Facebook and Google seeking data centers in Thailand
The Telecommunications Association of Thailand is proposing that the government provide incentives to Facebook and Google to clinch agreements for the two Internet giants to invest in establishing data centers in the Kingdom. Both firms have already expressed interest in opening centers in Thailand, but have been asking for privileges before committing to investments.
An association executive said that the investments would not only help Thailand in terms of revenue and reputation, but also improve price and connectivity for the Kingdom’s Internet users, especially social media users. Internet traffic now run through data centers in Malaysia and Singapore, driving up costs for Thai users about 60 percent of whom regularly use social media.
“All mobile network operators in Thailand, including AIS, DTAC and True, have been discussing with the world’s top social network and information providers for a while about setting up data centers in Thailand,” said Atip Asvanund, secretary-general of the Telecommunications Association of Thailand (TCT).
“They are interested but they would like the government to promote such investment and provide attractive incentives. If we can make this happen, it will hugely help improve the country’s digital economy and increase the employment rates,” he said.
Atip said that representatives from his organization and Facebook have been working together to draft a proposal and that it would be submitted to the government for consideration soon. Facebook is set to open an office in Bangkok next month. The government should consider promoting investment in international information networks or international gateways, as that could make Thailand become the Internet hub of the region.
In the social media competition in Thailand, Facebook is in the lead with 30 million subscribers, followed by YouTube at 26.2 million subscribers and Twitter and Instagram at 4.5 million and 1.7 million, respectively. According to the Digital Advertising Association of Thailand, 19.8 million Thais log in to Facebook every day.
Out of a population of 67.9 million people, 35 million Thais are computer-based Internet users, while 44.6 million are mobile Internet users. The groups overlap.
Both Facebook and YouTube have a roughly even split between Thai male and female users, but female users dominate Instagram at 65 percent of all users. A full 63 percent of all Thai Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
In 2013, Bangkok was ranked as the number one city for Facebook users in the world, because 8 million people out of its population of 10 million people had Facebook accounts.
Thailand Focus September 8, 2015
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