Thailand Board of Investment announces plans to support leading private aerospace manufacturer, mu Space, in driving Thailand’s space industry
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) recently announced plans to increase investment incentives and privileges in 2022 to attract more investments for the satellite business in Thailand as a new s-curve industry. BOI is in discussion with the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Public Organization, GISTDA), a Thai space agency and space research organization, and expected to announce the new investment promotion package by 2021.
According to BOI, the yearly number of satellites that are 500 kilometers up above the Earth is increasing together with the growing demand of satellite internet despite the global pandemic. BOI acknowledges the importance of the growing satellite production business in the country and as Thailand is already a manufacturing hub for electronics, BOI aims to provide incentives to support investments in creating a satellite manufacturing hub and plans to cooperate with aerospace manufacturer, mu Space and Advanced Technology Co., Ltd.
BOI aims to target countries such as the US, Japan and Israel to attract investors to invest in the development of satellite or aerospace industry in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
Commenting on the matter, BOI Deputy Secretary General Chanin Khaochan said: “We need to evolve ourselves into a higher, more valuable industry in order to keep our competitive edge going. We see that the space industry will have more demand going forward. It will give Thai people the opportunity to develop their skills and learn about advanced technology. The satellite production business will generate more income for skilled workers and eventually help the country to step out of the middle income trap.”
“Thai private companies such as mu Space have the potential to produce their own satellites. mu Space has sparked the possibility, in which we hope to build a supply chain of satellites in Thailand within 10 years. The company has knowledge in this field with new generations in the industry working for them to develop space technology products.”
mu Space as a private aerospace manufacturer and satellite internet provider was granted A1 level of investment incentives and privileges from BOI, the highest rank of any eligible incentives, in February. The incentives include 8 years of exemption of corporate income tax, exemption of import duties on machinery, raw materials used in R&D and production of export, along with other privileges that are related to manufacturing satellite and space components in Thailand as well as attracting foreign investments.
mu Space has recently opened its second and largest satellite manufacturing factory to date. Measuring more than 2,200 square meters, this factory is Southeast Asia’s first-ever dedicated aerospace manufacturing facility where it develops, tests, and manufactures satellite components and space products with high bay satellite production facility, power system integration & high performance battery cell laboratory, and functional tests beds, among others.
This factory represents a significant breakthrough for Thailand’s and Southeast Asia’s aerospace industry. It will help drive the country’s competence and competitiveness in the international satellite market as the region accelerates its participation in the new global space race.
mu Space has accelerated its growth plan quickly and is expected to create over 300 high tech jobs in Bangkok by the end of 2022 with 150 jobs expected to be created within this year. The company puts importance on the young generations of the country with diverse backgrounds and varying expertise in business & technology as it views it as an important aspect to support in building the cutting edge technology and space exploration. With this growing pace, the valuation of mu Space is expected to rise even further as the company will soon start another round of its funding.
Commenting on the future cooperation with BOI, mu Space CEO and founder James Yenbamroong said: “As a technology and satellite company, we are thankful that BOI sees our potential and is willing to support us to lead the space industry in Thailand. We promise to do our best to achieve our mutual goal in transforming Thailand as a satellite manufacturing hub in Southeast Asia and improve the country’s economy. Our engineering team is working relentlessly to develop mu Space first satellite that will be test-launched early next year. Thailand and Asia have long been trusted as the world’s manufacturing hub for automotive and petrochemicals, now it’s time for the space industry.”
mu Space has attracted investors from various industries and businesses to invest in the growing space industry. The company’s previous investors include B.Grimm Joint Venture – Thailand’s private power generation industry, Majuven Fund, private business groups such as executives from the UCLA Foundation, among others.
While industries worldwide may have been affected by Covid-19 and see heavy declines during this time, the global space industry in the first quarter of 2021 shows promising growth despite the pandemic with over hundreds of satellites having been launched into space. By April 2021, records show that 7,389 of them are floating and operating in space for different purposes including scientific research, weather predictions, military support, navigation, earth imaging, climate and environment monitoring, and communications, among others. This number is an increase of 27.97% compared to 2020. As of now, the total number of satellites launched into space is as high as 11,139.
Space exploration is projected to be more than US$ 1 trillion by 2040 while the small satellite industry market value is expected to grow by 220 percent at US$ 54.2 billion by 2030 as the revenue generated from the global space industry will keep skyrocketing. This will also benefit Asian space industries. The BOI believes that in the next 2 years, when COVID-19 ends, it is expected to receive up to THB 700 billion of requests for investment incentives and privileges in Thailand with the space industry contributing to the rising growth.
Watch this Inside mu Space’s Factory 1 video showcasing mu Space’s Factory 1 as well as its satellite manufacturing process and components.