Microsoft chief sees strong potential in Thailand



Thailand’s future as a digital economy received strong support on several fronts last week as the chief executive officer of Microsoft Corporation said the Kingdom has an impressive corps of information technology (IT) developers and is a main driver of growth for his company in the Asia-Pacific region.

Satya Nadella, who became the CEO of Microsoft in 2014, made the comments on his first visit to Bangkok during which he was pitching his company’s new computing paradigm and Windows and cloud platforms as the best homes for Thai developers to build their software.

“Thailand has a strong foundation of outstanding IT developers,” Nadella said. “With Thailand’s population of 65 million, the Kingdom can use breakthrough technologies to increase skills and productivity in enterprises as well as improve the country’s education system.”

His vision was in synch with that of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who opened the Digital Thailand 2016 technology fair by vowing to oversee Thailand’s transformation to a more technology-based, innovative economy, even though he admitted he has little patience for the new communications technologies, despite carrying four smart phones.

The Information and Communications Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana, announced that the government will launch three strategic digital initiatives by the end of this year to nurture the development of “Thailand 4.0”, which he described as a sustainable, value-driven economy based on knowledge and innovation.

“The government sector can play a crucial role in building an environment and regulations related to the development of the economy and businesses in order to drive the country towards the digital era,” Uttama said.

The three initiatives the government will focus on are building digital communities, establishing digital parks for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and creating digital innovative start-up networks.

To facilitate the transformation, Uttama said seven laws to support the development of a digital economy will be submitted to the legislature by the end of this year.

The private sector is also playing a role. Thailand’s True Corporation announced last week that it will partner with global technology firm IBM Corporation to jointly establish what it calls Asia’s first development center for innovations on digital platforms.

“We want to be part of the government’s efforts to help Thailand become a digital infrastructure hub in Southeast Asia,” said Suphachai Chearavanont, chief executive of True Corporation.

The joint venture will be called True/IBM Innovation Studio @Bangkok and will help new businesses, start-ups and all enterprises using digital technologies to increase their competitiveness.