HomeInterviewDEPA: Thailand’s digital economy to grow by over 15%

DEPA: Thailand’s digital economy to grow by over 15%

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) has forecast that Thailand’s digital economy will be growing by at least 15 per cent this year mainly because of changes triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a jump from one per cent a year on average,” DEPA president Nattapon Nimmanpatcharin told The Story Thailand.

He said his agency had recently revised its strategy to address COVID-19 impacts, which look set to shrink the overall Thai economy by between four and five per cent.
“For example, we now think about reskilling people who have been laid off in the wake of the pandemic,” Nattapon said, “After they get new skills, they will have opportunities to survive in digital economy”.

He pointed out that even if they did not have any interest in returning to the corporate world, they could be self-employed or sell various products/services online.
“For those who return to the corporate world, I recommend that they keep learning new things via free online courses,” he added.

As for enterprises, his advice is that that they should leverage technologies and focus on not just mere products but also platforms. For example, DEPA will let those in the agricultural sector use platforms for free for a certain period of time so that they could learn about e-commerce and explore new business opportunities.

“If they can do well, they will create jobs for people,” Nattapon said.

He also pointed out that enterprises in tourism industry could create customers’ confidence in their services via a good reservation platform.

Moreover, DEPA is planning to match SMEs that need technological solutions with compatible startups and help shoulder a part of their risks from technological integration.
“DEPA will help with business matching so as to drive Thailand’s digital industry further,” he said. Digital systems via various industries are now estimated to have accounted for between eight and nine per cent of the country’s gross domestic products.

Nattapon believed that with the right matches, it would be possible to develop competitive tourism or food platforms at national level. “We have to create opportunities for startups,” he said.

He disclosed that DEPA had even adjusted Smart City development direction. The new focus is not only on responding to people’s needs but also on creating opportunities for them.

“We aim to create a proper ecosystem for Thailand so as to boost the country’s competitiveness and encourage a business reform,” he continued.

Nattapon said he hoped that Thai startups would seriously develop hardware, otherwise the country would remain dependent on imported hardware. He emphasized that Thailand would need to curb its trade deficits related to technological imports.

DEPA push for the digital reform applies to not just the private sector alone but also the government sector.

“The government sector should transform itself into a digital state too,” he said.



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