Google seeks to drive Thailand’s digital development

As part and parcel of growing its business in Thailand, United States technology giant Google committed last week to help drive the Kingdom’s digital evolution, a goal in line with the government’s 20-year national strategy called Thailand 4.0.

Google will support Thailand’s digital development by focusing the company’s efforts on increasing affordable access to the internet, localizing content, supporting education, and assisting small businesses, said Ben King, Google’s Thailand country director. He said that Google’s role is to make information accessible and affordable.

“We share these themes a lot over time – digital access and digital opportunity – but in terms of accessing information that grows businesses, develops revenue streams, makes a better life, this is one of the key themes Google has been driving over the past several years,” King added.

Google has been working with government agencies and launching its own initiatives to increase Thai people’s digital skills and abilities. The company recently worked with the Ministry of Digital Economy to train 3,000 community managers over four to five months, so they are digitally literate. Google developed the curriculum.

Also, Google said it plans to open a venture called Academy Bangkok to train professionals in a variety of industries in digital skills. The company has been piloting this type of training for the past few months. Lack of digital skills constrains professionals from recognizing, seizing and maximizing opportunities in their fields, King said.

“It is the biggest roadblock that businesses have faced. We have tried out a pilot program over the last eight months, to take great talents from universities and connect them with jobs in the top tiers of big business in the country,” King said.
“Now, we’re thinking about expanding this dramatically. We will get space and develop it as Academy Bangkok, which would be launched in October or November,” he added.

King said that Thais are avid users of Google’s seven major products: Google Map, Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android and Google Play.

Thailand has 2.7 to 3 million small and medium-size businesses, King said, and they will be among Google’s priorities. The tech giant intends to help them digitize their businesses, so they have the right digital properties, presence, and information online to have an impact on their markets.

“When somebody searches for products and services we want to make sure the business is discovered,” King said.