Thai shoppers, rejoice – popular Japanese chat app Line, which has 24 million registered users in the Land of Smiles, just rolled out a standalone ecommerce app specifically for its fans in Thailand. The move follows the company’s release of a similar app for Japan last March. We took that app for a test drive but couldn’t really get more than a superficial understanding of what it was about due to this writer’s inability to read Japanese. Luckily, however, Thailand’s Line Shop is partially in English, so it’s time to jump iTunes’ fence again and go for a spin.
Chinese telecom operator China Mobile announced that the company plans to acquire a 18% stake in True, one of the three major telecom carriers in Thailand, for about CNY5.5 billion. On the completion of the transaction, the two parties will implement cooperation in various sectors, including technology and network construction, procurement sharing, and market development. However, since the deal involves state-owned asset and listed company, it is still subject to the approval of regulatory authorities in Thailand.
True Corp – a holding company of TrueMove, one of the main telcos in Thailand – has announced an alliance with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941) through a private placement of approximately 28,600 million baht (US$882 million). The amount is equivalent to China Mobile taking 18 percent of True’s total shares. The news was first mentioned earlier today by Reuters as True Corp shares were suspended earlier on in the day pending the announcement. The news was confirmed by True moments ago.
Remember the panic in Thailand on the afternoon of May 28 when Facebook was inaccessible for most people in the country? It came less than a week after the military coup that ousted the Prime Minister, and it left many Thai netizens concerned that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) could be blocked for the duration of the coup.
2C2P, a Bangkok-based online payment processing company, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from GMO Global Payment Fund, a sister company of GMO Payment Gateway, which also invested US$500,000 into the startup late last year. This investment aligns with the GMO Payment Gateway’s latest move to partner 2C2P as it expands into Thailand. Ryu Muramatsu, director and founding partner of GMO Venture Partners, explained the reasoning behind the latest round to Tech in Asia:
Today, GMO Internet Group‘s online payment service provider, GMO Payment Gateway Inc. (TSE1:3769), has announced the Thai launch of its global payment processing service, GMO-PG Global Payment, in partnership with regional epayment gateway, 2C2P. This marks the fifth overseas entity for the Japan-based company after Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.
Back in March, Thailand had roughly 24 million Facebook users and 1.5 million Instagram users. Twitter saw 35 percent user growth and 45 percent more use per user in 2013 compared to 2012 in Thailand. The number has grown significantly since then. Earlier this week at the Thailand Zocial Awards in Bangkok, some interesting numbers were presented. Zocial Inc, the company behind ZocialRank, which monitors social media trends in the country, hosted the event.
It’s been a little over a week since the military took over Thailand. Under the pretext of maintaining peace in the country (after more than half a year of intense political instability), the junta has not only censored old media but also found ways to filter online content. That could soon extend deeper into censorship of social media. According to Post Today, Thailand’s IT ministry plans to send a government representative to Singapore to talk to Facebook and Google, and another team to Japan to talk to NHN, the company behind the popular messaging app Line.
Isuzu Ung Nguan Tai Group has invested Bt18 million to transform its working processes into cloud computing technology. This will allow its 800 employees in 15 branches in Bangkok and nearby provinces to work seamlessly anywhere at any time on any device. The group’s assistant managing director, Thantip Leevutinun, said the company had been undertaking the transformation for a year. The project was spurred on by a number of problems the firm had encountered, including floods and political protests.
Thailand has been under martial law since May 20th and under a military coup since last Thursday. To keep the situation under control, the military junta has already ordered over 100 websites to be blocked in the kingdom of Thailand since the army seized power. According to Dailynews, Thailand’s ministry of ICT has shut down over 100 URLs deemed a “threat” to the country since the coup was annouced.
A massive Office 365 deployment in Thailand schools that Microsoft initially described as free on Wednesday may not be so. Microsoft trumpeted the rollout, which will reach about 8 million students and 400,000 teachers in the Asian country, as the largest to date for Office 365 in the education sector. In the first sentence of the press release, Microsoft stated that the students and teachers under the jurisdiction of Thailand’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) would get “free access” to the cloud email and collaboration suite.
At 10:30am local time this morning, representatives of Thailand’s internet service providers were summoned to meet with the leaders of the military coup, which came into effect yesterday. It’s part of a day of meetings organized by the military junta, which has dubbed itself the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council, that includes discussions with Thailand’s ousted prime minister.
Each of Thailand’s eight million primary and secondary school students as well as those schools’ 400,000 teachers will soon have access to Microsoft Office 365 for Education. A press statement by Microsoft (Thailand) Ltd. said this development is the result of a memorandum of agreement signed between the Thai government’s Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and their vendor firm.
The kingdom of Thailand is under martial law. This is, according to the army, to stop the ongoing political unrest and bring the country back to peace. Although people can continue their lives as per usual for the most part, there are some things that the people of Thailand should know.
Today, Google finally launched a Thai version of YouTube under a new local domain: YouTube.co.th. According to Tom Pickett, YouTube’s VP of content, this launch is long overdue as the numbers of YouTube viewers in Thailand is very high. There are over hundred of hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute globally. 40 percent come from mobile. Asia leads in term of viewers, while one third of Thai viewers come from mobile devices.
China’s leading search engine, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), is not getting any Thai hospitality right now. A number of Thai netizens are not happy that certain computer stores have pre-installed Baidu’s Antivirus software onto their Windows machines, which are later sold to customers. The program, in turn, installs the Hao123 toolbar – created by Baidu – onto the web browser.
Congratulations to the people of Thailand – you can now get 4G service from another telco. This time it’s Dtac. Dtac is the second company in Thailand to start 4G, after TruemoveH kicked off its 4G service last year. Back in February, Dtac revealed its plan to start its 4G rollout by June of this year. Apparently, the timeline has been moved up as Dtac customers can start connecting to the new 4G network – under the 2100 MHz frequency – starting today.
Yesterday, an earthquake with magnitude 6.0 occurred near Chiang Rai, the northernmost city in Thailand. The quake resulted in one person being killed and many injured. This took people in Thailand by surprise as the country doesn’t normally get shaken by quakes. However, all three main telcos assured customers that cell service in the affected areas still works and people should still be able to get in touch with their relatives.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Reports emerged yesterday suggesting that Hon Hai Precision Industry (鴻海精密) and Japan’s SoftBank are among the list of likely candidates vying to acquire languishing Asia Pacific Telecom (APT, 亞太電信). According to local reports, Hon Hai intends to expend as much as NT$10 billion to acquire a 22-percent stake in APT from state-run companies and affiliates
Following last year’s investment in Thailand-based Priceza, CyberAgent Ventures, Inc. has established a new office in Bangkok. The Japanese VC firm has already invested in 23 companies across Southeast Asia and has offices in Tokyo, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Seoul, Taipei, and Jakarta. CyberAgent Ventures’ Bangkok office will be led by Nguyen Manh Dung who is also in-charge of the Vietnam office.