Thai companies lead the region in tech investments

Thai companies are leading their counterparts across Southeast Asia when it comes to prioritizing investments in technology, according to a survey by United Overseas Bank (UOB) that found small businesses are counting on technology to help them navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two out of three small businesses in the region said that investments in technology would be their top investment this year, according to the ASEAN SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) Transformation Study 2020. ASEAN is the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Thailand is one of the founding members.

The Kingdom exceeded the regional average, finishing first with 71 percent of Thai small businesses naming technology as their number one investment. Investing in digital technology to increase competitiveness and innovation is a component of Thailand’s 20-year national strategy for economic and social advancement called Thailand 4.0.

Thailand was followed by Indonesia, where 65 percent of small businesses are prioritizing tech investment, then Vietnam at 63 percent, Singapore at 60 percent, and Malaysia with 59 percent.

The authors of the study said the Covid-19 pandemic is a factor in companies choosing to invest in technology.

“Having had to cope with the disruption to their operations as a result of Covid-19, many of these firms realized quickly that technology can make all the difference to their business,” said Lawrence Loh, Head of Group Business Banking at UOB.

“Whether in revising their business models or even transforming their operations, small businesses are responding to the changes brought about by the pandemic by turning to technology to ensure their long-term viability and competitiveness,” Loh said.

The study found that beyond technology, ASEAN small businesses are keen on investing in developing their employees’ skills and machinery or equipment.

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