McKinsey Forum Urges Thailand To Speed Up Digitalization

Source: McKinsey

Speakers during the “Digitising Thailand’s Economy” forum held in Bangkok by McKinsey have called for a regulatory framework in order to speed up the country’s digital growth reports The Nation.

A proper regulatory framework, human-capital reform and private-public collaboration are needed to transform Thailand into a digital ecosystem for future economic growth. Although Thailand is an early adopter of digitization, it has been very slow in terms of investment and management.

According to Tomas Koch, Senior Partner at McKinsey, Thai businesses should be digitally disrupted in order to shift towards more agile performance.

Greg Theisen, fellow Senior Partner and Leader of McKinsey’s ‘Digital Asia’ practice comments,

Thailand falls behind Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia when it comes to ecommerce purchases, with only 22% of households shopping through ecommerce this year.

According to a survey by McKinsey, 30-40% of top business players could be replaced by digital disruption across all sectors in Thailand within the next five years. Companies in telecommunications, retail, financial services, media, healthcare and energy companies should invest more on digital adoption. To combat these challenges, companies are encouraged to integrate new and old operations, and invest in talent development.

The Minister of Commerce has also asked the Board of Investment to create schemes to attract foreign investment into the country in order to help boost economic growth.

“Human-capital reform is another national priority, with the aim of transforming people to ‘Thai Citizen 4.0’.”

For example, Thai farmers should be transformed into smart farmers while unskilled laborers should be made knowledge workers instead.

The government and various banks have been rolling out schemes to help empower the growth and potential of startups and SMEs, most recently with CIMB’s fintech initiative to expand SME customer base and Krungthai Bank’s soft loan offering to small businesses.

Despite the surge in Thailand’s fintech ecosystem, the country is also in need of other digital businesses such as property tech and education tech according to Krating Poonpol, Venture Partner at 500 Startups.

The biggest job now is to move from initial ideas discussed at the forum to execution.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 9. Read the full version here.

Sigve Brekke, Head of Asian Operations at Telenor Group with DTAC CEO Lars Norling Source:

Sigve Brekke, Head of Asian Operations at Telenor Group with Dtac CEO Lars Norling, Source:

Thailand’s most popular mobile carriers, Dtac and AIS are pushing new data driven initiatives as data has surpassed traditional voice services as their key revenue mainstay. As Southeast Asia becomes more inherently focused on using internet on mobile, demands for data bundle deals will surge.

“Today we are experiencing a big, important shift from voice to data and digital,” CEO of Dtac Lars Norling told the press conference

The shift from voice to data and digital means mobile carriers shifting marketing strategies as heavy data users will be loyal to companies that provide them with the best deals. This explains why Dtac partners with YouTube to offer unlimited streaming in one of its packages.

Advanced Info Service (AIS), Thailand’s largest mobile carrier, also follows suit with a new prepaid sim card that offers 500MB a month of free internet access and 2GB of Youtube viewing.

AIS data revenue increased 21% in Q1 of ths year while voice revenue dropped 17%.

The big mobile carrier players have the capacity to expand, but with stocks down by more than 30 percent from 2015, it will be difficult to convince investors that their growth in a data driven market is viable.

Thai smartphone owners really care about data

The surging importance of data demand for mobile carriers signify the rising mobile consumer trend in Thailand, and the rest of the Southeast Asian region. As consumers look for more data heavy deals, it creates more opportunities for mobile commerce and mobile focused campaigns by agencies.

A version of this appeared in Nikkei Asia on June 21. Read the full article here.