IBM positions Thailand as hub for Indochina expansion

Local executives of iconic American computer company IBM said last week that Thailand will serve as the firm’s hub for expanding into Indochina as they believe the subregion offers the potential for high growth and increasing revenues over the next three years.

“We are studying how to enter the Indochina market in various areas including as business partners, and under a business model with consideration to regulations and laws for investment,” said Patama Chataruck, managing director IBM Thailand. “Meanwhile, Thailand still has high potential.”

Known as Big Blue because of the color of its logo, International Business Machines (IBM) was once the world’s leading computer manufacturer, but sold its personal computer business to Lenovo of China in 2005. It still manufactures super-computers, other hardware and has devoted tremendous resources to becoming a leader in solutions and software.

The company also owns subsidiaries in other sectors such as health care and real estate.

As part of its entry into Indochina, IBM will work with educational institutions in those countries to help train workers for what it calls P-collar jobs – jobs requiring expertise in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The company will assist in developing STEM course materials covering six years of education levels for schools in Indochinese countries.

Although the IBM operates in 170 countries around the world, Indochina has been off its map for the most part. Indochina is composed of Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.

“The firm expects to enter Cambodia as the first country next year, followed by Laos. We will go to the Indochina market with business partners,’’ Patama said.

She added that she believes Indochina could provide 5 to 10 percent of IBM Thailand’s revenues within three years. The growth potential for those countries is strong, she said, although IBM is still expanding its business in Thailand and the Thai office will oversee the Indochina operations.

For Indochina, the firm will provide solutions that focus on agriculture, banking and finance, government and energy, and healthcare, Patama said.
The products IBM will offer will include those based on artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things, hybrid cloud, and security.

The needs of the market will determine which products and services the company makes available, she said.