State energy firm branching out into AI and cloud storage.

Thailand’s partially privatized energy conglomerate PTT Group will diversify into a wide range of industries including cloud storage, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) as it strives for sustainability in a changing environment.

PTT’s plans to branch out into new and advanced industries do not reflect any concerns over the company’s bottom line during the next several years. Auttapol Rerkpiboon, PTT President and CEO, said that once the pandemic has passed, he believed global economic growth would accelerate, and demand for oil, which cratered last year, would return to normal.

But as the world is transitioning to renewables and alternative sources of energy, it makes business sense to diversify into areas where the group’s technology and engineering strengths can be employed. Doing so would ensure long-term growth and business sustainability.

Auttapol added that the conglomerate was planning to seek new opportunities in cloud storage and the container transport businesses. Both would meet the growth in digital demand and the needs of businesses in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) advanced development zone, and also emerging industries such as electric vehicles (EVs).

The group has already founded AI and Robotics Venture Company, owned by its subsidiary PTT Exploration and Production. Auttapol said that commercial production of its products and services will start this year.

PTT is also diversifying into the health industry. It recently established Innobic Asia Company, a PTT subsidiary in pharmacy, medical equipment and nutrition.  Auttapol said Innobic would start recruiting staff and drafting a long-term business plan within this year.

PTT forged a partnership with Microsoft (Thailand) a few months ago to conduct a feasibility study on a public cloud storage service to tap into the big data analytics trend. And it has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-run Port Authority of Thailand to study ways to upgrade container transportation service at Laem Chabang deep-sea port.

“Logistics and infrastructure development will see a boom in the post-pandemic period because a lot of firms will come to invest in the EEC,” said Auttapol.


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