By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
COMPANIES yesterday expressed their confidence in the country’s ability to adapt to the digital era under the government’s Thailand 4.0 vision.
Thailand’s embrace of digital economy initiatives will help to drive growth and open up opportunities for the nation, said Wang Xiang, senior vice president of Xiaomi, a global technology company headquartered in Beijing. The company is one of the world’s leading smartphone makers.
Earlier this year, Xiaomi marked its formal entry into Thailand in collaboration with distribution partner VST ECS (Thailand) Co.
“We see Thailand’s 4.0 strategy making a very positive impact on innovation, investment and growth in the years ahead,” said Xiang at the Digital Thailand Big Bang exhibition. This includes initiatives that make it easier for investors to do business, and the nationwide rollout of high-speed Internet to 75,000 villages.
Xiaomi, with strengths in technology and innovation, says it is well-positioned to contribute to Thailand’s digital initiatives. Despite being only a seven-year-old company, Xiaomi has applied for more than 16,000 patents and has been granted 4,043 of them, of which 1,887 are overseas patents. Besides smartphones, the company makes smart TVs and routers. It offers a wide array of other consumer electronics through its Mi Ecosystem strategy. It has more than 60 million devices connected to its IoT platform.
“The Digital Thailand Big Bang event is really tapping into the most interesting areas of innovation, including showcases of AI (artificial intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), smart cities, drones and a lot of great startups,” Xiang said. “We are very encouraged by the pursuit of technology that we are seeing here in Bangkok. “The Xiaomi philosophy is that innovation should be for everyone, and it should be high quality and affordable.”
Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director of Microsoft (Thailand), said that to drive Thailand towards a successful digital transformation in every aspect – including digital innovation capacity and business competitiveness by promoting a more modern workforce with digital capabilities – the firm has joined with the National Digital Economy and Society Commission to support the goals of Thailand 4.0.
The software company will offer its knowledge, know-how and business solutions in three areas: capacity-building for young people and students, startups and the general public. Microsoft will provide digital and information technology skills training projects, a pilot modern workplace project to promote the use of a hybrid cloud platform, and policy guidelines for digital technology to improve the standard of cybersecurity, increase regulatory transparency and establish trust in and among government agencies and other parties to implement the Digital Economy and Society Plan under the Thailand 4.0 policy.
ThaiWPS is pushing ahead with a collaboration between the government and Thai-Chinese businesses to drive Thailand’s transformation into a digital nation – in line with the Thailand 4.0 policy – for the ultimate goal of establishing the country as Asean’s leader within five years.
Pongprom Yamarat, founder and chief marketing officer of RMI Global Ventures, which is the provider of ThaiWPS Office software, said RMI and WPS Corporation are affiliated with Kingsoft Corporation, a software and Internet-service provider from China. They share the goal of developing Thailand into a “digital nation”.
ThaiWPS seeks to ensure that Thais have both skills and convenient access to computer devices and digital technologies. T
he firm also plans to offer cloud services in Thailand for storing, processing and analysing social and economic Big Data in the upcoming Internet of Things (IoT) era.
Mobile phones, cars and electric appliances work better with IoT, their manufacturers say. As educational promotion and IT-personnel development rank among the crucial parts of the Thailand 4.0 policy, ThaiWPS will give away 14 million software licences, worth nearly Bt20 billion, to vocational schools and Rajabhat universities across Thailand.
Ariya Banomyong, managing director of Line Thailand, said the firm has cooperated with the Bangkok Taxi Cooperative Network to provide an application called Line Taxi, which will be available in the next quarter.
The partners say Line Taxi will do away with longstanding grievances of customers, such as long waiting times for a taxi or the drivers turning them away. About 60,000 cabbies will participate with the Line Taxi platform.
“Taxi drivers are part of Thailand’s landscape, and as the country moves towards Thailand 4.0, the cooperation is aimed at modernising traditional taxi riding,” Ariya said.
“Our goals is to create new services that can improve the daily lives of Thais.” Thailand has 44 million mobile Internet users and 41 million Line users, he said.
“We’re ready to make digital solutions for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises. “Some 1.6 million SMEs from the total of 2.8 million provide their products and services via Line. That will enable them to catapult their business into the digital era.”