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June 22, 2008

Matrade marketing mission to Thailand calls it a success
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade)'s four-day marketing mission on automotive parts and components to Thailand has raked in 61.5 million ringgit in potential business, reported Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

A senior director of Matrade, Susila Devi, who led the mission, said that out of the 14 companies that took part in the mission, 13 reported fruitful talks with Thai companies and are due to discuss further on technicality and
localisation of the products.

"They will discuss on developing new products and also tie-up with local suppliers. It has opened the eyes of our companies....they should not be worried about competition as we can complement each other but the challenge is to produce quality products with competitive price," she said.

The companies who participated in the trade mission manufacture products like base oil and lubricants, chassis, synthetic rubber, window glass, plastic injection, spring tool & die, anti-vibration rubber parts and rolling bearings.

During the visit here, they were briefed by Malaysia Thailand Chamber of Commerce president, Yeap Swee Chuan whose company Aapico Hitech is one of the top auto part manufacturer in the country, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, secretary-general of Thai Auto-parts Manufacturers Association and Chitra Kulvanich, assistant director of the Board of Investment, Thailand.

About 100 representatives from 46 Thai companies attended the briefing and also held business match-up meetings with the Malaysian delegation.

They were also taken to Thailand's automotive industrial site in Rayong where they visited General Motors Thailand Ingress Autoventures plants.

Susila said Thailand offers vast opportunities for Malaysian auto part makers as the country exports more than 50 percent of its 1.2 million vehicle production a year to over 100 countries.

"With a solid base in pick-up production, Thailand is now moving into producing more passenger cars and this require more customised parts. Malaysia have the experience as we have been in the car production segment for many years," she added.

Susila said one of the key areas that Malaysian auto part manufacturers could tap on is the electrical and electronic segment of vehicles as Thailand is still in the development stage whereas Malaysia has a strong base and expertise.

Thailand is gearing itself to become the "Detroit of Asia" and currently has about 300,000 people working in 14 automobile assembly plants owned by major vehicles makers, with a total production capacity of 1.2 million vehicles per year.

It also has five motorcycle assembly plants with capacity of 2.5 million units annually and auto parts industry with 709 factories.


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