Digital Thailand: Govt urged to implement more targeted measures to spur growth
Digital entrepreneurs and experts are urging the government to be more targeted in the supportive measures it implements to spur the growth of Thailand's digital-business sector, especially as the new government moves to attract more investment into the overall economy, which is increasingly dependent on digital innovation.
The remarks were made during the panel "Opportunities, Challenges, and Adaptation of the Thai Digital Industry" on Wednesday.
Speakers addressed how Thai digital companies are adapting in the highly competitive digital economy era.
Speakers included Supachai Sachaphibulkij,of the Thai Chamber of Commerce's Creative Digital Economy Committee, Kanapol Wongphichayavisal, vice president of the Federation of Thai Industries' Digital Industry Club, and Tinnakorn Laoraovirot, former president of Thailand's Software Association.
They said that attempting to attract international companies could be advantageous if their investment spurred technological transformation. As a result, the government should exercise caution when drafting regulations affecting investment and digital technology.
They suggested that government agencies collaborate with the private sector to provide employees with the necessary digital skills, noting that global trends will impact daily life and drive the digital industry. One particular concern is that Thailand's digital workforce is growing at a slow rate, the speakers agreed.
They suggested that the government needs to encourage small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in industries like tourism to adopt digital technology to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction.
Entrepreneurs in the hardware, software, and digital-services sectors should embrace new innovations and technology to improve their efficiency, the speakers said, adding that Thai entrepreneurs and SMEs should set their sights beyond the country’s borders.
Thailand’s digital future is dependent on developing both infrastructure and skilled personnel, the speakers said, stressing that both should be implemented simultaneously.
Their comments came as the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), in collaboration with the IMC Institute, released the results of a data survey and assessment of the Thai digital industry's status in 2022.
Kasititorn Pooparadai, Depa senior executive vice-president of its strategy and security group, said that the study focused on four key sectors – software, hardware and smart devices, digital services, and telecommunications – and provided a three-year trend forecast.
Overall, the digital industry is worth 2.6 trillion baht (US$ 71 billion) and is growing at a 14% annual rate. The digital-service sector, which includes online platforms, is growing at the fastest rate, up 21% from 2021 to 281 billion baht last year.
The software industry is the second-fastest growing sector, increasing by 19% to a value of 190 billion baht last year. The hardware and smart device industry in Thailand was worth 1.4 billion baht last year and is growing at an 18% annual clip.
"This reflects significant growth in all sectors. The digital services industry, especially fintech and health tech, shows the highest growth rate, which is in line with global trends," Kasititorn said.
She said Depa and its partners are ready to promote the digital industry in order to support the government's policy of laying the groundwork for the country's digital economy and improving the efficiency of public services.
According to Thanachart Numnonda, executive director of the IMC Institute, this survey also measured the value of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), which overlap with the software and hardware sectors.
He pointed out that the survey included 213 companies and discovered that the big data and AI industry in 2022 had a value of 25.5 billion baht, up 15% year on year. The survey divided the industry into three categories: hardware, software, and services.
"The noticeable increase in income of the digital industry and related businesses reflects the digital transformation, while new technologies – such as AI, the Internet of All Things, blockchain, Web 3.0, and quantum computing – have significantly boosted the industry’s growth," he noted.