Thailand’s major industrial estate developer Amata aims to create the future of manufacturing and innovation with the concept of smart city. In Chonburi province, the centre of Thailand’s flagship mega-project the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Amata is conceptualising types of smart city there, targeting the workforce of tomorrow from all over the world who want to define a new way to live and work in a state-of-the-art, green and health-conscious space.
Part of Thailand’s 4.0, a master plan that will transform Southeast Asia’s second largest economy from a regional manufacturing hub into a global innovation hub, Amata smart city Chonburi is projecting to equip domestic and international firms’ headquarters and manpower with a complex combination of life and work under a sustainable and high-tech formula.
For the past five years, Amata has pushed forward several projects under the smart city concept with local and international partners to create a new industrial base that is intelligent and innovation-friendly so those who work in the S-Curve sectors can obtain a lifestyle that is compatible with their professional goals. Some of the technology deployed include an electric vehicle and a charging network, as part of a goal to be a zero-emission town, floating and rooftop solar energy, smart factory know-how, a fibre optic network and a smart grid technology to ensure smooth telecommunications and zero pollution from the manufacturing process.
The EEC’s targeted industries or the S-Curve include automotive for the future, smart electronics, robotics and automations, aviation and logistics, agriculture and biotechnology, food for the future, bioenergy and biochemicals, medical and health, tourism and digital.
Amata currently serves 1,400 factories across its five industrial estates in Thailand and Vietnam with a combined population of 300,000. Its goal is to expand to more than nine locations in Thailand and abroad providing employment to around one million people.
Amata smart city Chonburi is part of Amata city Chonburi that currently houses some 181,000 factory workers across its 770 plants. It is situated in the heart of the eastern seaboard, Thailand’s traditional industrial center, and is a perfect gateway to Southeast Asia and China with the construction of the high-speed rail project linking three airports and the renovation and expansion of the Laem Chabang deep sea port. It is about 50km from Bangkok and only 40km from Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Lena Ng, Chief Investment Officer at Amata Corporation said the company was looking to coinvest and work with partners, hoping to achieve the goal of zero emission by 2040 by “providing access to smart mobility, smart environment, smart education, fostering innovation,” she said.
Apart from the professional surroundings, the smart city will be a mix between commercial and residential concepts and to provide a smart and liveable city that everyone can comfortably and safely work, learn, and interact, said Ng, particularly in light manufacturing and R&D.
One of the key projects in the Amata smart city Chonburi is a strategic partnership with the city of Yokohama, Japan’s second biggest city, since early 2017, to develop the “second Yokohama” in Chonburi smart city.
The Yokohama smart city concept will target Japanese expats, one of Thailand’s major investors and one of Amata’s major clients, with a collaboration with the original Yokohama city to create an environment that is suitable for Japanese firms and mindset.
“The main attractions of the second Yokohama in Amata smart city Chonburi are going to be Japanese companies and incubators. There are also Japanese firms to develop electrical and autonomous vehicles and healthcare.”
“Japanese are known for their long life expectancy, we want Japanese workers to stay in the smart city after retirement.”
Japanese five-star hotel chain operator Okura Hotel will provide hotel management services to the first Hotel Nikko Amata City Chonburi which will be completed by end of year 2021 as part of the second Yokohama city plan.
The 2nd Yokohama city project at Amata smart city Chonburi’s feasibility study is funded by the ministry of economy, trade and industry of Japan. The full study was completed in March 2021 and is now entering the phase of discussion with potential co-investment partners.
The 2nd Yokohama smart city is within a walking distance from Amata Spring Golf Course, one of the most prestigious and recognisable championship courses in Asia.
There are also other concepts in the Amata smart city Chonburi including the Amata Chinese smart city which will house big-name tech giants from the mainland, said Ng. Its construction is now pending an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval.
Another project is the Amata Taipei smart city by Amata-Sinotech joint venture Amata GMS Development. The company was officially established in March 2021 and the construction is set to begin after an EIA approval.
To complement the life of the future and to support the Thai government policy for the country to be a global medical hub, a meditown is another crucial concept conceived by Amata and Thailand’s prestigious Mahidol University, along with Thailand Center of Excellence in Life Sciences (TCELS), with a memorandum of understanding inked in October 2020.
The goal of Meditown is to provide international medical services including medicine and medical devices manufacturing and medical industry-related education and research on an international scale. Hospitals, universities, firms in the medical equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical, R&D and wellness sectors will be the highlight of Meditown.
“There has been growth in medical tourism in Thailand and even after the Covid-19, so this could be a long-term driver (of the Meditown concept),” said Ng. “Our first project is to set up the World oncology center followed by the cardiology and the neurology centers, in collaboration with medical services providers.”
Edutown will also be part of Meditown, said Ng, offering select courses for the focused R&D, medical and wellness sectors.
Other potential projects include the Korean Smart City Zone at Amata City Chonburi, with the leading developer Korea Land & Housing Corporation entering a memorandum of understanding with Amata to study potential areas of collaboration in 2020.