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Internet access in Thailand to reach 50%

The number of internet users in Thailand will reach 35 million this year or half the population, says the information and communication technology (ICT) minister.

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The number of internet users in Thailand will reach 35 million this year or half the population, says the information and communication technology (ICT) minister.

Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap said the figure marks an increase from 26.5 million users or 37.9% of the population last year and 9 million 12.9% in 2011.

The Thai government is gearing up to expand free WiFi coverage

The Thai government is gearing up to expand free WiFi coverage in order to narrow the digital divide.

Gp Capt Anudith credited the rise to the availability of third-generation (3G) commercial service, cheaper smart devices, a greater variety of mobile applications and free public WiFi.

While the penetration rate for fixed-line internet remains low at 10% of the population, the penetration rate for mobile devices is 136%.

“This reflects a greater opportunity for mobile internet expansion,” said Gp Capt Anudith.

 

The ICT Ministry in conjunction with state enterprises and private telecom operators currently provides 140,000 free WiFi access points in 30,000 locations

The ministry plans to add a further 150,000 access points next year under a 950-million-baht budget sponsored by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

Gp Capt Anudith said Thailand’s telecommunications infrastructure covers 87% of the population

Read the full report here: Half of Thais now on the internet | Bangkok Post: news.

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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