million. Thai investment mainly went to hotels, restaurants, liquor, farming, finished foods, power plants and trading. Large Thai investors include Charoen Pokphand Group and TCC Group.
In 2017, Thai tourists to Yunnan totalled 593,343, up 13.2% from the year before, while Yunnan visitors to Thailand totalled 627,000, up 22.5%.
The bilateral tourism rise was spurred by higher flight frequencies and the growth of free independent travel.