Thai logistics firm Best Group and Shenzhen property company Hydoo International have raised $3bn to finance a giant financial technology, trade and logistics centre on the Gulf of Thailand coast east of Bangkok.
When complete, the 2.5 square kilometre Trust City World Exhibition and Trade Centre will accommodate more than 20,000 wholesale shops, 30,000 car parking spaces, an "automotive zone", 5,000 business-class hotel rooms for traders and tourists, 6,000 less expensive rooms for employees, as well as serviced apartments. The centrepiece will be a towering 100,000 sq m exhibition hall, topped by meeting and seminar rooms.
The construction cost of the project, earmarked for a site near Suvarnabhumi Airport, is expected to be about $2.2bn; work on preparing the site has already begun and completion is slated for 2020, reports The Nation.
Sittichai Charoenkajornkul, the Thai president of the joint venture, said the hub would become the largest exhibition centre in the world. Speaking at the press conference to launch Trust City, held on Thursday, 7 September, he said it would provide a single venue capable of hosting all of Thailand’s export industries.
"It will be the trade centre to export Thai products to the world," he said. "Trust City will open Thai trade and commerce prospects to the world like never before."
In line with the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road policy, we wanted to go out and do the business. And it’s easy to do business: there are a lot of Chinese people living here, the Thais are very friendly so we will like it here– Raymond Chen, Hydoo vice president
He added that the aim was also to help Thai start-ups to reach a global market, and that there would be an "international pavilion" to allow global firms to exhibit to Thai buyers.Â Â
Shenzhen-based Hydoo is the second largest developer of trade and logistics centres in China. It has built more than 20 projects in 10 cities on the mainland, but this will be its first venture in foreign lands.
Raymond Chen, Hydoo’s vice president, told the National Broadcasting Service of Thailand that the Thai business environment was friendly and the cost of land was favourable.
"In line with the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road policy, we wanted to go out and do the business," he said. "And it’s easy to do business: there are a lot of Chinese people living here, the Thais are very friendly so we will like it here. Finally, the cost of land is very suitable."
The Hydoo Best Group joint venture, which will be 60% owned by the Thai partner, also intends to be a hub for the rapidly growing financial technology, or "fintech" industry. Private equity group W Ventures Hong Kong is helping to raise capital and attract partners for this element of the scheme and Symphony Quant, the developer of a robot trading app, was selected as the project’s strategic partner.
Examples of fintech include automated insurance, trade and risk management, and personal financial services based on mobile phone apps.
The project is hopes to break even within 10 years.
Image: Sittichai Charoenkajornkul beside a model of Trust City (Hydoo Best Group)