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Why Reconciliation Fails in Thailand ?

Thailand’s problem is that those who keep winning elections are not allowed to rule, whereas others who ultimately call the shots cannot win elections. [Thanks to Bangkok Pundit for pointing me to Thitinan’s op-ed]

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After some time on vacation, I have returned to find that Thai politics, which almost couldn’t get worse, actually has. Last month, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, in my opinion the most astute observer of Thai politics, captured the fundamental tension in Thailand today in an op-ed:

Thailand’s problem is that those who keep winning elections are not allowed to rule, whereas others who ultimately call the shots cannot win elections. [Thanks to Bangkok Pundit for pointing me to Thitinan’s op-ed]

Thailand middle classes are becoming increasingly skeptical of the benefits of democratization

That, in a nutshell, is Thailand’s dilemma, one shared by many middle-income developing nations where middle classes are becoming increasingly skeptical of the benefits of democratization, as I discuss in my forthcoming book The Decline of Democracy (Yale University Press).

via Asia Unbound » Thailand: Reconciliation Fails.

Environment

Expedia and Accor join UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge

Expedia Group, a mega booking platform, and the global hotel company Accor are joining forces to extend their commitment to the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge.

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Expedia Group, the global travel platform and Accor, a world leading hospitality group, in conjunction with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), are joining forces to further extend the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge (hereinafter also “The Pledge”).

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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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Economics

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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