Oct. 23--Hard-disk drive (HDD) makers have asked the Board of Investment (BoI) to offer more incentives to their suppliers under the new investment policies.
Although the BoI's new five-year promotion policy provides the highest of privileges to HDD producers, their suppliers will receive lower privileges unless they invest in research and development of tools or human resources.
Representatives from Seagate Technology, Western Digital and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies voiced concerns to the Industry Minister yesterday, saying some electronics parts makers are not capable of spending more on R&D.
The three firms have invested about 70 billion baht in Thailand, the world's largest producer of HDDs, with a total export value of 400 billion baht in 2012.
Sirirat Euaypadung, vice-president of Teparuk operations at Seagate Technology (Thailand), said the government should make the country attractive for R&D investment by developing the Thai educational system to produce more technicians and engineers, as well as subsidising the costs of R&D personnel.
Piangruetai Sivaratana, Seagate vice-president of Korat operations, called on the BoI to help subsidise up to 30-50% of the cost of researchers, such as in Singapore and Malaysia.
Thailand supplies 35-40% of the global HDD demand with shipments of 450 million units, said Sampan Silapanad, president of the Electronic & Computer Employers' Association.
Global demand the past five years totalled 600 million units, but the popularity of smartphones and tablets has resulted in more use of solid-state drives, another type of data storage device.