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Thailand to supply 15 million e-passports to its citizens

By bringing superior standards of technology and enhancing local technical expertise, Thales aligns closely with the Government’s ‘Thailand 4.0’ initiative which aims to drive Thailand towards an innovation and value-based economy.

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he Ministry Of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Thailand awarded the DGM Consortium which includes Gemalto, a member of Thales Group, the contract to supply 15 million e-passports to its citizens over the next seven years.

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In 2018, the Thai Government launched ‘Thailand 4.0’ with a vision to develop Thailand into an innovative, dynamic and value-driven economy.

With this in mind, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Thailand will provide 15 million technically-advanced, high-security e-passports to Thai citizens thanks to the DGM Consortium, which includes Gemalto, a Thales Company, Data Products Toppan Forms Ltd., and MultiCert.

The Thai E-passport project is the largest passport project contracted for the Group in 2019.

Thai citizens can look forward to a newly-designed 64-page biometric travel document which includes an e-Cover with a thin, flexible datapage made of polycarbonate as well as a window containing a second image of the citizen and a true colour UV photo.

High standards of security

These security features ensure that the document complies with the highest standards of security recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Thai citizens will benefit from the highest level of performance of the secure embedded software for fast border crossing. Furthermore the DGM Consortium will also implement a highly secure end-to-end electronic passport system that will also strictly comply to the Personal Data Protection Act of Thailand.

 This contract is one of the largest passport programmes for the Thales Group worldwide, and supports Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in creating a technically-advanced, high-security travel document for its citizens.

By bringing superior standards of technology and enhancing local technical expertise, Thales aligns closely with the Government’s ‘Thailand 4.0’ initiative which aims to drive Thailand towards an innovation and value-based economy.

The current passport production capacity will increase significantly, as two active high security production sites – a Remote and a Main facility – will be established as part of the project to ensure business continuity and security for passport issuance.

By providing continuous training and transfer-of-technology to develop local expertise in passport issuance, Thales is leveraging its global technological expertise to upskill the Thai workforce as it moves towards a digital future.

Beyond a newly-designed passport, Thai citizens will benefit from greater efficiency in registering for their passports as the project will upgrade citizen-facing enrolment operations in 22 existing managed sites throughout Thailand, as well as include an expansion plan to establish 15 new sites throughout the country, offering more service points for Thai citizens to obtain their travel documents.

As a committed partner to Thailand for more than 30 years in industry sectors ranging from defence to air traffic management and to ground transportation, Thales aligns with this vision by now bringing its technology expertise in the digital identity and biometrics sector, making us a trusted partner to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs as they deliver a highly-secured and modern passport for their citizens.

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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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Facebook

Facebook unplugs Thai military propaganda

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Facebook said it deleted accounts intended for targeted audiences in the southern provinces of Thailand, where Muslim insurgent groups fight with the Thai military.

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Ecommerce

Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Covid-19 led to a slowdown in BRI projects
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative 

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Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.

Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.

By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.

However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.

In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.

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