China Mobile International (CMI) and local partner True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) have officially launched what's dubbed Southeast Asia's first Thai/Chinese 4G SIM, aiming to cash in on the many Chinese tourists and expats.
With the CMLink TrueMove H Thailand 4G SIM, users can connect two mobile numbers, one in China and one in Thailand, under a single SIM card. The SIM will offer a variety of packages, together with free local calls, free data usage on social platforms and support for multiple mobile payment options.
The SIM was made to better serve the Chinese expat community and promote tourism by mainland Chinese, said Justin Ang Keng Tiong, deputy group chief commercial officer of True Corporation, the parent company of TUC.
According to an announcement by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, 11.8 million Chinese tourists travelled to Thailand last year and 13 million are predicted in 2019.
Mr Tiong said CMI previously launched CMLink in Britain and Japan in 2017 and 2018, respectively, before the roll-out of CMLink mobile service in Thailand.
"This is another significant step for us to not only become a leader in telecommunication business in our country, Thailand, but also a regional player, standing strongly to compete in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.
Mr Tiong said TUC has yet to announce a targeted sales number for the new SIM cards, but he believes that most Chinese tourists and employees, as well as students travelling or living in Thailand this year, will subscribe to the CMLink SIM.
"Currently, TUC is the second-largest mobile operator in the country that Chinese tourists select to use when travelling to Thailand," he said.
Julie Ning, country head of Thailand for CMI, said the company has more than 900 million mobile subscribers.
CMI's strategy is to make partnerships and integrate advanced technologies to provide quality global and regional connections for outbound tourists and overseas Chinese.
In 2017, the number of Chinese individuals moving to Southeast Asia was roughly 460,000. Of those, more than a third moved to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, with Thailand seeing the greatest number.
"With the subscriber base of CMI being the largest in China at over 900 million subscribers, and the efficient capacity of the TUC 4G network covering 98% of the population in Thailand, we [TUC] believe that the CMLink TrueMove H 4G SIM is the best choice for Chinese travelling to or living in Thailand," Mr Tiong said.
He said the advantages of the SIM include 1,000 minutes of free calls from Thailand to any Chinese mobile number, different types of long-term and short-term plans, free data for WeChat, Weibo and QQ, and support for multiple payment methods such as WeChat Pay, Alipay and Union Pay.