Thailand, renowned as the ‘Detroit of Asia’ for its production of internal combustion engine cars, wants to break into the top tier of electric vehicle makers as part of a goal to lure 1 trillion baht ($28 billion) of investments in four years.

To that end, the Southeast Asian nation has set up a "special operation” center to catch what its investment board head calls the "big fish” of the EV industry and other strategic sectors. Chinese EV makers are a top target, Narit Therdsteerasukdi, secretary-general of the Board of Investment, said in an interview.

The agency’s investment target for the four years through 2027 in five strategic sectors has not been previously reported.