The National Innovation Agency (NIA) is gearing up efforts to build Thailand's position as an innovation nation through a seven-pronged strategic plan, aiming to raise the country's ranking in the Global Innovation Index to the top 30 by 2030.
"The use of innovation to accelerate the development of the country has become more significant," said Pun-Arj Chairatana, executive director of the NIA.
Rapid changes in the economy, society and lifestyles prompted by the pandemic have been catalysts for tech disruption as well as tech adoption, such as a cashless society, online meetings, working from home, telemedicine and vaccine development.
"Although these emerging technologies, including the metaverse, require more development, they are expected to create an astounding change in the economy and society," Mr Pun-Arj said.
He said Thailand has the potential to become an innovative country in three areas: finance, as an aviation hub, and through the creation of innovation districts that can draw international investment.
Bangkok also has the potential to become an Asean powerhouse for investment in innovation, said Mr Pun-Arj.
To build the country's brand as "Innovation Thailand", the NIA drew up seven key strategies.
The first is to increase innovation-based enterprise capability that will enable businesses to survive amid abrupt changes in innovative systems. The second is to build and foster human capacity innovation.
The third is a push to utilise innovation infrastructure and ensure access to innovation services, while the fourth involves efforts to enhance innovation opportunity and regionalisation.
The fifth is to reshape the regulatory environment to facilitate innovation processes, while the sixth concerns efforts to create recognition of Thailand as one of the world's foremost innovators.
The final strategy is to transform innovation systems to address global challenges.
"The move is part of the government's plan to raise Thailand's position in the Global Innovation Index from 43rd in 2021 to top 30 by 2030," he said.
The NIA aims to see around 100 companies capable of registering as deep tech companies by 2025, said Mr Pun-Arj. Roughly 60 firms currently have the potential to register as deep tech companies, he said.
Bangkok and Chiang Mai could become startup and tech hubs, serving as a launching and landing pad for global startups, said Mr Pun-Arj.
"To further promote the innovation-based development plan, the NIA will host Startup x Innovation Thailand Expo 2022 to showcase outstanding innovative products and services," he said. "The hybrid event, which brings together leading startups, innovators, experts, business executives and investors, will be held under the theme 'Reconnecting the World' during June 23-25."