By PHUWIT LIMVIPHUWAT
The target number is for the next two years, with the enterprises being encouraged to have their shop locations mapped on the search giant’s Google My Business service.
The bank’s partnership on Google My Business began in the fourth quarter of last year, and 100,000 enterprises have since had their businesses mapped under the tie-up, SCB president Sarut Ruttanaporn said.
The bank declined to state its costs for the partnership. It had announced an investment budget of Bt40 billion, effective from 2016.
Besides offering financial services, SCB aims to support SMEs in Thailand by giving them the knowledge, tools and channels to digitise themselves in the wake of technological disruptions, SCB president Arak Sutivong said at a press conference yesterday.
“Business owners who would like to create an online presence with Google My Business through SCB simply need to have a deposit account with the bank,” Arak said. “They would then need to bring identification cards and documents verifying their business address to apply for the service with SME Business Centre officials or any SCB branch staff.
“This enables SMEs to open online shops in as little as 30 minutes.”
The service is free.
Google said that supporting the digitisation of SMEs is one of the company’s key objectives.
“The Google My Business service will allow SMEs to increase their digital visibility through posting photos of their businesses, engaging with customers through reviews, and having access to market insights, said Michael Jittivanich, Google Thailand's head of marketing.
Some 99.7 per cent of Thai businesses are SMEs, contributing 42 per cent of the country's GDP and 78 per cent of Thailand's total employment, he said.
“Furthermore, the number of Google searches with the word ‘store’ in Thai have doubled in the past year, while searches of the word ‘near me’ in Thai have tripled,” Michael said. “Hence, we see a timely opportunity to partner with SCB and continue to connect SMEs with their customer base through Google My Business.”
Arak said: “In helping our clients increase their digital presence, we will be able to support the growth of our clients’ businesses.
“From here, SCB will be able to continue to offer our clients various financial services such as digital loans and online payment platforms.”
Sarut said SCB’s SME portfolio stands at Bt3 billion, with SME loans expected to grow by 5 to 7 per cent in 2019.