Charting the nation’s digital future

Charting the nation’s digital future

5G, cloud computing and AI are considered key elements of Thailand’s digital economy

Bangkok Post, Huawei and the Asean Foundation are holding the “Powering Digital Thailand 2022” forum on Wednesday at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Center in CentralWorld. Gen Prawit Wongsuwon (center), Deputy Prime Minister, was invited to deliver a keynote address. After his speech, General Prawit left a photo with Worachai Bhicharnchitr (first from left), Bangkok Post Vice Chairman Lin Baifeng (second from left), President of Huawei Asia Pacific, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn (third from left), Minister for digital economy and society. Suthikiati Chirathivat (third from right), chairman of the Bangkok Post, Abel Deng (second from right), CEO of Huawei Technologies (Thailand) and Nattapol Rangsitpol (first from right), general manager of the industrial promotion department. Somchai Poomlard

5G, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will all be key elements in the infrastructure of the country’s digital economy for the benefit of the Thai people, the government said on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said that wireless communication technologies are already core components of Thai development, in particular social, economic and security development.

Gen Prawit spoke at the opening of Powering Digital Thailand 2022, an event jointly organized by Bangkok Post Plc, Huawei Technologies Co and the Asean Foundation, in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The forum will take place in the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Center in CentralWorld in Bangkok. It ends tomorrow.

The Deputy Prime Minister said these technologies play an important role in Thailand’s development, especially as the country’s economy prepares to recover from Covid-19.

“These technologies together are seen as a major driver in the development of Thailand’s digital economy through the advancement of innovation and job creation,” said Gen Prawit.

“Powering Digital Thailand 2022 is a good example of public-private collaboration to drive the integration of technology use into the development of the country,” he said.

Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES) Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn told the forum that the DES ministry has set a goal for digital businesses to account for 30% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, up 17% from now on.

Mr Chaiwut said the goal is part of the government’s policy for economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, including building digital infrastructures, particularly cloud services, strengthening digital business and creating a quality digital society.

He said the government had implemented a 20-year roadmap for Thailand’s digital development in three phases – from creating a digital foundation and inclusion to fully digital transformation and becoming a leading global digital player.

The ministry has rolled out free broadband internet and increased the capacity of undersea cables in 74,987 villages in recent years to turn the country into an Asean digital hub, Chaiwut said.

“Internet penetration has now reached 80% of the country’s population, while Thailand is Asean’s first 5G wireless broadband provider,” he added.

Thailand has set up 20,000 5G stations and has 4.3 million 5G users, a significantly higher rate than other ASEAN countries.

Thailand’s 5G-powered economy is expected to be worth up to 2.3 trillion baht by 2035, according to a joint forecast by the office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, Time Consulting and Huawei.

The pandemic has massively disrupted people’s lives, businesses and society in general, but the government has been providing them with help through apps, Mr Chaiwut said, adding that Thais are at the forefront of using internet banking and financial services through apps stand.

According to the minister, three approaches are being followed to fuel economic recovery from the pandemic.

The first involves a push to increase the capacity of digital infrastructure to support the adoption of innovations and roadmaps for the digital economy, particularly data centers that support cloud services.

National Telecom (NT) operates the Government Data Center and Cloud Service (GDCC), which offers the use of the cloud by government agencies.

The second approach concerns efforts to strengthen the digital economy, which currently represents 17% of the country’s GDP. The government wants it to rise to 30% by 2030, Chaiwut said.

“Local small and medium-sized businesses [SMEs] needs support to introduce digital platforms to keep up with the growth in the digital economy, “he said.

Ultimately, the government wants to create a quality digital society by stepping up efforts to thwart cybercrime and online fraud, two unwelcome rising trends.

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