Thai govt to boost e-commerce economy

Young people surf Internet on their phones in Tao Dan Park in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Shutterstock/Anh Huy. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Aug 31, 2021, Bangkok Post. The cabinet on Monday gave the go-ahead to the national e-commerce development action plan phase I, which spans 2021-2022 and aims to boost e-commerce revenue to more than 5.35 trillion baht next year, Bangkok Post reported.

Rachada Dhnadirek, a deputy government spokeswoman, said the Commerce Ministry’s action plan will play a vital role in driving Thailand’s digital economy and trade.

Under the first phase of the action plan (2021-2022), the government aims to raise e-commerce revenue to 5.35 trillion baht next year, up from 4.03 trillion baht in 2019; increase the e-commerce revenues of small and medium-sized enterprises by at least 5% a year and outbound cross-border e-commerce revenue by at least 5% a year during 2021 and 2022.

The plan also aims to link e-commerce information between the government and private sectors and increase the efficiency of the country’s Big Data and the registration of e-commerce operators through the Department of Business Development of no fewer than 10,000 a year.

Malika Boonmeetrakool Mahasook, an adviser to the commerce minister, said the action plan would help support the economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

It will promote the working integration among 20 state agencies, eight ministries and the private sectors.

The plan will promote the strength of Thai platforms and reduce the dependence on foreign platforms. It will also increase opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs to expand marketing channels both domestically and internationally.

Nantapong Chiralerspong, deputy director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said the action plan will focus on four strategies: to increase the competitiveness of Thai e-commerce platforms and to improve laws and tax measures for fair trade competition; to develop the ecosystem and enabling factors to support ICT, financial and logistic infrastructure; to build trust in e-commerce; and to develop Thai entrepreneurs to be able to take advantage of e-commerce.

In a related development, the cabinet on Monday directed the Commerce Ministry to sound out the opinions of related agencies to improve laws related to e-commerce, facilitate tax collections, and upgrade product standard regulations.

In addition, the Commerce Ministry was tasked with developing consumer protection and remedies to build consumers’ confidence in e-commerce.

The e-Conomy SEA 2020 report, jointly commissioned by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, projected Thailand’s overall internet economy to hit US$53 billion in 2025, a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% from an estimated $18 billion in 2020, driven by e-commerce and online travel segments.

Thailand is projected to have the second-largest internet economy in the region this year after Indonesia, despite economic challenges.

The report predicted Thailand would see explosive growth in the e-commerce sector in 2020 with an estimated 81% rise in value to $9 billion.

The e-commerce market was projected to have a 21% CAGR from 2020 to $24 billion in 2025.

The report indicated that 30% of all digital service consumers in Thailand were new to the service because of the pandemic. Some 95% of them were likely to continue their online behaviour post-pandemic.

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