Parliament wants stronger support for startups


Thai lawmakers said they would press government agencies to do more to support the country’s startups so they will have the tools needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Thailand has produced several innovative startups in a range of fields including fintech, or financial technologies. Still, the country has yet to produce a unicorn – a startup worth at least $1 billion. Nonetheless, the startup scene continues to grow.

“Over the past six years, Thailand’s startup ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds,” the Techcrunch website recently wrote. The site added that the number of venture capitalists and corporations investing in Thai startups has grown from one to over 100 during the past seven years.

Pakornwut Udompipatskul, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Communications, Telecommunications and Digital Economy and Society, said lawmakers would urge the National Innovation Agency (NIA) and several other government bodies to take more actions to help Thai startups thrive.

He made the vow after meeting with representatives of the Thai Tech Startup Association. They told the committee that parliament should amend laws and policies so Thai startups have the same support as startups in other countries and foreign startups operating in Thailand.

“All major unicorns from Indonesia are local startups, such as Tokopedia and GoJek,” said Panachit Kittipanya-ngam, President of the Association.

The Indonesia approach ensures data sovereignty and fair tax collection. For example, only local startups are allowed to have access to the government’s transport data. Thai startups should have similar advantages, the association said.

Furthermore, the association said the government should give Thai startups more favorable tax treatment, as they are competing against foreign startups in Thailand that are not paying any taxes in Thailand. That allows those international startups to use the money saved on taxes to fund further business development.

Photo courtesy of https://www.depa.or.th/en/startup-institute

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