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The Thai government is transforming the Eastern Economic Corridor to be a forerunner for innovation in ASEAN. Here’s what the EEC means for you.

Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation

The EECi will act as the inspirational hub of developing and upgrading the EEC Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by leveraging technology and innovation. This will foster an innovation district within the SEZ, resulting in collaboration between public and private sectors, universities as well as local communities to further develop industries important to Thailand.

Laem Chabang Port
Sea Transportation Center

Serving as Thailand’s main port for handling containers and car exports, Laem Chabang Port is undergoing expansion to increase its capacity. With this expansion, it will soon become one of the world’s top 15 ports and the most important distribution and logistics center for Indochina and ASEAN.

Motorway, New High-Speed Trains and Double-Track Rail Lines

The motorway that currently connects Bangkok, Thailand’s key hub of activity, with Rayong, will be expanded to support heavier traffic capacity, while the dual-track railway will link industrial zones across the country. The high-speed trains run across the country and connects the 3 main airports slated for development.

10 Targeted Industries

Thailand has identified 10 major industries to promote, reinforce and develop, in order to boost competitiveness of the country’s areas of strengths and incorporate new growth industries that compliment and synergize its current industrial base.

New Chachoengsao City

As part of a plan to accommodate the influx of people and tourists who will be welcomed with the development of the EEC, new cities have been strategically developed as green cities to provide modern residential areas, and a quality lifestyle with ideal work-life balance. One such city is Chachoengsao City.

Sattahip Commercial Port
Marine Hub

The Sattahip Port is undergoing enhancements in order to facilitate world-class modern cruise ships, and support a successful shipbuilding industry.

Map Ta Phut Port
High-Capacity Industrial Port

This port handles liquid materials and natural gas, which is the main fuel of electricity production. The liquid petroleum products handled by this port also support advanced petrochemical industries across Thailand.

New Rayong City

As part of a plan to accommodate the influx of people and tourists who will be welcomed with the development of the EEC, new cities have been strategically developed as green cities to provide modern residential areas, and a quality lifestyle with ideal work-life balance. One such city is Rayong City.

Digital Park Thailand

Digital Park Thailand is a new economic cluster, strategically located on the EEC, aiming to be the destination for digital global players and digital business innovators to Invest-Work-Learn-Play together in the park where digital lifestyle meet up with digital business.

U-Tapao Aviation Hub
EEC Aerotropolis

Once completed, the U-Tapao airport is expected to welcome over 30 million business travelers and tourists annually while also supporting a rapidly growing logistics industry. It will also serve as a key hub of aircraft repair centers and facilities for the region.


Over the past 30 years, Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard has emerged as the country’s most important economic hub, serving as the regional center for trade and investment.

The provinces that make up the Eastern Seaboard - Chonburi and Rayong - have long been hotbeds of industrial activity, thanks to their rich off-shore natural gas fields, suitability for deep sea ports, proximity to Bangkok and abundant land for development.

Factor in beautiful beaches and a booming tourism industry, and it is easy to see why these provinces are the perfect places to pivot to as Thailand seeks to spread its wealth beyond Bangkok.

While heavy industry – from petrochemicals to automobile manufacturing– has helped the region’s GDP per capita surge beyond that of every other region in Thailand over the past decade, the Eastern Seaboard is now drawing the interest of investors from many other sectors.


The Thai government has thrown its weight fully behind the “Thailand 4.0” initiative, a visionary scheme designed to transform the Thai economy by investing in technology and innovation. A core element of Thailand 4.0 is the Eastern Economic Corridor, or EEC.

The EEC – comprised of Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong provinces – represents the next stage of the Eastern Seaboard’s economic life.

Within the EEC, the Thai government expects to develop ten high-tech industries over the next decade: next-generation automotive, smart electronics, biofuel and biochemical, food for the future, the digital economy, medical hub, automation and robotics, aerospace, agricultural and biotechnology, and affluent medical and wellness tourism.


To attract world-leading businesses to the EEC, the Thai government will offer a range of attractive incentives, including an up to 15-year exemption of corporate income tax, the exemption of import duties on machinery and raw materials used for manufacturing of export products and a special 17 percent personal income tax for foreign experts working in the 10 target industries.

New smart cities will be developed to provide a better work-life balance for all those working in the EEC. Rayong, Chachoengsao, Pattaya and a new metropolis located along key transportation routes will all be strategically developed to be eco-friendly, modern and in harmony with the local culture, and particular emphasis will be placed on enhancing soft infrastructure: schools, hospitals, high-speed internet and public transportation.

With a number of multinational companies expected to locate headquarters in the EEC, and international trading centers being set up as well, the region will stimulate economic development. The Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation, or EECi – a centerpiece of the initiative – will not only upgrade the 10 key industries through public-private research and development projects, but will offer inspiration for the whole country.



To facilitate the EEC’s expansion, infrastructure from road to rail to sea and air is currently being enhanced. The Thai government estimates US$43 billion of private and public investment will be funneled into the EEC within the next five years.

The ongoing expansion of U-Tapao Airport, predominantly servicing the cities of Rayong and Pattaya, will offer major airlines a new and convenient destination within the EEC, as well as Bangkok and its vicinities.

By 2022, U-Tapao will initially increase capacity to receive up to 5 million passengers; increasing to 30 million by 2027; and finally to 60 million by around 2032. The airport will also get a second runway, as well as a redesign supportive to its positioning as a major regional transport hub.

Linking U-Tapao to Bangkok’s airports, a high-speed rail will offer convenient travel between the country’s fast-paced capital and the rapidly rising EEC. And a further high-speed rail connecting Thailand, Laos and China will provide easier access to Asia’s economic power house.

The focus is not solely on new construction. Plans for Thai Airways and Airbus to open a joint maintenance, repair and overhaul center at U-Tapao are progressing, as other Fortune 500 companies are showing increasing interest in business opportunities around the airport. The resulting “Aerotropolis” at U-Tapao will be one of the key focal points for the EEC’s development.


While upgrades to the rail, air and motorway systems should ease congestion and facilitate improved transport routes across the country, the EEC’s heart and soul remains its proximity to the sea.

Already the 23rd busiest deep sea port in the world, Laem Chabang Port is currently in the third phase of its development, a US$2.5 billion undertaking. Laem Chabang is lifting its capacity to handle more than 18 million TEU containers and three million cars, making it the most important logistics and distribution hub in ASEAN.

Meanwhile the EEC’s other major sea port, Map Ta Phut, is eyeing its own expansion, which is being driven by public-private partnership.

But the ports do not only offer ease of access for industrial shipping. The government plans to convert Sattahip Port into an anchorage for world-class modern cruise liners. Sattahip has already linked the beach town of Hua Hin, on the west of the gulf of Thailand to Pattaya in the east.

Now, travelling between the two resort towns is more convenient than ever, offering locals, travelers and expats a more varied range of leisure opportunities.


From the bustling beach towns of Jomthien and Pattaya to the up-and-coming Rayong coast, from the secluded holiday islands of Koh Larn, Koh Si Chang, Koh Samed, Koh Chang, and Koh Kood to lush inland forests and waterfalls, the Eastern Seaboard has long been a favored destination for international tourism.

Of the US$43 billion investment going into the EEC, US$5.7 billion will help upgrade the tourism industry, and a further US$11.5 billion will go toward building new smart cities and advanced medical facilities.

Pattaya already offers world-class dining, five-star accommodation, beachfront condominiums and access to off-shore vacation islands, all of which add to its appeal for expats. With the extra investment, the government expects Pattaya, Rayong, Chonburi and Sriracha to become clean, green and sustainably developed in the near term.

More international schools, universities and technologically advanced hospitals will join those already in existence. A digital park in Sriracha will link to brand-new smart cities, which are being developed in coordination with local communities. The cities are also benefactors of special funds for sustainable development with regard to environmental, education and health.


As ASEAN grows into a prominent global role over the next decade, the EEC is offering new and attractive opportunities for business and investment, as well as a unique work-life balance for investors. With the EEC coming into view, the future is now for Thailand.