ONDE pushes Thailand towards ASEAN digital hub

ONDE pushes Thailand towards ASEAN digital hub

“We will collaborate with the private sector to focus on sustainable development” - ONDE, MWC Shanghai 2021

The National Digital Economy and Society Commission (NDESC), Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Thailand (ONDE), declared at the recent MWC Shanghai 2021 virtual conference that it will focus on digital transformation and improving digital economy in Thailand. It added that it will concentrate on helping Thailand become a digital hub in ASEAN. Furthermore, NDESC said it would lay the foundation for a sustainable future in terms of digital infrastructure for 5G, internet, and network innovation by leveraging national policy and collaborating with the private sector.

As the world embarks on recovery from the pandemic, there is growing recognition of the need for green and inclusive growth. Digital technologies can and will play critical roles in paving the way to net-zero emissions and bringing equitable education to more beneficiaries. 

To tackle the challenges and advance sustainable development, Huawei, with the participation of UNESCO, and co-sponsored by GSMA, the School of Economics, Fudan University, and The Paper, hosted “Connected for shared Prosperity”, an online and offline forum forming part of the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2021.

With Thailand achieving one of the highest rates of digital development, Mrs. Vunnaporn Dehastin, Secretary-General of the NDESC, joined the government representatives from other countries at the event and spoke on the topic of “National Policy Driving Digital Technology and Sustainable Development: Building ASEAN’s Digital Hub”. She elaborated on Thailand’s policy to become a digital hub in ASEAN, explaining the vision behind it and its aims to boost the economy, improve social well-being, and achieve sustainable development.

“We are developing the Thailand Digital Economy and Society Development Plan at national level,” she said. “The plan really offers a blueprint for revolutionising government operations, business practices, and people’s lifestyles. It covers building a country-wide, high-capacity digital infrastructure to provide accessible and affordable internet, digital transformation through initiatives such as Digital SMEs, Digital Agriculture, and Digital Industry, and the collaboration with Huawei to open the 5G Ecosystem Innovation Center (EIC) in Bangkok last year.”

“The EIC is really a sandbox for incubating 5G digital innovations, applications and services across various industries. These innovations will create new business opportunities for SMEs, startups and educational institutions. This, in turn, will pave the way to Thailand 4.0 and the country’s establishment as a digital hub for the ASEAN region. However, this goal can only be achieved with cooperation between public and private sectors, at both domestic and international level. Together, we can overcome the challenges and build a better future.”

Regarding sustainable development, Mrs. Vunnaporn stated that: “Digital technologies have positively impacted society, especially during the pandemic, and will continue to do so even more as the virus subsides.”

“Digital economy promises new ways for businesses to grow,” she added. “It brings social well-being and aligns with Thailand’s sustainable development goals and global trends prioritising tackling climate change, reducing carbon emissions, pursuing new renewable energy resources, and supporting circular economy through green ICT solutions.”

Speedtest Global Index 2020 ranks Thailand at the top out of 176 countries in fixed broadband internet speed testing. It also notes that Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia to launch commercial 5G services. 

Meanwhile, the government has launched several initiatives to improve public service. These include the Government Data Center and Cloud Service (GDCC) project to improve efficiency and reduce government spend on digital infrastructure development. Other initiatives include the Pracharat Internet Project, to install free high-speed internet networks through a total of 24,700 sites with 80,000+ km of fibre optic cabling. Plus a Digital Community Center Project with 2,277 sites in 77 provinces, and over 2,300 volunteer staff.

“Connected for Shared Prosperity” offline and online forum also heard Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board, Huawei, give an opening speech. She was joined by representatives from other countries, and experts in innovation and digital technology. 

Supported by UNESCO, and co-sponsored by GSMA, the School of Economics, Fudan University, and The Paper, the essential purpose of the forum was to tackle climate change and advance sustainable development during the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2021. Huawei’s further intention is to promote Thailand as a digital transformation role model for other countries in Southeast Asian. 

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