Bangkok now GM regional nexus; Spotify in Thailand

Big Three carmaker General Motors appointed a regional president based in Bangkok to make the Thai capital its nexus for integrating its businesses across Southeast Asia, while Spotify, the popular and successful United States-based online music streaming service, expanded its global footprint to include Thailand last week.

General Motors announced that it will create a fully integrated business structure across Southeast Asia to propel sales of Chevrolet vehicles, better serve its customers and increase profitability. Thailand will be the lynchpin for this regional structure and its new regional president, Ian Nicholls, will be based in Bangkok beginning in September.

“With one regional leader instead of four managing directors, and a brand new leadership team, Ian will implement a leaner structure that is highly focused on the business and spans Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and distributor markets under one strategic regional vision,” said Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president at General Motors (GM).

GM’s assembly plant in Rayong manufactures several types of vehicles including sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks for export around the region and beyond. The Chevrolet Colorado and Trailblazer are among its strongest sellers in the regional market.

Nicholls said that GM’s new structure would allow it to focus more on innovation, something that Thai policymakers are anxious to nurture as they retool the Kingdom’s economy towards a higher technology future.

Spotify, with Thailand on board, is now available in 61 markets worldwide. The company has been refocusing on expanding across Asia. It had entered the continent in 2013 in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, then paused until last year when it became available in Indonesia and Japan.  The company claims 60 million paying users around the world.

Spotify is available in Thailand for just over $4 a month, which it says is in line with its price points in Asia, but is significantly cheaper than what consumers pay for it in the United States and Europe. The company said it would also offer daily and weekly packages in Thailand.

Analysts said that building up its presence in Asia is a prelude to Spotify publicly listing in the near future, although they said it would most likely be through a direct listing, which is considered unorthodox and would not garner anywhere near as much money as an initial public offering, or IPO. The company could still do an IPO later on to reap even more funds.

Spotify competes with Apple Music, which is already available in Thailand. Although Apple Music currently rules the roost in the Kingdom, worldwide it only has 27 million subscribers, which is far behind the 60 million subscribers to Spotify.