China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC), a Chinese government affiliated automotive research institute, plans to establish a branch in Thailand to help Chinese automakers grow their operations in the country, according to a statement by the Thai government.

This will be the organisation’s fourth overseas branch after operations in Germany, Switzerland and Japan. They mainly provide consulting services to Chinese automakers to help them meet local market entry regulations and standards, local procedures, testing and in obtaining local certifications.

Chinese automakers are increasingly focusing on expanding in Thailand’s fast growing battery electric vehicle market. The Thai government said its tax incentives and subsidies had already attracted a large number of Chinese automakers to the country, including SAIC Motor, BYD, Great Wall Motor, Chery and Hozon, with a commitment to spend a combined US$1.44bn on new production facilities.

The Thai government has set a target for at least 30% of total passenger vehicle output in the country to have zero emissions by 2030. The country is south east Asia’s largest automotive manufacturer with 1.8m vehicles produced last year for domestic sale and export.

The Federation of Thai Industries said recently it expects battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales this year to surge sevenfold to up to 70,000 units driven mainly by new model launches from the Chinese automakers.

Following this strong growth, the government announced a reduced BEV subsidy package from next year, of between THB20,000 and THB100,000 (US$560-$2,800) from up to TH150,000 at present. Additional incentives include import duty and excise tax discounts.

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