GMO, NetDesign set up joint venture

GMO, NetDesign set up joint venture

"Thailand is the centre of our business expansion in Asean due to its 45 million internet users, digital-savvy population and the huge potential of the digital economy," said Chalermruth Narkvichien, chief executive of GMO-Z com NetDesign.

Japanese tech giant GMO Internet Group has made inroads into Thailand's online-related services market through a 1-billion-baht partnership with a local pioneer firm.

GMO has invested 1 billion baht for both acquiring a 49% shareholding stake in NetDesign Group, a local computer training and web hosting service firm, and spending on business expansion.

A 49:51 new joint venture firm, GMO-Z com NetDesign Holdings Co, was set up between GMO Internet and NetDesign Group.

The move by GMO Internet is part of the group's strategy to expand its presence in Southeast Asia.

"Thailand is the centre of our business expansion in Asean due to its 45 million internet users, digital-savvy population and the huge potential of the digital economy," said Chalermruth Narkvichien, chief executive of GMO-Z com NetDesign.

After four years in business exploration, he said GMO Internet decided to enter a venture with NetDesign Group to provide internet-related services to serve the country's growing digital potential.

The company will use z.com as a core brand for its digital services.

NetDesign will still be used as a sub-brand because the brand is strong in computer training for education and e-commerce hosting in the service markets.

Mr Chalermruth said the new venture plans to spend 500 million baht on building its z.com brand awareness across Southeast Asia, targeting first jobbers and white-collar workers.

Earlier, GMO Internet Group's venture capital arm invested in 2C2P, a Bangkok-based payment gateway.

The group, through its 105 subsidiaries globally, has business worth over 200 billion baht.

Mr Chalermruth said GMO-Z com NetDesign Holdings is seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to provide online stock trading services, which are expected to start by October next year.

The company plans to change the name of its existing trading company from GMO Z.com Trading Co to GMO Z.com Securities Co.

He said online trading is growing at a fast pace, with online stock trading accounting for 30% of total trading transactions -- thanks to a lower commission fee of only 0.14% compared with 0.25% in the traditional trading system.

In contrast to Japan, all stock trading is conducted online.

Mr Chalermruth also said the company aims to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand by 2020.

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