Smart Cities - Toward the Future of Manufacturing

Thailand and the world economy are changing. As a supportive partner to the government of Thailand, Amata Corporation PCL continues to change with them. Amata continues to explore opportunities to pursue increased economic growth while also encouraging innovation and sustainable technology. One such opportunity has emerged in the form of the “Smart City”: a single business location providing for integration of manufacturing, assembly, and processing, while minimizing environmental impact and enhancing quality of life. In the modern Smart City, workers, managers, and investors come together in one site and use state-of-the-art technology to achieve new levels of efficiency and environmental sensitivity.

Located in Chonburi, within Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Amata's 42-square kilometer Amata City Chonburi industrial city has grown into a leading economic presence within Thailand. Collectively, Amata Thailand’s industrial estates together cover 80 square kilometers and employ over 200,000 workers, contributing US$ 40 billion annually to Thailand’s GDP (based on current currency rates). With this existing industrial presence and its experience in serving clients from around the world, Amata hopes to use Amata Smart-City expansion to continue to serve its clients by providing cutting edge manufacturing services to its corporate clients, both domestic and international.

New governmental initiatives promise to facilitate Amata’s development of Amata Smart City. Following the success of the “Thailand 3.0” program, the country continues to push forward with the new initiative of “Thailand 4.0.” Building upon the earlier model's emphasis on industrial production, the Thailand 4.0 program aims to expand Thailand's innovative knowledge-sharing sector with a focus on creative technology and environmental sustainability. A key step in Amata's plan within the Thailand 4.0 program is Amata City Chonburi industrial city which is already an international hub for manufacturing, energy, and transportation. The next phase in building toward a new Smart City will introduce “smart manufacturing” and “smart energy” processes, among others. Future developments will include Amata's planned “EduTown” and “MediTown,” making use of superior educational pool available in Thailand. If completed as currently planned, Amata’s eventual Smart City will stand ready to provide integrated technological solutions across the whole spectrum of industries and economic sectors, offering Amata’s clients an efficient, cost-effective site to combine manufacturing and assembly sites within a single integrated location, streamlining production and minimizing both economic inefficiency and impact to the environment.

Amata Smart City will present Amata’s clients the opportunity to participate in the Thailand 4.0 model in order to deliver smart solutions within an efficient ASEAN manufacturing hub. Thailand's manufacturing presence offers numerous advantages to potential business partners, including easy access to the Southeast Asian market and diversification of supply outside of manufacturing centers such as China. Further, by bringing together stakeholders to a centralized production location, the Smart City project promises to facilitate innovation and creative solutions that depend on central cooperation.

Many of Amata's strategic partners are already seeing the benefits of Amata Smart City model. In early 2017, AMATA had agreed on key collaboration areas with the city of Yokohama. Yokohama will share its expertise and knowledge in accelerating the transformation of AMATA into a Smart City. Deputy Mayor Katsunori Watanabe welcomed a senior Thai delegation to Yokohama to commemorate the collaboration in May 2017. As Japanese investors constitute the majority of foreign direct investment in Thailand, this collaboration continues a longstanding relationship with an important strategic partner. “Close to 60% of our clientele are Japanese,” Amata CEO Vikrom Kromadit noted, adding that the company's visit presented an opportunity “to deepen the relationship with Yokohama City and set the stage for the Smart City collaboration between Japan and Thailand.”

Amata continues to strengthen its business relationships across the region. In November 2017, the city of Incheon, Republic of Korea, entered a memorandum with Amata to study potential areas of collaboration in the development of a Korean Smart City Zone at Amata City Chonburi. South Korea is the eighth largest source of foreign investment in Thailand, with THB 8.9 bn. in 2016, and over 300 Korean companies conducting business within Thailand, making the Incheon partnership vital to not only Amata's but also Thailand's continued success. Korea also ranked first in global R&D intensity with a significant 4.7% of their GDP spent on R&D. Amata Smart City will leverage on Incheon's experience in building Incheon Smart City to enhance R&D cluster in Amata City Chonburi.

One significant business partner outside of Asia is the Saab Group. The late Amata Chairman Dr. Surin visited Hammarby, Sweden, recently, the site of a new project analogous to Amata's Smart City. He was specially hosted by Saab Group. Hammarby Smart City presents a model of sustainability by converting an industrial area into a modern and eco-friendly district. The cooperation between Amata and Saab also presents business opportunities in various areas in the Smart City and Aerospace City elements. “With increasing numbers of Gripen Fighter planes being used in the ASEAN region, and additional Gripen aircraft to the Royal Thai Air Force,” senior Saab advisor Arne Heden noted, there is greater need for a manufacturing and training presence in Thailand. He continued, “Saab also sees potential for cooperation with Amata regarding Smart Cities.”

 Armed with the facts surrounding Amata's benefits to partners both overseas and within Thailand, the government has supported Amata's Smart City concept as an instrumental step toward the economic future. The Ministry of Energy has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Amata to spearhead Smart City development including sustainable energy innovation within Amata Smart City model. Mr. Kromadit explained that the partnership creates an “all-win” scenario for all stakeholders, by supporting the government's Thailand 4.0 program, creating increased economic value for customers and foreign investors, and reducing damage to the local environment, eventually reaching zero levels of discharge and environmental waste.

Taking steps to create Amata Smart City within the Thailand 4.0 model, Amata is pushing forward to maximize its performance on a variety of axes, from preserving Thailand's natural beauty by minimizing environmental impact to encouraging innovation and creativity in order to create economic value for Amata's customers, partners, and investors.