As Indonesia’s startup scene becomes more vibrant, new venture capital funds are popping up in Jakarta. Convergence Accel, the archipelago’s latest homegrown fund for early-stage startups, made its debut yesterday when it contributed to a US$1 million investment in Female Daily Network; a round led by local venture investor Ideosource.
Massachusetts-based EMC Corporation, the world’s largest information management firm, is pushing Thailand to become its hub to train data-science professionals. A survey by IT research firm Gartner Inc said demand for big data and data-sciencerelated jobs in Asia would be about 960,000 out of a total of 4.4 million jobs globally next year. Thailand has competitive salaries and quality graduate students, so the country has the ability to groom data scientist professionals in Asean, said Krishana Kant, head of the EMC Academic Alliance.
Chinese telecom solutions provider Huawei, together with AIS, a Thailand-based mobile operator, has announced the deployment of the Huawei Active Antenna Unit (AAU)-based Easy MacroTM solution in Thailand. The solution will be deployed across the AIS network, with an aim to build the best Mobile Broadband (MBB) network in Thailand and enhance user experiences. Over the last few years, MBB has developed rapidly in Thailand, mainly driven by the high penetration of smartphones and tablets.
Thailand’s military-led government has today published its draft digital economy plan, which includes provision of affordable internet access to citizens and digitised government transactions. The government will work with businesses to build infrastructure for broadband internet and ensure citizens have access to affordable internet, according to local media reports.
Lenovo plans to increase its Thai market share as it invests an additional USD5 million in Thailand in 2014. Jeerawut Wongpimonporn, general manager of Lenovo Thailand, said that Lenovo’s Asian headquarters has approved this additional budget plan. Of the total investment, USD2 million to USD3 million will be used to expand marketing channels, enhance marketing, and improve operation and management; while the remainder will be used for office maintenance and the creation of a server demonstration center.
If you rely on the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS), Bangkok Metro (MRT), Airport Rail Link and the Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT) to move through Bangkok each day, this is one handy app to have on your smart device. The featured map shows how different routes connect with one another from Sukhumvit to Ratchaphruek to Suvarnabhumi airport and others. Users can instantly look for the closest station to their current location and work their way from there.
Lenovo Group, the world’s largest computer maker, has allocated an extra US$5 million this year in its latest attempt to boost its presence in Thailand. Thailand is one of two strategic Asean members for the Beijing-based firm. The extra budget has been approved by its regional headquarters in Asean, said Jeerawut Wongpimonporn, country general manager for Lenovo Thailand. About $2-3 million will be used to develop Lenovo’s distribution channels and improve marketing and management with the aim of broadening its consumer PC market.
Consumer-goods company Unilever, in collaboration with Egg Digital of True Digital Content and Media, recently launched free Wi-Fi access in public places, making it easier for internet users to get connected. Entitled “Wi-Fi Play” and launched with the slogan “play anywhere and anytime”, the service has basically turned True’s 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country into a virtual router.
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If you’re addicted to Line and have plans to go backpacking in Bangkok, you’re in luck – Thailand’s tourist police force has released a free sticker set that users can download after following a dedicated account. The notion of a police force-themed sticker set in Thailand might seem eerily Orwellian given the country is currently under martial law. But the Thailand Tourist Police isn’t a real police force – they’re badged officers (some of whom are volunteers) that settle theft, disputes, and other minor emergencies that aren’t uncommon when traveling.
Thailand’s government cloud has saved more than 30% of costs for hosting e-government services and internal government systems, Sak Segkhoonthod, President and CEO, E-Government Agency told FutureGov. “It turns out during the last two years, we have saved THB 600 million (US$18.8 million). I would say [this is] at least 30% reduction in costs,” he said. Over 100 Thai government agencies are currently hosting around 500 applications on the G-Cloud. The e-government authority’s initial budget for the project is THB 1400 million (US$43.8 million).
The Government of Thailand has approved the development of a website that will bring together services across all of its agencies, and is scheduled to be launched in three years, Sak Segkhoonthod, President and CEO of Thailand’s E-Government Agency, has told FutureGov. The biggest challenge for the government will be “how can we make sure that agencies can change the way they do their work,” he said, since agencies will have to work more closely to deliver public services.
Alibaba’s international site reached a deal with the Thai bank Kasikornbank which will help Kasikornbank introduce its small- and medium-sized enterprise customer resources to Alibaba’s international site and increase the export business opportunities of Thai products. Thai enterprises will be able to apply to become Alibaba’s verified member or gold supplier via Kasikornbank, which will bring various exclusive benefits and services to these small businesses.
Online payments in Southeast Asia is broken, and that’s because many people in the region do not own credit cards or bank accounts. There is no shortage of startups attempting to fix this. Throw Omise into the mix: the Thailand-based startup announced today that it has raised US$300,000 from Indonesia and Japan-based fund East Ventures (disclosure: East Ventures also invests in Tech in Asia. See our ethics page for more information).
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Bank of Thailand (BOT) have jointly launched a new cross-border payment-versus-payment (PvP) link between Hong Kong’s US dollar real time gross settlement (RTGS) system and Thailand’s Thai Baht RTGS system (BAHTNET). This link is the third cross-border PvP link in Asia for HKMA’s RTGS system, said Peter Pang, deputy chief executive of the HKMA. The other two existing links are with Malaysia and Indonesia, he added.
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: