Industry pushes for protection

The private sector wants non-tariff barriers to protect the local software industry once the Asean single market is established.

Saknarong Saengsangapong, chairman of the software club of the Federation of Thai Industries, said standards are needed for foreign companies looking to sell software in Thailand, as the industry has no measures in place to deal with imports.

He said the firms should be certified ISO 29110 or Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) _ standards used to assess an organisation's software development process _ to ensure the quality of items sold in Thailand, where software is mainly imported rather than produced locally.

While the ISO standard is aimed at small enterprises with 25 employees at most, CMMI is for large companies.

"However, the Thai software market is different from the international market, making it hard for them to penetrate as of now," said Mr Saknarong, who is also an FTI deputy secretary-general and chief executive of Professional Computer Co.

He said Thailand has at least 3,000 software companies, of which 80% are small and medium-sized enterprises.

Some 200 software firms in Thailand have achieved ISO 29110 certification since the standard was introduced in 2011.

Mr Saknarong said it costs 100,000 baht for certification, which must be renewed every two years.

"We want to make it accessible for the masses, especially when domestic software companies are reaching out to the regional market," he said.

An ISO 29110 certificate is required for software-related projects worth at least 10 million baht seeking tax breaks from the Board of Investment.

Thailand's software industry is valued at 100 billion baht, of which 90% is imports.

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Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter