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Agencies join hands to support startups in major drive to e-commerce 

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Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) to provide funding and innovation support to local startups and small and medium enterprises, so as to enhance e-commerce and other electronic transaction activities.

The move is seen as a key step in facilitating e-commerce and e-transaction activities in Thailand.
ETDA predicts that the total e-commerce market in Thailand will increase significantly by about 14 per cent this year to Bt3.3 trillion, up from Bt3.1 trillion in 2018, according to Surangkana Wayuparb, president and CEO.
“The growth of e-commerce and e-transaction activities in Thailand has been driven by changing lifestyles of the Thai consumers,” she said, adding that the move has pushed Thailand to the highest growth in customer to customer online sales and activities in Asean. Meanwhile, in business to business, the country is lagging behind its neighbours including Singapore.
Surangkana said Thailand should have “local digital platforms” with a distinct Thai feel and signature to promote e-commerce activities in the country, and the development of data will be a significant element.
Working with NIA and ETDA will put a priority on raising funds and feeding them into the development of local platforms, she said. About Bt1 billion of the funding budget will be raised this year, especially from capital funds, private companies and other financial instruments, such as crowd funding.
“Under this collaboration, we will integrate knowledge, technology and innovation to promote the platform and ecosystem in electronic transactions.”
ETDA has a goal to push the emergence of an e-Commerce Park, which will play a similar role in Thailand’s e-commerce as Silicon Valley to the US computer industry. The park would incubate startups and SMEs and help build a labour force to feed the Thai e-commerce future market through a Young Talent Platform.
Ultimately, a workforce of 1 million could be involved in the sector, and 200,000 SMEs, said Surangkana.
The collaboration with NIA will bring closer the dream of a vigorous Thai e-commerce sector, she predicted, as people could see progress on building an e-commerce ecosystem, and connections between entrepreneurs and funding sources.
Pun-arj Chairatana, NIA director, noted that e-transactions now account for about 10 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, and will increase to between 30 per cent and 40 per cent within the next five years.
 “Through the cooperation with ETDA, we [NIA] will provide funding and electronic transaction support to local startups and SMEs, focusing on three different groups – students incubating new startups, local startups, and professionals and corporates,” said Pun-arj.
Pun-arj said that for this collaboration, the focus will be on collaborative activities to promote and support education, research, technology development, and innovations in electronic transactions and e-commerce of small to medium sized enterprises and start-ups, in order to build business platforms and electronic transaction ecosystems.
In addition, they will jointly develop courses in electronic transactions, training and academic meetings, as well as knowledge exchange discussions that include recruiting sources of funds for entrepreneurs, experts or people who are interested in expanding electronic transactions.



Published : April 23, 2019

By : Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn The Nation