Park Ki-seok, the president and chief executive, said Samsung, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in Thailand this year, targets nearly tripling the number of its engineers in the country to 400 by 2014 from a projected 150 by the end of this year.
At present, the company has about 80 engineers working in Thailand.
The Bangkok office will serve as the Asean headquarters for Samsung Engineering to expand its presence in the region, said Park.
“The increased manpower will serve our existing projects and new markets in Southeast Asia as well as Australia,” he said during a visit to Bangkok last week.
Thailand has an abundant supply of engineers, with 10,000 of them graduating from universities annually, said Park, who was managing director of Samsung Engineering in Thailand from 1998-2000.
So far, the South Korean firm has developed projects in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam including by Petronas and Exxon Mobil Corporation.
It is chasing some projects in Australia while looking at Myanmar as another high-potential market.
“Now is the right time to go to Myanmar. I went there 10 years ago, but it was not easy to do business at that time,” said Park, adding that his company targets power and offshore projects in the previously military-ruled nation.
Among potential projects in Myanmar are power and petrochemical plants as part of the Dawei project being developed by Thailand’s Italian-Thai Development Plc.
In Thailand, Samsung has developed 17 projects including PTT Plc’s sixth gas-separation plant, the world’s largest, and Map Ta Phut Olefins’ cracker with annual production capacity of 800,000 tonnes.
It is developing $60 million power-generation and heat-recovery facilities for PTT Plc and in the bidding for a $1 billion refinery here, with the bid results to be announced next month.
The additional Thai engineers that are hired will join 7,300 employees in South Korea, almost 900 in New Delhi and 400 in Houston, Texas.
Listed on the South Korean stock exchange, Samsung Engineering reported annual sales of $8.4 billion last year with new orders of $10.6 billion.
This year, it expects new orders worth $15 billion and revenue of $11 billion.
The company has $33.4 billion worth of contracts from 18 projects in nine countries.
It has completed projects in 48 territories.
Last year, 62 percent of revenue was derived from projects in the Middle East, with 12 percent coming from elsewhere in Asia including South Korea.
It forecasts revenue growth of 21 percent in each of the next three years, reaching $20 billion in 2015, with orders reaching $30 billion.
Park said his company plans to balance revenue at 50 percent from hydrocarbon projects, with the other half coming from new businesses such as power plants and steel.
At present, hydrocarbon accounts for 65 percent of revenue.