Digital push to hit B2.5tn a year by 2030

Thailand's digital transformation could generate up to 2.5 trillion baht in annual economic value by 2030, equivalent to 16% of GDP in 2020, according to a report commissioned by Google.

The report, entitled “Unlocking Thailand’s Digital Potential”, estimates that a substantial 65% of Thailand’s digital opportunity — potentially amounting to 1.6 trillion baht — could be driven by technology applications that help businesses mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Citing the report, Genevieve Lim, principal of consulting firm AlphaBeta, said 40 digital tech applications across 10 industrial sectors would be a boon for the country’s economic opportunity.

They include data analytics, big data, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, Internet of Things-enabled inventory management, smart grids and predictive technology.

Consumer, retail, hospitality, manufacturing and government sectors would also potentially benefit from digital technologies.

Bangkok and its vicinities are expected to catch 40% of the digital opportunity by 2030, suggesting a geographic digital divide that is important to bridge, Ms Lim said.

Digital transformation will be important to boost resilience in the post-pandemic period, she said. For example, the use of e-commerce platforms will be crucial in helping the export sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

The digital adoption rate of businesses in Thailand remains low because of the lack of digital skills, technological know-how, a dearth of tech graduates and the perceived high cost of investing in technology infrastructure such as 5G networks, said the report.

The report pointed out three main pillars of action that could be adopted to leverage digital opportunities. They cover lowering barriers to digital adoption, enhancing digital skills training and education, and developing a conducive environment for digital trade.

The two main barriers to digital transformation are a digital talent gap and slow adoption of digital solutions by businesses.

Jackie Wang, country director of Google Thailand, said the last two years have been particularly hard for Thailand with the pandemic, but it is heartening to see Thais adjusting to the unprecedented changes and seizing new opportunities by adopting digital tools and technologies.

According to the latest “e-Conomy SEA 2021” report by Google, Temasek and Bain, Asean is expected to see a US$1 trillion digital economy by 2030.

Propelled by the growth of e-commerce, Thailand’s digital economy is expected to be worth $30 billion in 2021, a crucial increase of 51% year-on-year.

This report indicated 34% of digital merchants in Thailand surveyed agreed they would not have survived the pandemic if not for online sales.

Businesses and consumers in Thailand are estimated to derive total annual economic benefits from Google’s products worth 145 billion baht and 379 billion, respectively, according to AlphaBeta.

The use of Google tools, such as Google Ads, AdSense, and YouTube, indirectly supports more than 63,000 jobs in Thailand, while the Android operating system supports more than 58,000 jobs in the country’s economy, said the report.

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