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China’s Electric Carmakers Eye Thailand in Next Sales Push

  • Great Wall, Hozon, BYD are challenging the Japanese incumbents
  • Chinese investment in Thailand has doubled, mostly around EVs
NETA V electric cars at a Chinese port ready for export to Thailand.
NETA V electric cars at a Chinese port ready for export to Thailand.Source: Hozon Auto

In Europe, a flurry of Chinese carmakers are trying to unseat storied legacy brands. Half a world away and far from the buzz of the Paris motor show, a similar revolution is playing out in Southeast Asia, in Thailand, where China’s auto manufacturers are facing off against Japanese incumbents.

In September, China’s biggest maker of electric and hybrid cars, BYD Co., announced plans to build its first overseas electric passenger car plant in Rayong, a coastal city southeast of Bangkok. Days earlier, the 10,000th battery-powered car rolled off Great Wall Motor Co.’s production line in the same town while Shanghai-based upstart Hozon New Energy Automobile Co. opened its first Thai showroom in the capital’s glittering Central Rama 2 mall.