There is no doubt that the US firm’s investment in Thailand through a new subsidiary firm is good news which will see Thailand become a hub for cloud-based internet services throughout Southeast Asia while also improving the digital infrastructure for local internet firms and digital startups.
Amazon is to become a key investor in Thailand through its Seattle-based internet service provider AWS which has unveiled a $5 billion investment in the country over the next 15 years with nearly 10% of this or ฿200 billion being ploughed in immediately in the creation of new data centres and cloud computing links with Thailand which will become a regional hub for the key market player with a turnover of $62 billion. On Tuesday, following a cabinet meeting in Bangkok, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Supattanapong Punmeechaow expressed his excitement at what he termed a ‘hyper-scale’ investment which he saw as a vote of confidence in the country’s digital future.
Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, on Tuesday, announced that US firm AWS or Amazon Web Services has chosen Thailand as its regional hub against stiff competition for both Malaysia and Indonesia in a move which will see $5 billion invested in the kingdom over the next five years or ฿190 billion.
The government’s economics chief revealed that this project was being assisted by Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) and was part of an anticipated inward investment volume of ฿600 billion into the country’s economy in 2022.
Investment to begin immediately with ฿200 billion with a 15-year plan to expand and upgrade its network
The investment plan by AWS, a firm only established in 2006 and which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington in the United States, will begin immediately.
AWS has an annual turnover of $62 billion and its investment, over a period of 15 years, will see the development of state-of-the-art data centres in Thailand from which cloud service computing services will be made available to business customers in Thailand and Southeast Asia which will bring with it faster speeds and reduced latency.
Mr Supattanapong explained that ฿200 billion of this investment would be applied immediately.
He said it was a vote of confidence in Thailand and the country’s 4.0 strategy to develop the kingdom’s digital infrastructure and economic potential.
He also suggested there were more investments like this in the pipeline.
Upbeat minister warmly welcomes the news as a step forward for the government’s Thailand 4.0 vision
‘AWS’s hyper-scale investment project has demonstrated that Thailand is a digital hub and data centre in the region. The investment comes from the world’s leading company, and investment from other related industries will follow suit,’ the minister told reporters. ‘AWS’s plan to build data centres in Thailand is a significant milestone that will bring advanced cloud computing services to more organisations and help us deliver our Thailand 4.0 ambition to create a digitised, value-based economy.’
Foreigners in Thailand should find out more about Thailand 4.0 and be part of the change that is coming
Digital assets wizard with an energy and tech vision that the country needs to make Thailand 4.0 work
While briefing reporters on Tuesday, Minister Supattanapong spoke of the current moves by firms in Taiwan to move production off the island state and also from mainland China due to rising geopolitical tensions.
Minister spoke of firms shifting production from Taiwan due to rising geopolitical tensions with China
This follows a move by the President of Taiwan President Tsai Ing in a policy known as New Southbound which gives some indication of the strong likelihood of hostile Chinese action against Taiwan in the immediate future.
These firms are moving to Southeast Asia but are looking for countries with stable democracies, strong rule of law and ones which are not influenced by mainland China.
Figures show that 25.7% of Taiwanese firms are in the process of moving production out of China while 13% have already moved operations out of Taiwan and 20.8% are seriously considering such a move.
Over 67% of the firms plan to move to Southeast Asia while 63% of Taiwanese operations leaving China are also moving to the region.
Challenges facing Thailand’s EV vehicle sector
The Deputy Prime Minister also spoke of the challenge facing Thailand’s dogged efforts to promote and develop its fledgling electric vehicle industry.
He underlined the need for Thailand to be able to guarantee consistent electricity and water supplies as part of these efforts but pointed to difficulties the kingdom faced when it comes to battery and computer chip technology where Malaysia and Singapore are ahead.
However, the minister told reporters that the country must be willing to fight or strive to compete and the government would consider creating incentives to achieve this very valuable industry development goal
He enthusiastically and repeatedly described the AWS investment in Thailand as a ‘hyper-scale’ one while pointing out that the time left for the present government was short while expressing satisfaction that the groundwork has been laid for Thailand’s future development as a digital economy.
US firm sends executives to Bangkok
News of the development was released on Tuesday following a cabinet meeting which also welcomed the AWS move.
This investment from a leading US firm which is a market leader in the provision of digital infrastructural services to businesses will provide potentially enhanced internet speeds for Thai-based internet firms who will now have the option of a local service provider.
The announcement, on Tuesday, saw US executives from AWS in Bangkok where the minister revealed that the new trading concern will be called AWS Asia Pacific (Bangkok) which he claimed will be a boost for local Thai digital startups.
DTAC and True issued a statement on their proposed merger highlighting investment planned by what it claims will be a new technology startup venture
On Tuesday also, two of the kingdom’s key telecommunications, internet and broadband providers Total Access Communication Plc (DTAC) and True Corporation, issued a statement in response to opposition to the merger which the two firms announced in November 2021.
In it, the two firms highlighted the competitive nature of the services currently being provided to small businesses and consumers in Thailand.
They highlighted a survey by UK firm Cable.co.uk which showed that the cost of transmitting 1 GB of data in Thailand was the lowest in Southeast Asia.
The two firms highlighted the fact that their proposed merger would create an expanded telecommunications and technology venture which has plans to invest ฿200 billion to assist Thai startups in the digital economy going forward.
Thailand 7th in the world for broadband speeds
According to a 2022 survey, Thailand has one of the fastest and most competitive broadband service offerings in the world coming in at 7th place with low prices and speeds faster than South Korea, France and Chile.
The kingdom had a clocked speed of 225 MB per second with Monaco leading the table at 262 MB per second followed by Singapore at 255.83.
However, in mobile speeds, the country is not competitive with speeds of 56.9 MB per second compared to 238.06 MB per second for the United Arab Emirates and 202.61 for South Korea.
About the Author
Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman’s issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand’s growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.