Startups seek to gain from digital wallet
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Startups seek to gain from digital wallet

Startup communities have called on the Finance Ministry to let them take part in the government's digital wallet scheme.

They want to take the opportunity of the planned launch of the digital wallet scheme to seek ways to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt their digital technologies for digital transformation.

Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, a pioneer in the field of startups, said he and the president of the Thai Startup Trade Association had requested Julapan Amornvivat, deputy finance minister, to find ways in which local startups could participate in the digital wallet scheme.

He added that he disagreed with the scheme. However, if the government wants to go ahead with it, startups should take part to help entrepreneurs who register in the scheme to upgrade their technology capabilities.

He added that entreprenuers should be encouraged to adopt point of sale technology, e-document or e-tax systems and many more digital technologies to empower their business operations and enhance productivity.

"Local startups proposed to the finance ministry to take the digital wallet scheme as an opportunity to help SMEs move towards digital transformation," Yutthana Srisavat, president of Thai Startup Trade Association, told the Bangkok Post.

The association has 200 members.

He said the association had seen the success of the previous government's initiatives such as the co-payment scheme that was able to encourage people to embrace e-payment methods.

Businesses which can receive digital wallet payments in return for their products when people purchase their products via the digital wallet payment scheme should be encouraged to adopt accounting, point of sale, e-tax and many more systems from the association's members with options of service fee payment such as no fee for small transactions or fee payment on bigger transactions.

"Besides sources of funds, startups need to have a market where we can find the fish," said Mr Yutthana.

He said the association is seeking to turn Thailand from tech users to tech makers. This is a good opportunity to do so, he said.

Yod Chinsupakul, chief executive of Line Man Wongnai, told the Bangkok Post the digital wallet scheme that covers 50 million users will stimulate consumption of food and services.

He wants to see the government support the use of the local startup technologies ranging from point of sale systems to merchant management, accounting and payment among SMEs. This would build a tech ecosystem for local merchants and facilitate Thailand's digitalisation, said Mr Yod.

Mr Yod said as Line Man Wongnai had the chance to participate in the previous government's co-payment scheme, the company has experience and technology readiness that could serve merchants and tech users.

"We can share this experience with policymakers to optimise the digital wallet scheme," Mr Yod said.

During 2021-22, Line Man Wongnai gained benefits from participating in the co-payment scheme that helped consumers spend more both offline and online and this policy connected consumers with local merchants and helped those merchants increase their revenue.

PromptPay's success demonstrated a viable collaboration betwen the government, the Bank of Thailand, commercial banks and others in the private sector.

"Innovation is not just about technology development but also about incoporating tech into business," Mr Yod said.

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