E-commerce gains during pandemic
More retail business is turning to online sales
Online retail businesses have proliferated during the pandemic, with Singapore the biggest investor in Thailand as firms adapt to lockdown measures.
According to Deputy Commerce Minister Sinit Lertkrai, restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19 forced both small and large businesses to focus on e-commerce.
The government accelerated infrastructure development to support e-commerce the past several years, working to promote different sectors entering the digital economy.
Mr Sinit cited Business Development Department data that showed e-commerce, especially for retail business, increased significantly this year.
The department reported in the first seven months there were 794 new business registrations for e-commerce, up from 576 businesses in the same period of last year, with registered capital of 1.04 billion baht, on par with figures for the whole of 2020.
Last year, new e-commerce business registration tallied 798 businesses with combined registered capital of 1.18 billion baht.
Some 3,525 e-commerce businesses remain operational, 3,468 of which are small firms, representing 98.4% of the total, followed by 38 mid-sized businesses, accounting for 1.08% of the total.
There were 19 big e-commerce businesses, accounting for 0.54% of the total.
Mr Sinit said more foreign investors are interested in e-commerce ventures, reflecting Thailand's potential as an attractive market. Singapore ranks as the top investor with accumulative registered capital of 16.1 billion baht, followed by Hong Kong at 2.23 billion, then China with investment of 322 million.
He said new e-commerce business registrations are expected to keep rising in the second half and it is likely to become a sunrise business this year.
In a bold move to increase e-commerce revenue to 5.35 trillion baht next year, the cabinet last month gave the go-ahead for the national e-commerce development action plan phase 1, which spans 2021-22.
Under the first phase, the government aims to raise e-commerce revenue to 5.35 trillion baht next year, up from 4.03 trillion baht in 2019; increase e-commerce revenue from small and medium-sized enterprises by at least 5% a year; and outbound cross-border e-commerce revenue by at least 5% a year during 2021-22.