NBTC pushes work from home hub as lure for foreigners

NBTC pushes work from home hub as lure for foreigners

People across various industries have been working from home during the coronavirus crisis.
People across various industries have been working from home during the coronavirus crisis.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is promoting Thailand as a work-from-home destination for foreign executives, hoping to shore up the local economy amid economic woes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Another proposal is to support the roll-out of local over-the-top (OTT) platforms embedded with 5G tech for daily usage.

The two initiatives will be proposed to the 26-member National 5G Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

"As the economy tries to recover, this is the appropriate time to offer these two agenda items," said NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith.

The committee was established last month as a core centre to coordinate efforts from related agencies to push innovation in line with the country's digital economy roadmap.

Mr Takorn said working from home on innovative platforms has become a trend worldwide after the outbreak.

Thailand has potential to become a work-from-home hub, with several advantages over other Asean countries, he said.

The country is the first-mover for 5G wireless broadband adoption in Asean, Mr Takorn noted.

Secondly, Thailand handled the outbreak well through effective public healthcare, backed by robotic care and solutions and 5G network infrastructure.

In addition, the cost of living in Thailand is still low compared with other countries in the region, Mr Takorn said, and Thais are known to be friendly to foreigners.

"Thailand should be promoted as a work-from-home hub to the world," he said.

The committee can iron out incentives to attract global enterprises to let their executives and tech-skilled staff live and work from home in Thailand.

The incentives could include flexible work permits, Mr Takorn said. Foreign talent could help generate revenue and distribute knowledge in the country.

The government may also offer Thai nationality to skilled tech workers who can generate revenue for the country during a certain period of time, such as five years.

The Revenue Department along with other agencies may have to amend regulations to make sure these foreign talents who benefit from the incentives declare their revenue in the country's tax system.

Mr Takorn said 5G-embedded OTT platforms will provide a new opportunity for the local economy.

In the past, Thailand was far behind other countries in terms of 3G and 4G adoption, which made it difficult for Thai tech enterprises to develop local OTT platforms to compete with foreign ones, he said.

The situation has changed after Thailand launched commercial 5G usage in February. Ultra-fast internet networks have been used in telemedicine to boost healthcare services in the fight against the coronavirus.

"Development of local OTT embedded with 5G tech such as artificial intelligence for daily use will be key to promoting new revenue streams in the new economy," Mr Takorn said.

The platforms can be developed for several key sectors, such as logistics and warehouse management, which can align with the government's policy to turn the country into a logistics hub for Asean, he said.

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