China's BYD to build EV hub in Thailand

China's largest electric vehicle maker BYD is betting that Southeast Asia is ready to embrace green transportation. The company has announced it is building a factory in Thailand to churn out EVs for the region.

BYD held a news conference in the Thai capital of Bangkok on Thursday. It signed a contract to purchase a swath of land in eastern Rayong Province. It aims to have a new facility there ready to produce EVs by 2024.

The project will cost about half a billion dollars and bring an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles. BYD plans to first sell them in Thailand and later export to the rest of Southeast Asia and even Europe.

The Thai government has said it wants EV production in the country to reach about 700,000 vehicles a year by 2030, which would be about 30 percent of its total auto manufacturing.

Japanese manufacturers have around 90 percent of the auto market share in Thailand. But it is mainly gasoline vehicles that come from their production hubs located in the country.