Harman, a US-based electronics supplier to car makers and a subsidiary of Samsung, invests ฿2.8 billion in a new factory in Chonburi’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The project, creating 1,200 jobs by 2026, highlights Thailand’s talent pool and location.

On Thursday, the ground was turned on a new US advanced electronics factory to be situated in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) area. US-based firm Harman, a subsidiary of Samsung, has chosen Thailand as its Southeast Asian base. The ฿2.8 billion project will initially employ 1,200 people by 2026, with early hiring to start at the end of this year. Speaking on Thursday in the presence of the Minister of Industry, Pimpatra Wichaikul, Mr Christian Sobottka said one of the reasons his firm was moving to Thailand was because of the talent pool available.

President of Harman, Mr Christian Sobottka (centre), spoke of his confidence in Thailand as a base for the new factory. He pointed to the presence of existing customers and subcontractors as well as the country’s deep talent pool as key reasons for its decision to invest ฿2.8 billion in the new facility, which will be completed by mid-2025 and fully operational in 2026.

On Thursday, June 20, one of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s meetings in the United States bore fruit. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in Chonburi for a new state-of-the-art American advanced electronics facility for the car industry.

Respected US car system manufacturer Harman has chosen Thailand as the site for its first factory in Southeast Asia. The Stamford, Connecticut-headquartered firm announced the news in Bangkok, following a meeting between its top executives and Mr Srettha.

US executives met with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin in Bangkok. They assured him of their confidence in Thailand as a place to invest and do business

In turn, they assured him of their confidence in Thailand as a place to do business and as a base for Harman’s expansion.

The US firm is a subsidiary of South Korean electronics giant Samsung.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place at a 47,000-square-metre site. Previously, this was acquired by the firm in Laem Chabang. 

The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Industry Ms. Pimpatra Wichaikul.

The facility is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2025. The total investment is ฿2.8 billion. Following this, it is expected that the first products from there will be exported a year later in 2026.

Harman is already in Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, China and India. Firm has been drawn to Thailand through its proven track record within the auto industry

Certainly, most of these will be exports to the automotive industry where Harman is a leading parts supplier. The firm already has plants in Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, India and China.

Harman executives say they chose Thailand because of its track record in the automotive industry. In addition, many of the firm’s worldwide partners are also based in the kingdom.

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Harman supplies advanced in-car electronic systems and components.

In particular, it is well known for its audio and entertainment systems as well as car management systems which monitor external conditions.

Harman’s client list includes all major car firms

Harman’s partners in the auto industry include a Who’s Who list of big players. They include Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Changan EVs, Tesla, General Motors, Stellantis, Hyundai, Ford, Suzuki, Honda, Porsche, Harley Davidson, Toyota, Subaru, Scania, Volkswagen, Renault, Volvo, Great Wall, Tata and Geely Auto.

The new plant is 125 km from Bangkok.

Significantly, it is located in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) area, the Thai government’s flagship four-province base for advanced industrial development.

In short, this plant will employ 1,220 people after it goes into full production in 2026.

At this time, Harman says there is the possibility of a second stage of expansion, but it will depend on business performance and conditions ahead.

Hiring for this factory will begin at the end of 2024.

Significantly, the developers and building partners for the new factory are ESR Group Ltd. Unquestionably, one of the Asia Pacific’s largest factory development firms. The facility will be developed based on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) principles.

President of Harman spoke of the firm’s proximity to existing trade and sub-contracting partners in Thailand as being a key consideration at the event

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, the President of Harman, Mr Christian Sobottka, said one of the key considerations for his team was the availability of talented personnel.

‘At Harman, we strive to build confidence, to deliver road-ready automotive products according to the needs of our business partners. In short, we are ready to deliver an impressive in-vehicle experience to consumers,’ Mr Sobottka declared to the assembled guests. ‘Therefore, expanding our production base in Thailand has many benefits, including the availability of talented personnel, being close to OEM partners, and having manufacturing experience that can support both the automotive and technology sectors. Certainly, Thailand is moving towards transforming into an important production centre for both electric vehicles and future automotive technology. This is from increasing investment to support production using advanced technology in Thailand, and the necessity of responding quickly to consumer needs. This makes us not hesitate to expand our production base to Thailand.’

In addition to the Harman boss, speaking was Mr Danainat Chok-Anuay, an advisor to Ms Pimpatra. At length, he emphasised the country’s valuable auto industry, 

‘Harman’s decision to build a new factory in Laem Chabang will bring many benefits to many parties,’ explained Mr Danainat. ‘Also, this investment is in line with the strategy and overall economic development of Thailand. This includes promoting technological progress and building a strong automotive supply chain for the future. Harman’s new factory will also boost the economy by training workers, including creating new employment opportunities for more than 1,200 local workers.’

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