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IT city goes from strength to strength

IT city goes from strength to strength.The information technology sector appears to be weathering the economic storm better than most.
The sun always shines brightly on the IT industry regardless of economic or political conditions, with widespread consumption of IT products ensuring steady growth, says Ekachai Sirijirapatana, president of IT City.

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The information technology sector appears to be weathering the economic storm better than most.

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The sun always shines brightly on the IT industry regardless of economic or political conditions, with widespread consumption of IT products ensuring steady growth, says Ekachai Sirijirapatana, president of IT City.

Pantip Plaza Bangkok

With 40 branches in Bangkok and the provinces, the SET-listed chain is well positioned to gauge the direction of the IT retail trade.

First-quarter results underscore the optimism, as the company’s net profits grew to 41.4 million baht from 22.2 million in the same period last year. It even posted year-on-year growth in April, when the political temperature reached boiling point, partly because the same month in the previous year also saw mass rallies and political violence.

Growth should also be positive this month and next with the school holidays ending. However, Mr Ekachai expects results to be less rosy than the performance in the first quarter.

With the large number of red-clad neighbours not too far from the doorstep of its main branch at Pantip Plaza, IT City has been facing some tough challenges over the last few weeks.

“In recent weeks, as political problems rocked the city, it led to sales at Pantip Plaza dropping – but we are still able to grow because we have branches elsewhere,” said Mr Ekachai.

“Right now, if you go shopping anywhere you’ll notice that malls in suburban areas far from the protesters are attracting more people.”

However, the main driver of the industry is technological innovation. This year a big boost to sales has come with Intel’s introduction of a new family of processors that feature integrated graphics capabilities, complementing the advances made by Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system for PCs.

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Ecommerce

Disrupted by Covid-19, will South-east Asia’s super apps join forces?

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Disrupted by Covid-19, will South-east Asia's super apps join forces?

– Super apps explore inorganic growth options
– Gojek in talks with e-commerce company Tokopedia over $18bn merger
– Grab reported to be preparing for a public listing in the US
– Food delivery and financial services increasingly important segments

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After a year of external expansion and internal reorganisation due to Covid-19, South-east Asia’s super apps appear to be looking towards mergers and public listings as a strategy for future development.

In early January international media reported that Indonesian ride-hailing and payments giant Gojek was in advanced talks about merging with local e-commerce company Tokopedia, in a deal estimated to be worth $18bn.

Any potential merger between the two would be significant for Indonesia. The two local unicorns could create a digital powerhouse, with integrated services ranging from ride-hailing to digital payments, e-commerce and delivery.

A tie-up would also create numerous synergies, such as Gojek’s fleet being able to serve Tokopedia’s online shopping orders. However, there is also some overlap in the digital payments space, where Gojek’s GoPay platform competes with Ovo, which is 35% owned by Tokopedia, although there is speculation that Tokopedia may look to sell its stake in Ovo.

The news was followed by separate reports in late January that Grab, Gojek’s biggest competitor in South-east Asia, had selected investment banks Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan to help work on an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, set to take place in the second half of the year.

The Singapore-headquartered company, which operates ride-hailing, food delivery, e-payment and insurance services in around 400 cities across eight South-east Asian countries, is valued at around $16bn. Its IPO is expected to raise at least $2bn, which would make it the largest overseas share offering by a South-east Asian company.

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Thailand’s economic outlook for 2021

The government expects inbound tourism to be at around 8 million by the second half of 2021, well below 40 million in 2019

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The Thai economy will grow next year after contracting by almost 10% this year. Next year, the Thai economy is expected to expand 3 to 4% from this year. It will not be until the end of 2022 before the Thai economy returns to its pre-Covid level of 2019.

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Economics

Finance Ministry Considers Additional Incentives to Increase NSF Members

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Finance Ministry is considering additional incentives to increase members in the National Savings Fund (NSF) as Thailand is projected to become a “super ageing society” by 2031.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said increasing state contributions to the NSF and extending the maximum membership age to 65 years old from 60 as stipulated by law are among the considerations.

He said Thailand is projected to become a fully aged society this year, meaning 20% of the total population is 60 or older. The country is projected to be a super ageing society by 2031, meaning 28% of the total population is 65 or older.

Mr Arkhom said retirement savings are vital because 20 million informal workers in Thailand are without mandatory savings programs.

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