Toshiba boosts Southeast Asian budget ahead of AEC
There is almost no doubt that the start of 2015 has galvanized so many corporations into implementing plans designed to place them in the vanguard when it comes to the start of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), due to begin officially on 31 December.
While there are many major players who have been well established across the Southeast Asian region for many years, it’s been noticeable just how many are making key announcements about their plans for their long-term futures in the area.
One of these key companies is the Japanese giant Toshiba. The Tokyo-based electronics maker recently stated it intends to boost its profile in the Southeast Asian region to the equivalent of around 30 billion baht.
The vice-president of Toshiba, Fumio Otani, is quoted as saying that the company intends to retain Thailand as its centre of business operations and the 30 billion baht (US$1 billion) will be spent over a five-year period. Mr Otani said Toshiba expects regional sales will double during that five years.
Toshiba has had a presence in Thailand for more than 40 years and Mr Otani was careful to emphasise the importance the company placed on Thailand as its centre of business strategy in the Asean region.
Worldwide, Toshiba has sales exceeding the equivalent of 1.8 trillion baht (in 2013) and employs over 200,000 people.
When the 2011 floods inundated their main factory near Bangkok, Toshiba decided to remain in the country and instead constructed a bigger complex in Prachin Buri, moving to the location in 2013.
The Toshiba Semiconductor subsidiary in Thailand is the only make of discrete semiconductor products outside of Japan.
Toshiba executives have stated that they still see many opportunities within Thailand and in 2014 the company began shifting towards energy and infrastructure, recognizing both these areas as potential winners for it both within Thailand and the broader Southeast Asian Region.
Toshiba has begun promoting operations in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia centring on a range of power-generation technologies such as photovoltaic, thermal and hydro. Toshiba has identified the energy sector as particularly interesting as it relates to Thailand, with the country seeking to cut fuel imports and reduce its dependence on natural gas for power generation.
As Mr Otani noted, Thailand is looking to develop more efficient transport systems and improve urban planning. These are both areas the Toshiba company is looking to exploit and diversify into in order to provide long-term solutions.
As mentioned earlier, we can expect a number of key announcements from major overseas operators as the year wears on and the timing for the AEC edges ever closer.