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UK launches Digital Trade Network to seize opportunities in Thailand

The UK is launching a new Digital Trade Network in the Asia Pacific, to increase trade and investment opportunities, and to forge new international partnerships for the digital economy with Thailand and the wider region.

The three-year pilot scheme will run on a budget of £8 million (Bt314.3 million) and aims to support tech businesses as they seek to internationalise.

The scheme also aims to meet the growing demand for digital tech solutions after Covid-19 – from improving supply chain resilience to managing expanded e-commerce.

The UK Trade Commissioner for the Asia Pacific stated, “digital technology is more important than ever, delivering innovations that improve people’s lives and make businesses more productive – as we’ve seen through the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Strengthening the UK’s partnership with the Asia Pacific through this new Digital Trade Network will allow the country to create new collaborations, driving trade and investment and ensuring that everyone benefits from the best global digital innovation.

The UK tech scale-up experts will join the Digital Trade Network by extending their successful Entrepreneur Engagement Network internationally – in Japan, Singapore and Australia.

The network will support tech scale-ups in Asia Pacific interested in the UK market, by providing a direct link to key tech clusters across the country.

Making Thailand a leading digital economy hub

According to a report by OpenGov Asia, as the digital drive gains steam during the pandemic, Thailand must capitalise by turning into a global tech hub, the President of the Digital Council of Thailand (DCT) stated.

Another expert stated that the world is likely to recover fast after the outbreak subsides, due to globalisation and the push for technological and digital development.

A new economy will emerge as people’s behaviour changes. Thailand needs to prepare for transformation to the new economy, the expert, Board Chairman of telecom operator True Corporation stated.

Thailand must dare to change with the target of bringing the country to serve as the new technology hub of the world.

The DCT aims to push towards a new economy through five approaches.

First, new indicators for the country’s development must be sought. For example, the country’s digital infrastructure must not be gauged by the ratio of computers or mobile phones to the population.

There should be indicators of people’s capability in technological and digital access, such as English and Chinese proficiency, as new knowledge mostly comes from countries that use these languages.

Second, cooperation between state, private, academic and civic sectors must be created with a clear goal of pushing the country out of the middle-income trap.

In the past, they worked separately with different objectives.

Third, efforts must be made to create digital manpower through upskilling or reskilling of new graduates, currently numbering 500,000.

They must have new skills consistent with global demand.

Fourth, digitalisation must be underscored. Industries and start-ups must be alerted and prepared for fast change, particularly the adoption of digital technology within organisations.

Fifth, efforts must be made to turn Thailand into a trade and investment hub, drawing talent to the country from around the world.

A strategy must be laid out to enable Thailand to serve as the regional hub for investment.

To reach the goal, Thailand must have an ecosystem conducive to trade and investment, supported by technology and digital advancement.

And while talent from outside the country is needed, Thai universities should be encouraged to produce more technologically proficient graduates.

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