ASEAN Market Watch: Eastern Investment in Thai Solar, ASEAN’s Open Sky Policy, and Opportunities in Myanmar’s Tourism Industry
Solar Energy Companies Bank on Thailand
Chinese solar company, Yingli Solar, has stated intentions to set up a manufacturing facility in Rayong, Thailand – its first outside China
The project will see Yingli Solar commit US $19 billion to a joint venture between its subsidiary, Hainan Yingli New Energy, and Thai based developer, Demeter Power. Operations are expected to be ready in the second half of the year.
With this announcement, Yingli Solar Joins several Chinese and Taiwanese companies with plans to set up production facilities in Thailand. These companies include Trina Solar and Zhongli Talesun which have recently announced plans for similar facilities within the Kingdom.
Catalyzing investments are Thailand’s stable business climate, tax-incentive scene, strong infrastructure, and support for solar-power initiatives as a means of reducing reliance on gas power generation. In addition, regional entrants to Thailand may also escape duties imposed by the EU on goods originating in Taiwan and mainland China.
Indonesia: Cargo Flights Likely to Increase Due to ASEAN Open Sky Policy
Indonesia’s cargo flights are expected to increase by 50 percent this year due to a multilateral agreement opening freight services between ASEAN countries. This new policy – dubbed the ASEAN Open Sky Policy – is project to facilitate an uptake in direct flights and increase freight traffic by 40,000 tons this year.
Prior to the policy’s implementation, cargo planes were required to stop in Singapore, a hub, before reaching their final destination. In 2014, international air cargo volume peaked at 80,000 tons, around one-fifth of domestic air cargo. This further decreased by 5 percent in 2015 due to the slowing economy.
As part of the Open Sky agreement, Indonesia will open seven cities including Palembang, Manado, Makassar, and Biak for incoming and outgoing freight services; the Philippines will open six cities including Cebu; and Thailand plans to open seven cities including Bangkok and Phuket. Service providers also aim to increase shipping to the Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Saigon among other destinations.
While shipment is expected to increase and opportunities for investment are substantial, competition is likely to be tough as as foreign-owned cargo flights currently dominate 60 percent of the outbound shipping market.
Myanmar: Increased Tourist Arrivals Expected in 2016
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism estimates the number of tourists entering Myanmar is set to increase to 5 million by April 2016 and 7.49 million by 2020. This increase has been facilitated by global economic conditions in conjunction with domestic initiatives such as the visa on arrival facilities placed at international airports in Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw.
In the face of this influx, sectors surrounding tourism have seen substantial growth in recent years. The number of tourism companies for instance has increased from 1,670 to 1,922, most of them owned by locals.
In addition to domestically led growth, Myanmar has also seen substantial investment from abroad. In 2015 alone, the country attracted US $2.64 billion into 47 foreign investment projects within the hotel and tourism sector.
Despite increasing investment, a severe hotel shortage exists in the country presenting constraints to industry growth. As a remedy to this issue, and to compliment the approximately 340 hotels operating across the country, the government has established 17 hotel zones in areas like Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, Mandalay and Bago regions.
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