NIA unveils ambitious plan to make Thailand among most innovative countries
The National Innovation Agency (Public Organisation) has announced a strategic plan to reshape Thailand's position as an innovative country.
The initiative is aimed at increasing the country's competitiveness and preparedness to face global challenges.
Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of NIA, said the rapid changes in the economy, society, and lifestyle, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic during the past two years, became the catalyst for tech disruption as well as tech adoption, such as a cashless society, online meetings, hybrid working, telemedicine, and vaccine development.
Although these emerging technologies, like the metaverse for instance, require more development, it is expected to create an astounding change in the economy and society
He explained that technology adoption was not only helpful in work-life routine but also will significantly accelerate the development of the country. Thailand requires innovation to sustain its economic growth.
To promote innovation that is responsive to global challenges while building the country's brand as 'Innovation Thailand', the NIA has chalked out seven strategies:
1. Increase innovation-based enterprise capability that could survive abrupt changes in the innovative system;
2. Build and foster human capacity in innovation;
3. Utilise innovation infrastructure and ensure accessibility to innovation services;
4. Enhance innovation opportunity and regionalisation;
5. Reshape regulatory environments to ease innovation processes;
6. Create recognition for Thailand as being at the forefront of innovation in the world;
7. Transform innovation systems to address global challenges.
“The move is also part of its plan to raise Thailand's position in the Global Innovation Index from the top 43 in 2021 to top 30 by 2030. By 2025, the NIA wants around 100 companies capable of registering as DeepTech companies; 60 companies currently have good potential," Pun-Arj said.
"Leading cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai will be startup and tech cities of Thailand, serving as a launching pad and landing pad for global startups,” he added .
He said the strongest point that made Thailand among the world's top innovative countries was the nation's infrastructure and the heavy investment from the private sector, which was around 80 per cent of all investment. Hence, apart from those seven strategic plans, Pun-Arj said the NIA would support government agencies to take the lead in research and development so that Thailand can have its own innovation and technology, especially Deep Tech.
Meanwhile, Tunyawat Kasemsuwan, global innovation director of Thai Union Group Pcl, said Covid-19 has had an impact on some businesses, as people's behaviour changed. For example, more people have shifted to online food delivery to eat at home. Many companies, including Thai Union Group, focus on health, safety standards, and cost management to overcome the crisis, it has also focused on investments in new businesses, such as automation and technology, to keep pace with market trends.
"By using innovation to develop new products that meet consumers' demand worldwide, Thai Union Group's innovation strategy consists of two key approaches: research and development by the Innovation Centre of Thai Union Group, and investing in global startups to create a food tech ecosystem," said Tunyawat.
Highlighting the importance of urban planning that supports the emergence of metaverse trends, Onza Janyaprasert, senior vice president – project development of Magnolia Quality Development Corporation, [MQDC] said the company was investing heavily in the metaverse and blockchain technology as an attempt to bridge the physical and virtual worlds.
"Covid-19 has drastically changed our way of living from work to leisure, so we want to build a world in which people can seamlessly enjoy all activities in their life regardless of where they are," said Onza.
To support the government and the NIA policy of "Innovation Thailand", MQDC also set up the plan to transform the South Sukhumvit neighbourhood (Onnut – Bang Na) to become the new innovation district of Bangkok in collaboration with global experts and local professionals. The plan is part of a series of anchor projects from True Digital Park and Cloud 11 to foster strong communities of innovators.
To further promote an innovation-based development plan, Pun-Arj revealed that the NIA would host Startup x Innovation Thailand Expo 2022 (SITE 2022) to showcase outstanding innovative products and services. The hybrid event, which brings together leading startups, innovators, experts, business executives, and investors, will be held under the theme "Reconnecting the World" from June 23-25 to strengthen innovation competency, and create awareness of innovations nationwide.