What's new in business news: October 22, 2013

New celebrities app from AIS, stocks fall with surprise amnesty bill & labour-intensive industries cut from investment incentives.

Jirayu ‘James’ Tangsrisuk, a brand endorser for 3G service, shows his James’ Life app developed by AIS for his fans.

STOCK MARKET 

Thai stocks tumble most worldwide

Bloomberg News agency

Thailand’s stocks fell the most in a month, with the benchmark index posting the biggest drop worldwide, amid speculation that a bill granting amnesty for political offenses will spur protests against the government. The benchmark SET Index (SET) dropped 2.4% to 1,448.54 at the close in Bangkok, its biggest decline since Sept. 23 and the steepest drop among global equity gauges tracked by Bloomberg. 

A parliamentary committee voted last week to add a clause to the ruling Pheu Thai party’s bill that would annul legal cases stemming from the country’s 2006 coup, including the conviction of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The opposition Democrat Party will oppose the bill in parliament and support public demonstrations to prevent the measure, Abhisit Vejjajiva, former prime minister and the party’s leader, said on the party’s website on Monday.

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INVESTMENT

BOI cuts investment incentives for labour-intensive industries 

The Board of Investment (BoI) has cut the number of SME business categories eligible for investment privileges to 39 from 57, mainly labour-intensive ones in which Thai businesses can no longer compete with neighbouring countries. BoI's new investment policy focuses on high technology and value-added products and services.

The 39 categories of eligible SME businesses will be divided into four groups - value-added farm production; industries that use manufacturing skills such as auto parts, machinery, electronics and electrical appliances, plastic products and printing; creative industry including clothes, textile, jewellery and ornaments, furniture, software and designs; and service and supporting businesses for the tourism industry such as hotels, cultural centres and movie shooting. These businesses will be entitled to exemptions from machinery import tax and corporate income tax for eight years without restrictions on zone or size of investment.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

AIS introduces celebrities app for new revenue

Mobile leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) is extending its chargeable mobile content service in a drive to boost the strength of its non-voice business and increase revenue.

The company launched yesterday what it calls a celebrities app in which celebrities earn revenue for self-generated content sold to fan clubs via mobile devices. AIS spent 14 million baht on TV star Jirayu "James" Tangsrisuk as a brand endorser for 3G. Now AIS is collaborating with Mr Jirayu on the new James' Life app which offers stickers with his photos and video clips of his activities. The application works on iOS and Android and can be downloaded by dialing *303*3# at a cost of 29 baht per download.

AIS has 13 million mobile internet users, 9 million of them social-media users. As of June, he said the company's non-voice revenue accounted for 30% of total consolidated revenues. Mobile data services made up half of AIS's non-voice revenue, followed by chargeable premium content at 35% and SMS service 15%. Non-voice revenue in Japan and South Korea accounts for over half of mobile operators' revenues. Mobile payment service is a major revenue source for AIS. As of October, Thailand has 17.7 million 3G subscribers. AIS had 12 million users, DTAC's 5 million and True Move 700,000.

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About the author

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer