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Thailand…Tourist or Startup paradise?

Thailand is ready to accept startup founders and entrepreneurs more than ever : the Thai government believes 2016 will be a golden year for its startup industry.

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Bangkok has been voted the world’s top destination four years in a row, according to Travel & Leisure magazine.

Along with that, Thailand is ranked second for tourism in southeast Asia. However, an interesting phenomenon is occurring. Thailand is becoming more than just a tourist paradise – it is also a startup paradise.

Is Bangkok ready to become the next global startup hub ?

Today, Thailand is ready to accept startup founders and entrepreneurs more than ever. In fact, the Thai government believes 2016 will be a golden year for its startup industry.

Although its startup scene is still young, Bangkok is said to be one of the fastest booming startup scenes in the world. It is no longer the underdog of the global startup hub.

The Thai government launched a 20 billion baht fund, equivalent to USD $570 million, to support the growth of local startups. Their goal is to establish 10,000 startups within the country by 2018.

It will also finance some 2,500 existing startups. The fund will be allocated between two industries: tech startups and general startups.

Main industry startups in Thailand excel in e-commerce, with fintech at a close second, logistics as third, payments fourth, and gaming fifth.

10,000 does not sound like much unless you know the growth figures of the Thailand startup ecosystem between 2012 and 2016. In 2012, there was only one Venture Capital firm, one accelerator, and zero startups existing in the market.

In 2016, there are now over 60 VCs with 6 accelerators in the country – and more than 72 startups funded. The following are 10 successful startups in Thailand:

Southeast Asia is still a blue ocean market with less than 1% of online-shopping today; however, it is said that the region will eventually become the third largest e-commerce market in the world after China and India.

The kingdom of Facebook users

A little fun fact: Thailand’s population is 67 million with 147% of mobile penetration rate. There are 35 million active Facebook users spending average of 2.35 hours per day on the site. This is a tremendous amount of time compared with the US consumer (the average spends 40 mins on Facebook per day).

Thai people spend nearly 5 times more than US Facebook users. Facebook recently parented with 2c2p, a Thai payment processing startup, in order to develop its social commerce capability by letting customers purchase within Facebook. Their intent is to reduce the fear of online shopping through its services.

Southeast Asia is on its way for growth and development potential. Thailand will no longer be a paradise solely for tourists – but also for aspiring entrepreneurs.

This article was written by Taiki Beaufils, social media manager at D8ii Limited, a UK startup based in Bangkok. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect the views of  Thailand Business News 

Twitter: @taiki124

Author Bio: Taiki Beaufils is a social media manager at D8ii Limited, a UK startup based in Bangkok. Twitter: @taiki124

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Lawrence

    August 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    The problem is Thailand is focusing on e commerce as opposed to local problem solving. How many hardware startups do you see at the Startup conferences? Focusing on Unicorns..pipe dreams instead of companies focusing on solving the local problems of life for everyday Thai people. We need to find a way to connect the talent of local engineers to business builders, marketing and finance people and build strong teams. I commend the Thai government to desire 10,000 startups but how many knock off of Amazon or Uber can any nation support?

    • TaikiB

      August 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Nice to see your feedback Lawrence.
      You have a great point on that. Often time local people, in many countries, are forgotten and technology is focused too much on external factors just like you mentioned.
      There are startups like Getlinks or Tribehired that focus on local talent recruitment.
      I hope more of these startups pop out in near future to make Southeast Asia a better place.

      • Lawrence

        August 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

        Greetings Taiki,

        I have bee formulating a concept to address the fragmentation problem ( the fact the people with key necessary skill sets to create the startup teams do not have a mechanism to meet) and secondarily there does not seem to be ongoing training for MBA types Lawyers and marketing people who have recently graduated ( or just plain interested) to network and continue training specifically in startup related concepts. I call this Paraclete Concept. If your interested I can send you a draft, its a work in progress but its getting there. Growing up near Stanford I did not realize how unique and perfect the environment was.

        • TaikiB

          August 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm

          Sure. connect my via linkedin. You can find me Taiki Beaufils.
          I’m looking forward to seeing your draft.

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