New bourse for startups is delayed

New bourse for startups is delayed

An idea to establish a new stock exchange for startups remains up in the air after the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other participants failed to reach a decision.

Representatives at yesterday's meeting agreed the government's 10 targeted industries are not economically viable yet and their growth could take a toll on some existing industries, said Surong Bulakul, chairman of the Thai Listed Companies Association.

He used electric vehicles as an example of a threat to the traditional car industry.

A source who is familiar with the issue said other fundraising channels for startups should be developed rather than setting up a new bourse, though the SET and SEC should play a role in matching startups with funding sources.

The meeting was held after Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak urged capital market participants to seek solutions, including setting up a new sector or bourse, to help startups in the government's targeted industries access funds.

"The market capitalisation of the Thai stock market is concentrated in some sectors that are not in line with the government's new strategy, which focuses on innovation and is driven by startups," said Mr Somkid after the meeting.

The government recently flagged the 10 clusters, created to form an S-shaped economy, as existing industry (first S-curve) and future industry (new S-curve).

The first S-curve comprises five industrial clusters: next-generation automotive, smart electronics, quality tourism, agriculture/biotechnology and food processing. The new S-curve consists of robotics, aviation/logistics, biofuels/biochemicals, digital economy and medical hub.

Mr Somkid said the Market for Alternative Investment, which was set up as a bourse for startups, has become an outlet for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) after minimum registered capital was raised to 50 million baht.

"Startups have less capital and higher risks than SMEs, and this needs to be communicated to investors," he said.

Rapee Sucharitakul, secretary-general of the SEC, said Mr Somkid also floated the idea to set up a working panel among regulators of financial and capital markets to better coordinate issues that affect the country's development such as fast-growing fintech companies.

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