PCB makers moving production to Thailand to lower geopolitical risks and for orders from automotive industry, says DIGITIMES Research

Molf Lai, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0


According to DIGITIMES Research's observation, there are generally two main reasons for PCB firms to relocate to Thailand: de-risking and opportunities for automotive electronics. With extra support from the Thai government in the form of incentives, Thailand has become a favorite destination for PCB manufacturers and upstream industries, and a PCB industry ecosystem is being formed there, according to DIGITIMES Research's latest report covering Thailand's PCB industry.

Since 2021, Thailand has become a hub attracting investments from PCB firms looking to diversify their risks by embracing a "China+1" strategy. Many PCB manufacturers from China, Japan, and Taiwan have set up plants in Thailand.

China is the largest PCB production base, but since 2018, it has been facing a series of external and internal challenges, such as the US-China trade war, the COVID lockdown, and the dual-control policy introduced in 2021 on energy consumption, which has prompted companies to rethink de-risking and the necessity of decentralized production, the report's data shows.

Thailand has long been an important hub in Southeast Asia for the electronics manufacturing and automaking industries. Since 2020, PCB imports have been increasing. Thailand also has a promising future as far as demand for automotive electronics is concerned. With Thailand boasting a relatively better investment environment than other ASEAN neighbors, the Thai government is also actively attracting investors through incentives, making the country the top choice for the PCB industry seeking to embrace the "China +1" strategy.

Currently, the PCB investment boom is concentrated in Bangkok and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), where more than 60% of Thailand's automotive and electronics manufacturing factories are located. The growth of Thailand's automotive electronics industry is expected to be a key factor affecting the future position of Thailand's PCB industry in the global electronics supply chain.