U.S. software firm Red Hat supporting Thai digital shift

redhat1North Carolina-based Red Hat Incorporated, the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, opened an office in Thailand last week with the goal of helping to lift Thai businesses into the forefront of the digital era, in line with the national policy known as Thailand 4.0.

“Open source solutions are foundational in supporting a company’s drive toward digital transformation and adapting to digital disruption,” said Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive of Red Hat Inc.

Red Hat was founded in 1994 and went public in 1999. In 2012, Red Hat became the first $1 billion dollar open source company, reaching US$1.13 billion in annual revenue during its fiscal year. Its office in Thailand is its fourth in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), previously having set up shop in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The company also has a subsidiary in India, where it has helped that nation’s emergence as an information technology powerhouse. Whitehurst said several governments such as India’s have embraced an open source-first policy to boost innovation for state mega-projects and cut costs.

Thailand is aspiring to carve out its own path towards becoming a hub of technology and innovation with its new national policy Thailand 4.0, a 20-year program to support a transition towards an economy and society that relies on creativity, new ideas, research and development and higher technology as sources of growth and advancement.

Damien Wong, vice-president of Red Hat ASEAN, said the company has expanded its portfolio to include emerging products such as cloud management software, infrastructure management, virtualization, storage and middleware. He expects this will widen market opportunity to $67 billion in 2018, up from $8 billion in 2005.

“Red Hat, the Linux operating system company, pioneered the original open source business model. Red Hat gives away open source software for free but charges a support fee to those customers who rely on Red Hat for maintenance, support, and installation,” wrote Peter Levine, a lecturer at both MIT and Stanford business schools on the Techcrunch website.

“Red Hat is a fantastic company, and a pioneer in successfully commercializing open source. However, beyond Red Hat there are no other public standalone companies that have been able to offer an alternative to their proprietary counterpart,” Levine wrote.

Richard Koh, Red Hat’s country manager for Singapore and Thailand, said the company is raising awareness of the benefits of open source software among enterprise customers in the region, especially in the telecom, financial and government sectors.