Thursday, September 19, 2019

Weakling who became a tech whiz

Mar 15. 2019
Nuttaporn Voonklinhom enjoys a leisure time with his family.
Nuttaporn Voonklinhom enjoys a leisure time with his family.
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By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
THE NATION

4,269 Viewed

NUTTAPORN VOONKLINHOM may have risen to become an executive at Thailand e-Business Centre (TeC) as well as e-commerce master and tech evangelist, but his climb to the top has been an arduous journey. As a young boy in Hat Yai city, Nuttaporn was stricken by myasthenia gravis when he was only two years old. The entire burden fell on his mother to work hard and treat him.

Seeing his mother toil, Nuttaporn, one day decided to write a letter to King Rama IX, pleading with His Majesty to take him under his care. 

The King responded benevolently, allowing Nuttaporn to be a patient under his care until the age of 17. This allowed him to be treated for the disease free of charge at all hospitals in the country.

The cost of his medical care taken care of, Nuttaporn tried to work in order to earn some money to make his mother’s life more comfortable. He also wanted to earn money to reimburse the King. 

Nuttaporn, therefore, started to learn about computers on his own from the time he was 14, with the aim of becoming an engineer. He applied for a trainee position to operate the UNIX system at KSC Internet, an internet service provider that had set up a branch office in Hat Yai city. He saved as much money as possible so that he could buy a computer and subsequently started developing websites for businesses.

His passion for computers continued to guide him and at every opportunity he added to his knowledge, constantly looking for experts from foreign countries who could educate him about the latest technology and developments. He met a consultant from the US online and that proved to be the first step towards his evolution as an e-commerce master and tech evangelist. 

He finally got hired as a service engineer by an international company named hi5.com, where he was tasked with taking care of the network and studying the behaviour of Thai users by surfing social networks while also wooing new members in Thailand. 

Nuttaporn rose to become an executive in various international companies, including Google where he was responsible for the Google Wave project, an app that facilitates real-time messaging. He also worked as a user operations specialist at Facebook in the US, being responsible for providing customer service and also created a Facebook template for Thai users. Nuttaporn returned to Thailand during the deadly floods in Bangkok in 2011, which became a national disaster. Wanting to make a contribution in dealing with the crisis, he gathered some friends and partners to work as volunteers. They developed a software program that could help solve the flooding problem and assist the victims. 

His professional career has also included a stint as an executive at True where he participated in product development and e-commerce. He was also a co-founder and chief technological officer of the e-commerce team of Lazada in 2012 as well as country management director at Amazon Asia. 

Nuttaporn has also served as group chief technology officer at Pruksa Holding, which aims to be the leading diversified property company delivering end-to-end modern urban lifestyles to customers. With his passion for technology, Nuttaporn became president of Thai Digital Trade Association (TDTA) and the chief education officer at Thailand e-Business Centre (TeC). 

TeC aims to provide training courses designed for executives, directors, managers, staff and new jobbers who want to utilise information technology and be innovative to scale up their business, as well as improve the productivity of digital human resources in an organisation. 

“I want to help local businesses by assisting with transfer of knowledge, know-how, leverage information technology, e-commerce and innovation to support human resources in the country so that they can make our country competitive,” said Nuttaporn.

He said TeC provides training and the consultants focus on four areas: consultants designed for business who want to scale up, retraining staff and human resources in a business organisation, training for business improvement, and business health check. 

He said the firm aims to help around 50 local enterprises every year. They will conduct training courses to assist around 30 people per day to support business in the country.

Meanwhile, the TDTA, under Nuttaporn, is an association that brings together e-commerce and e-business founders, the government sector and acts as adviser to the president of China’s e-commerce association in order to transfer know-how and facilitate the export of Thai products to China as a one-stop service. 

It expects to push more than Bt1 billion worth of Thai sales to China and also develop a digital workforce of more than 1,000 personnel to support e-commerce in the country within the first half of next year.

“We will help Thai businesses who want to expand their business in China and ensure sustainable digital trading in the long term,” said Nuttaporn.

 

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