ETDA building local e-commerce platform for B2C market
The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) plans to invest 1 billion baht through strategic partners to build a local e-commerce platform to compete with global giants like Alibaba and JD.com.
The move aims to create more local opportunities in Thailand's burgeoning e-commerce sector, expected to be worth 3.3 trillion baht in 2019, growing 14% year-on-year.
The ETDA has partnered with the National Innovation Agency (NIA) for the first time to help local tech startups serve local e-commerce operators.
Under the new ETDA initiative, the agency will regulate e-commerce providers, digital ID operators and Certificate Authority Public Key Infrastructure providers. Global e-commerce operators are expected to self-regulate to comply with local law.
"We need to have a local e-commerce operator/platform to serve the online retail business-to-consumer (B2C) market, as Thailand is one of the largest B2C markets in Asean," said Surangkana Wayuparb, executive director of the ETDA.
The company will have discussions with Tarad.com and LNWshop.com, the two largest local e-commerce marketplaces, to collaborate and build a national e-commerce platform rather than rely on huge global players as online merchants, an arrangement requiring a commission fee and data from buyers.
The local platform under the code name "Durian" will start with a 10-million-baht investment and raise funds through crowdfunding, an initial coin offering and wealthy investors, hoping to raise 1 billion baht within the next six months.
The ETDA is no longer a public organisation, but a government entity. The new ETDA law widened its scope to become both a regulator and facilitator of e-transactions, including cross-border trading.
The ETDA will be secretary of the National Digital ID committee to regulate digital ID providers and oversee e-commerce operators. The agency can mandate those businesses to register, or ask, for a licence. The ETDA will make foreign e-commerce operators self-regulate the protection of personal data.
"The ETDA has no authority to make foreign e-commerce operators pay taxes -- that needs to be the role of the Revenue Department -- and cannot force them to acquire a licence or list in local jurisdictions," Mrs Surangkana said.
She said that under the new ETDA law the agency plans to ask for an additional budget of more than 100 million baht.