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Thai industry goes high-tech with Alibaba and Airbus set to move in

Government tax incentives spur move away from labor-intensive production

Thailand is remaking U-Tapao Airport as the gateway to its Eastern Economic Corridor, betting state-of-the-art logistics facilities will draw advanced manufacturers from around the globe. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

BANGKOK -- One of Southeast Asia's premier industrial hubs is going high-tech as global companies like Alibaba Group Holding and Airbus are planning to move into eastern Thailand, replacing more labor-intensive operations as economic development drives up costs.

Alibaba, China's e-commerce leader, has partnered with the government here to add Thai farm produce to its offerings and rev up cross-border e-commerce among Thailand, China and other global markets. "Quality Thai agricultural products, such as fragrant rice, durian and other tropical fruits in particular, are sought after by the Chinese consumer," Chairman Jack Ma told a news conference here last week.

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