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Thai entrepreneurs get digital business training

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), the National Innovation Agency of Thailand (NIA) and a venture capital firm jointly organised the Netpreneur Training Thailand Program.

This intensive training session will be run by a Chinese e-commerce giant and is aimed at enhancing Thai businesses competitiveness in the digital era. The 10-day training session will be held at the firm’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

The training program will inspire participants and applicants will get first-hand insights into the tech giant’s journey of building a digital ecosystem in China.

It is hoped that Thai entrepreneurs can also learn to seize the opportunities that the digital economy presents. The training will inspire participants in the way they conduct business in Thailand.

The move comes as a response to the growing number of Thai businesses that are becoming aware of the need to go digital to stay relevant in today’s fast-changing world.

The organisers believe that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling small enterprises. Leveraging innovation and technology will enable Thailand to grow and compete more effectively in domestic and global economies.

Supporting Thai firms and SMEs

DEPA is committed to supporting tech firms and SMEs in the digital era. According to an earlier OpenGov Asia report, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) plans to offer a 200% tax deduction for the purchase of smart devices, digital services, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in addition to software, starting in 2020.

From 2017 to this year, SMEs have been entitled to tax deductions of up to 200% of the value of computer programs they buy, but the incentive places a ceiling of 100,000 baht in product value. These software providers must be registered with DEPA.

The cabinet will be asked to approve the extension of the tax deduction, which is expected to run from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022, according to the Vice President of DEPA. The ceiling will be pushed up from THB100,000 baht to THB200,000.

From next year, the incentive will be widened to cover hardware and smart devices, 3D printers, IoT devices, robotics, drones and wearable devices, as well as digital services, which include cloud-based services, digital architect design services, consultations, fintech, agriculture tech and medical tech.

In 2019, Thailand ranked 27th out of 190 countries in global ease of doing business as reported by the World Bank.

The tax incentive scheme is only one measure, but the ease of doing business and a clear roadmap for new types of service licences from regulators is important to stimulate the overall digital industry.

OpenGov also reported that Thailand’s Prime Minister and Defense promised to support micro-SMEs in the adoption of digital technology. The private sector’s participation is viewed by the leader as an important mechanism for further collaboration within the ASEAN region.

The PM stated that the conference was called to seek ways to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-SMEs to adopt digital technology, while also seeking environmental development.

The efficient use of digital technology is essential, as micro-SMEs currently contribute 43% of Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) and must be acknowledged as a major economic driver.

The success of these SMEs and trepreneurs will inspire more businesses to explore investment opportunities and follow in their footsteps. When change comes on a larger scale, an economic transformation will follow, thus enhancing national competitiveness.

This success is also indicative of the progress the country is making on its Thailand 4.0 goals. In particular, giving Thailand a competitive advantage using knowledge, technology, and innovation.

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