Thailand Business News Thailand News with a Business Perspective Sat, 24 Jun 2017 07:41:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thailand Business News 32 32 49569833 Thailand among 10 countries most infected by malware in Asia Sat, 24 Jun 2017 07:41:39 +0000 The National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Engineering today released the results of its new study, “Cybersecurity Risks from Non-Genuine Software”, which found that cybercriminals are compromising computers by embedding malware in pirated software and the online channels that offer them.

The study, which aims to quantify the link between software piracy and malware infections in Asia Pacific, discovered that 100% of the websites that host pirated software download links expose users to multiple security risks, including advertisements with malicious programs.

Among other findings, it also found that 92% of new computers installed with non-genuine software are infected with dangerous malware.

The study was commissioned by Microsoft.

“The study’s findings all point to the fact that uncontrolled and malicious sources of pirated software, particularly on the Internet, are being converted into effective means of spreading malware infections.

And what we would like to achieve with this report is to help users recognize that the personal and business risks and financial costs are always much higher than any perceived costs they save from using non-genuine software,” said Associate Professor Biplab Sikdar from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, who led the study.

Pirated Software is a Major Source for Malware Infections

Software piracy is a recognized global problem and three in five personal computers (PCs) in Asia Pacific were found to be using non-genuine software in 2016[1]. However, using pirated software expose users to a plethora of cyber threats.

“Hackers and organized cybercriminals today are adept at exploiting information technology vulnerabilities and human errors to compromise computers for malicious and financial gains at the expense of organizations and individuals. Cybercrime is predicted to cost the global economy an estimated US$6 trillion by 2021[2],” said Keshav Dhakad, Assistant General Counsel & Regional Director, Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), Microsoft Asia.

“While cybersecurity defenses continue to evolve, users are slow at adapting, whereas cybercriminals are constantly advancing their attack vectors (malware strains) and delivery mechanisms. Piracy of software is increasingly becoming a key vehicle for cybercriminals to exploit computer vulnerabilities and breach security measures with ease.”

Key Insights from the Cybersecurity Risks from Non-Genuine Software Report 

The new study analyzed 90 new laptops and computers as well as 165 software CDs/DVDs with pirated software. The samples were randomly purchased from vendors that are known to sell pirated software from across eight countries in Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Korea, and Philippines.

Researchers also examined 203 copies of pirated software downloaded from the Internet. This aligns with the trend where software is increasingly being acquired through online downloads channels. Each of these samples was thoroughly investigated for the presence of malware infections using seven anti-malware engines – AVG AntiVirus, BitDefender Total Security, IKARUS anti.virus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, McAfee Total Protection, Norton Security Standard, and Windows Defender.



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China is building a city bigger than Washington on 4 islands in Malaysia Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:56:43 +0000 On four man-made Malaysian islands, Chinese developer Country Garden is building a huge new city. In one of the ads, the company bills it as “a dream paradise for all mankind.”

Called Forest City, the $100 billion metropolis will be able to accommodate 700,000 people. That’s about 20,000 more than the current population of Washington, DC — and it will have a density greater than Manhattan.

A new video taken by a drone offers a look at Forest City’s construction, which began in early 2016:

As you can see, a few apartment buildings and park spaces have already sprouted up, and some other towers are in progress. When Forest City is complete by 2040, it will have office buildings, parks, a transit network, hotels, restaurants, shops, schools, and 250,000 housing units.

While the mega-development sounds promising, several experts worry it could becomea ghost city, failing to attract the residents it needs to become a thriving metropolis. Since the 1970s, Chinese developers have built some-500 ghost cities in China. Forest City is expected to be the largest overseas project by a Chinese developer.

In April, nearly 60 home buyers , 70% of which are Chinese, cancelled their leases in Forest City, reportedly due to China’s increasing efforts to curb money from leaving the country.

As Business Insider previously reported, the supply of Forest City housing is outpacing demand. In 2016, Country Garden sold just 15,000 of the 250,000 Forest City residential units, totaling about $2.6 billion in sales, according to Yu Runze, the company’s chief strategy officer.

There aren’t many people walking around in the above video, but then again, Forest City is largely still under construction.

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Five of the 10 most expensive cities for expats are in Asia Fri, 23 Jun 2017 03:09:26 +0000 Five of the 10 costliest places in the world for expatriates are in Asia-Pacific, a new survey from Mercer showed, and Bangkok (67) jumped seven places from last year.

With its dollar-pegged economy, Hong Kong remains the most expensive city in the region for workers abroad, second worldwide, according to the 23rd Cost of Living Survey by the health, wealth and career consultancy.

Five of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia.

Hong Kong (2) is the most expensive city as a result of its currency pegged to the US dollar, which drove up the cost of accommodations locally. This global financial center is followed by Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6), and Shanghai (8).

“The strengthening of the Japanese yen along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking,” said Ms. Constantin-Métral.

“However, the majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar.”

Australian cities have all experienced further jumps up the global ranking since last year due to the strengthening of the Australian dollar.

Sydney (25), Australia’s most expensive city for expatriates, gained seventeen places in the ranking along with Melbourne (46) and Perth (50) which went up twenty-five and nineteen spots, respectively.


Bangkok jumped seven places from last year to 67th

Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok (67) jumped seven places from last year. Jakarta (88) and Hanoi (100) also rose in the ranking, up five and six places, respectively. Karachi (201) and Bishkek (208) remain the region’s least expensive cities for expatriates.

India’s most expensive city, Mumbai (57), climbed twenty-five places and is now for the first time ahead of Bangkok for cost of living abroad.

Mercer surveyed the cost of more than 200 items, including housing and household goods, in 209 cities around the world.

Shanghai fell from seventh place to eighth in this year’s ranking, while Beijing, Tianjin and Shenzhen occupies the 11th to 13th notches. “The majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar.

India’s most expensive city, Mumbai (57), climbed twenty-five places in the ranking due to its rapid economic growth, inflation on the goods and services basket and a stable currency against the US Dollar.

This most populous city in India is followed by New Delhi (99) and Chennai (135) which rose in the ranking by thirty-one and twenty-three spots, respectively. Bengaluru (166) and Kolkata (184), the least expensive Indian cities, climbed in the ranking as well.

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

Only three European cities remain in the top 10 list of most expensive cities for expatriates.

Zurich (4) is still the most costly European city on the list, followed by Geneva (7) and Bern (10). Moscow (14) and St. Petersburg (36) surged fifty-three and one hundred and sixteen places from last year respectively, due to the strong appreciation of the ruble against the US dollar and the cost of goods and services.

Meanwhile, London (30), Aberdeen (146) and Birmingham (147) dropped thirteen, sixty-one and fifty-one spots respectively as a result of the pound weakening against the US dollar following the Brexit vote.

Copenhagen (28) fell four places from 24 to 28. Oslo (46) is up thirteen spots from last year, while Paris fell eighteen places to rank 62.

Other Western European cities dropped in the rankings as well, mainly due to the weakening of local currencies against the US dollar. Vienna (78) and Rome (80) fell in the ranking by 24 and 22 spots, respectively. The German cities of Munich (98), Frankfurt (117), and Berlin (120) dropped significantly as did Dusseldorf (122) and Hamburg (125).

“Despite moderate price increases in most of the European cities, European currencies have weakened against the US dollar, which pushed most Western European cities down in the ranking,” explained Ms. Constantin-Métral.

“Additionally, other factors like the Eurozone’s economy have impacted these cities.”

As a result of local currencies depreciating against the US dollar, some cities in Eastern and Central Europe, including Prague (132) and Budapest (176) fell in the ranking, while Minsk (200) and Kiev (163) jumped four and thirteen spots, respectively, despite stable accommodations in these locations.

Ranking 17, Tel Aviv jumped two spots from last year and continues to be the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates followed by Dubai (20), Abu Dhabi (23), and Riyadh (52), which have all climbed in this year’s ranking. Jeddah (117), Muscat (92), and Doha (81) are among the least expensive cities in the region. Cairo (183) is the least expensive city in the region plummeting ninety-two spots from last year following a major devaluation of its local currency.

“Egypt’s decision to allow its currency to float freely in return for a 12 billion dollar loan over three years to help strengthen its economy resulted in the massive devaluation of the Egyptian Pound by more than 100% against the US dollar, pushing Cairo down the ranking” said Ms. Constantin-Métral.”

Quite a few African cities continue to rank high in this year’s survey, reflecting high living costs and prices of goods for expatriate employees. Luanda (1) takes the top spot as the most expensive city for expatriates across Africa and globally despite its currency weakening against the US dollar. Luanda is followed by Victoria (14), Ndjamena (16), and Kinshasa (18). Tunis falls six spots to rank 209 as the least expensive city in the region and overall.

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The Philippines Economic Snapshot 2017 Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:22:31 +0000 After five straight years of robust macroeconomic expansion, the Philippines ranks as one of the best-performing economies in South-east Asia. With rapidly rising domestic consumption, soaring foreign direct investment and a growing services sector, the country is set to record world-leading growth rates in 2017.

Although weakening global and regional demand have weighed on exports, and the agriculture sector remains subdued, prudential fiscal management, falling public debt and legal reforms aimed at improving the investment climate have left the country positioned to tap global debt markets and attract new investment.

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Thai Airways regains three first place Skytrax Awards Thu, 22 Jun 2017 05:02:44 +0000 Thai Airways International (THAI) has received three prestigious awards at the Skytrax 2017 World Airline Awards Ceremony as the World’s Best Economy Class, World’s Best Airline Lounge Spa – for the third consecutive year, and Best Economy Class Onboard Catering. 

The award ceremony was held yesterday at the Paris Air Show, Paris-Le Bourget Airport, France.

In addition, THAI also gained recognition under the categories: one of three airlines with the World’s Best Airport Services 2017 and one of three airlines with the Best Economy Class Airline Seats.

Mrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo (centre), THAI Acting President said,

“THAI and its employees have worked exceptionally hard to make continual developments on our products and services, for the utmost comfort and convenience of its passengers.

We are honoured to receive these three top Skytrax awards in recognition for excellent products and services as a premium, full service carrier, which shows that our standards are amongst the best airlines in the world.”

World Airline Awards are the results of the Skytrax survey that was first launched in 1999 as the first worldwide, annual airline customer satisfaction survey, which is 100 percent independent, impartial, and global.

This year’s Skytrax survey was conducted during August 2016 to May 2017 amongst more than 19.87 million travellers, surveying products and services of over 320 airlines.

Skytrax World Airline Awards are a global benchmark of airline excellence, and described as “the Oscars of the aviation industry.”

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Washington courts Vietnam amid regional tensions Thu, 22 Jun 2017 03:43:49 +0000 Last week, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc travelled to Washington for a four-day summit. The visit is expected to further cement the economic and strategic partnership, considered a prelude to Washington’s more dynamic engagement in the region.

The Trump Administration has shown willingness to discuss a new approach to strengthen and expand bilateral and regional cooperation with Hanoi vis-à-vis the emerging role of Vietnam as a strategic and economic partner as stressed in the U.S.-Vietnam Joint Statement.

The Trump Administration has emphasised Washington’s commitment to significantly foster economic, diplomatic and security ties with the ASEAN community, considered as a critical partner in the shaping of a regional architecture more aligned to Washington’s great strategy and paramount to regional stability and economic growth.

The Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has certainly alimented concerns about Washington’s real intentions to pursue an assertive strategy in the Asia Pacific region.

Yet, the need of forging strong regional relationships within the ASEAN community remains a critical priority for Washington.

The U.S. Commerce Department has confirmed the signing of a comprehensive $8 million package deal with Vietnam that could create more than 23.000 jobs, enhancing economic growth and the employment target promised by the Trump Administration. Boston-based General Electric (GE.N) has successfully set a  $5.58 deal and it will be playing a central role in the expansion of Vietnam’s industrial and energy sector, supplying power generators and aircraft engines.

Moreover, bilateral ties will be enhanced through the joint development of new gas power plants and the creation of a significant 800-megawats in Soc Trang under the supervision of the local Phu Cuong Group.

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Global Risk Insights is a world-leading publication for political risk news and analysis. Our global network of experts provides timely, insightful analysis on political events shaping business, economic, and investment climates in every corner of the world.

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Why Southeast Asia may be the Best Place to Launch Your Startup Thu, 22 Jun 2017 03:29:46 +0000 The flourishing start-up culture is not longer just confined to the Valley or even to the Southeast Asia big, capital cities.

Most entrepreneurs get caught up in Silicon Valley envy and decide to place their startup headquarters there without a second thought.

The Valley certainly remains the mecca of the tech world but it has become extremely noisy and hyper competitive for talent and for most startups.

In fact, more and more investors are flocking to the Southeast Asia region from around to capitalize on the growing entrepreneurial activity and local talent.

In countries like Singapore where the personal income tax rate is one-fifth of that in Silicon Valley and usually less than five percent, it’s easy to get top-notch talent for a lot less cash compared to the Valley.

People think of Thailand as a country of beaches, backpackers, temples, elephants, and full moon parties : pictures that draw millions of tourists to the Southeast Asian nation each year.

But recently Forbes promoted Thailand as Southeast Asia’s Next Fintech Hub

members of Thailand’s fintech community see the country as a place ripe with opportunity for making its mark on the regional–and global–startup scenes as well.

TechGrind, an organization striving to create the next Silicon Valley in Southeast Asia, sees Thailand as a primary hub and launchpad for its companies.

Funding Activity is Rising

Another benefit of launching a startup in Southeast Asia is that it is easier than ever to raise funding for a startup in the region, and only continues to get easier.

In the Tech in Asia article, “Startup funding in Southeast Asia has broken the sound barrier. And that’s for starters”, Terence Lee discusses the rapid increase in overall startup funding in the region in recent years, with more and more companies raising $10 million+ rounds each year.

Big names like Sequoia Capital, DCM, and IDG Ventures have already set up shop in the region, along with all of the major Japanese players.

Recently, the Singapore government announced five more major early-stage VCs arriving in the country and new plans for government matches to their funding.

Extend your runway

These five cities have become hubs for digital  nomads and start-up companies, thanks to a combination of low cost access to talent and strong government support.


The island paradise has been nicknamed “Silicon Bali” for producing several significant start-up successes such as Labster, Mailbird and Smart Launch.

Bali’s popularity with digital nomads has led to start-ups like Roam and Wifly Nomads creating products and services catering to this growing market.

Dojo Bali coworking space in Canggu. Photo : Camilla Davidsson
Dojo Bali coworking space in Canggu. Photo : Camilla Davidsson


This heritage city has charmed its way into the hearts of start-up founders and entrepreneurs, sprouting award-winning companies such as Piktochart.

There is also strong state government support. An accelerator called @CAT for Creative, Analytics & Technology was launched to boost the scene and is housed at a historical building, no less.

Da Nang

Da Nang is quietly building its start-up scene with major investment from companies such as Viettel to turn the city into an “innovation Hub by the Sea”.

Hosted the first Startup Fair 2016 to build the city’s technological capabilities. Anew USS 1.3m incubator has also been set up last year to empower start-ups.


One of Indonesia’s most creative cities, Bandung’s young population and friendly eco-system make it a fertile ground for incubating start-ups.

Under the leadership of the city’s mayor Ridwan Kamil, Bandung is piloting education reforms with a local app, Edu box, and constructing Teknopolis to be a mini version of Silicon Valley.

Chiang Mai

Dubbed “the capital of digital nomads” thanks to its affordability and high quality of life, it is impossible not to mention Chiang Mai, the virtual capital for digital nomads.

Southeast Asia is a top region for digital nomads, known for “affordable lodging, abundant inexpensive food, and a sense of adventure…,” according to Nomad Capitalist.

The city has steadily grown in clout worldwide with brands such as BBC and Amazon holding events at homegrown popular co-working spot PunSpace.

Oon IT Valley, an innovation centre to promote social enterprises and information technology know-how projects, is in the works.

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Malaysia Startup Ecosystem Tour Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:25:28 +0000 In recent years, the Government of Malaysia has been taking proactive steps to build a strong infrastructure for the Malaysian entrepreneurship scene.

The development of a strong and sustainable startup ecosystem is considered to be a key economic driver for the nation to remain competitive in the global landscape.

MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre) was launched on the 27th of April 2014 by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

Since the birth of MaGIC, there has been a significant number of entrepreneurs benefiting from the programs and initiatives offered by the Centre. 

Startup Commons was invited to host a workshop at MaGIC on building digitally connected and data-driven startup ecosystem.

The workshop supported the mission to catalyze the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Malaysia by introducing key stakeholders of ecosystem development to the framework targeting various activities and measuring the impact of these activities, and also providing better understanding of the relations between different areas.

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