|COFCO Biochemical (Thailand) Co Ltd's factory in Rayong Industrial Zone in Thailand. The Thai subsidiary of China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp, China's largest food processing, manufacturing, and trading company, spent 100 million yuan ($15.8 million) to buy a citrate factory and another 100 million yuan on upgrades. [Photo/China Daily]|
In the second act of Siam Niramit, a historical cultural performance about ancient Thailand, popular among foreign tourists in Bangkok, a 16th-century Chinese trading boat docks at a port on stage.
Fully loaded with delicate silks, porcelain and other treasures from China, the arriving outsider quickly wins over the hearts and minds of local residents.
Today, the humble trading vessel has been replaced by thousands of planes and cargo ships transporting goods between the two countries worth billions, ensuring ties between the two nations are strong and deep-rooted, both socially and economically.
According to the latest statistics from the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), for instance, China was the country's second-largest source of foreign direct investment in 2011.
Chinese companies have applied to take part in more than 180 investment projects in the last five years, worth a total investment of $4.15 billion.
Data from Thailand's travel bureau show China has become the largest source of visitors to its famous southern seaside resort of Phuket.
The importance given to links with China is clearly illustrated at the newly built multimillion dollar Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where noticeboards and signs are in Thai, English and Chinese.
Liang Wanshan is among the new generation of Chinese coming to Thailand.
As general manager of COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp) Biochemical (Thailand) Co Ltd, Liang was sent to establish a local team after China's largest food processor, manufacturer and trader spend 100 million yuan ($15.8 million) to buy a local citrate factory last year.
Eight months after Liang first arrived in Thailand, a modern factory is taking shape in the east of the country's Rayong Province.
But its redevelopment wasn't easy.
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