National Instruments, a US-based manufacturer of measurement and testing tools, says it is doubling its investment in Thailand by increasing the staff and training centres this year.
The move, while it celebrates 10 years in Thailand, is aimed to capitalising on the local industry’s double-digit growth, worth $100 million per year.
Chandran Nair, managing director of National Instruments (Thailand), said the investment is slated to expand its local office areas by adding product demonstration areas and training centres.
“We expect to attract more local firms to use our measurement and testing services, especially engineers and science businesses,” he said.
Nair said most companies are eager to invest more in research and development to improve their products.
In addition, higher labour costs are driving companies to spend more to develop automated tools to increase productivity, leading to increased demand for measurement and development tools.
He said National Instruments will focus more on the oil and gas industry, electronics, manufacturing, automotive and energy _ sectors that have not been affected by the global economic slowdown.
Nair said monitoring machine conditions under a preventive maintenance programme is essential to avoid unwanted incidents. He cited a recent fire at Bangchak Petroleum refinery.
Measurement for mobile radio frequency tools is also another growth area in the wake of the rule stipulated by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission that required signal quality testing reports.
Nair said the company plans to talk with the Thai government to possibly set up a prototype laboratory, tailored specially for high-precision machinery for the automotive, oil and gas, and telecom industries.
“We prefer to have a joint investment with the state under a 50:50 or 60:40 partnership,” he said.
The lab will allow local small and medium-sized engineering companies to use tools for free or at a minimal cost. This could help Thailand build its intellectual property, he added.
Nair said National Instruments aims for compound average growth of 28-30 percent from 2012 to 2017 in the Thai market.
The country’s overall measurement and testing equipment market is estimated to grow 8-10 percent per year.
Globally, National Instruments earned $1 billion in sales revenue in 2011, 30 percent of which came from Asia Pacific. Southeast Asia contributed 30 percent of Asia Pacific’s revenue. Thailand is a top three market in Southeast Asia.