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Huawei continues investing in Thailand

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PHOTO: Huawei president for SE Asia, James Wu during media conference at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

by Somluck Srimalee, The Nation

Chinese tech giant Huawei Group has set aside an investment budget of US$81 million (2.5 billion baht) for Southeast Asia towards ICT enablement from 2019-21, focusing on OpenLabs, enabling cloud developers and cultivating ICT talent, James Wu, said.

James Wu, the group’s president for Southeast Asia, was speaking in Barcelona, Spain, during the Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC 2019) on Sunday.

He added that up to US$23 million (719 million baht) from the three-year investment budget of $81 million will go to opening its OpenLab in Bangkok and New Delhi. Another $50 million will be spent on developing the Huawei Cloud Developer Programme in the region, while $8 million will be invested in ICT talent development.

“Southeast Asia has always been an important market for Huawei. We have been continuously investing in this market, and bringing in the world’s leading and innovative technologies. We have established our regional HQ in Thailand. We invested $15 million to build the OpenLab in Thailand in 2017,” Wu said.

“Last year, our global cloud service centre was built in the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor)”.

“At the end of last year, we worked together with the Thai government to build a 5G test lab to improve the 5G ecosystem. We have invested $5 million in 5G testing. All these show that we have been continuously investing in this market, and we believe it will be one of the most important markets in innovation,” Wu added.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Huawei Southeast Asia.

“We’re trying our best to bring leading, secure and reliable products to this region. I think with the efforts of Huawei and the support of telcos and partners, we can help these countries to achieve their digital vision,” Wu said.

Currently, Huawei’s Southeast Asia region covers 1.7 billion people, including the markets of Thailand, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

In the future, Huawei’s market share will be further consolidated,” Wu said.

In the Thailand market, Huawei’s local procurement was worth $180 million last year.

Wu said the company continues to be confident about expanding investments in Thailand although the country may see a new government after the elections in March this year.

“We don’t want to comment on politics. However, we believe that no matter how the policies change, for Thailand, as a digital hub of the region, the digitalisation and intelligent transformation will remain. As the leader of the industry, we will surely increase investments in Thailand, and hope Thai people realise their dreams.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Pattaya

Pandemic has washed away Pattaya’s “soapy” massage parlours

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Pandemic has washed away Pattaya’s “soapy” massage parlours | The Thaiger

While the Covid pandemic has hit Thailand’s businesses hard, it has also washed away its not-so-legal soapy massage parlours after tourism has dried up its clientele. Such places, known as glorified brothels, have left many masseuses out of work as boards have barricaded the once booming establishments.

Soapy Massage (àap-òp-nûat, อาบอบนวด, literally bath, steam, massage)…
These are the bigger massage parlours where girls are presented in the fishbowl and you get the full program (including sex) for a fixed price, depending on the girl starting from 1,500 and up to 5,000 Baht.

Only a few of the soapy services have survived the pandemic in Pattaya, with Honey Massage Parlour being one of them, according to The Pattaya Mail. After adjusting to the new requirements for social distancing, the business has re-opened on November 19. However, its largest shop has closed, once known as Honey 1 on Soi Honey, or Soi 11, the windows are dark and barricaded. Honey Inn is also up for sale.

25 year old masseuse Maywadee, says she used to work in such parlours where she would get a cut of the 1,500 to 2,500 baht fee. She says she used to see up to 7 clients a day, but now that number has been cut in half as Chinese and Japanese tourists, who were her largest group of customers have dwindled. Now, she is thinking about heading back to her home city of Chiang Mai, to sell handicrafts, as her Pattaya income has dried up.

Such parlours feature masseuses that are usually not native to the area, as many come from lower socio-economic areas such as Thailands northeastern provinces, otherwise known as Isaan. Many make the trip to tourist-driven cities like Pattaya, Koh Samui, Bangkok and others, in an attempt to make a higher salary than they would if they were back in Isaan.

SOURCE: The Pattaya Mail

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Business

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength

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Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht’s strength | The Thaiger

The Bank of Thailand has moved forward measures, originally meant to begin early 2021, but most of which will now take effect from end of this month. The end result is that the new rules will make it easier for Thais to shuffle money overseas and invest in foreign assets. It will also make is easier for Thai citizens to hold foreign currency in local banks. The new rules will also require the registration of local and overseas bond investors.

“Following the U.S. elections and positive news on Covid-19 vaccine development, investors have turned toward investing in emerging markets, including Thailand. The situation has resulted in strengthening the baht quickly and can impact economic recovery.”

“The registration of bond investors will allow close monitoring of investor’s behaviours and thereby enable the implementation of targeted measures in a timely manner.”

Last week the Bank of Thailand assessed that the Thai baht’s recent rapid gains could affect the country’s “fragile” economic recovery. The Thai government has called on the central bank to do its best to use what tools it has at its disposal to restrain the baht to protect exports.

Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group, says that he central bank also will continue to resort to direct intervention in foreign-exchange markets.

“The issue here is that local investors have a very strong home bias. Making it easier to invest overseas may not actually encourage them to do so.”

The Thai baht has been the 2nd best performer in Asia this month after foreign investors turned net buyers of almost $2.4 billion of bonds and stocks as appetite returns for riskier emerging-market assets amid a weak dollar, according to Bloomberg.

The Thai baht had recently rallied 8.8% from this year’s low in April, hitting a 10 month high last week.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

This morning, Thai time…

Bank of Thailand takes action to curb Thai baht's strength | News by The Thaiger

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Technology

Hotel investment group launches world’s first “green” hotel fund

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Hotel investment group launches world’s first “green” hotel fund | The Thaiger

Destination Capital, a hotel investment group in Bangkok, has announced that it will launch the world’s first ever “green” hotel fund. The fund will acquire hotels and implement sustainability systems and procedures to promote long term environmental and financial sustainability in investments using the EDGE certification programme. EDGE, an online platform, is an innovation of the International Finance Corporation, which helps property developers to build and brand “green” establishments in a fast and affordable way. EDGE is used by more than 170 countries and reportedly has kept almost 230,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from entering the atmosphere.

DC’s fund, titled Descap I, is part of its efforts to acquire freehold, 4 star hotels in prime destinations all over Thailand. James Kaplan, the CEO of DC, says he sees opportunities to renovate hotels to accommodate “green” technology and systems due to the current Covid pandemic that has ravaged the tourism sector in the kingdom.

“Destination Capital’s adoption of the EDGE certification program will provide the Descap I with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by differentiating our products and improving carbon emissions of the hotels.”

“If there is one thing we have learned during Covid-19 it is that the environment and nature recover quickly from poor resource management practices. Our participation in EDGE will serve to encourage the hospitality industry to adopt best practices with respect to better managing our scarce resources, raise broader consciousness about global warming and stem the tide of environmental degradation. We will implement operational elements to reduce water consumption, reduce waste emissions, reduce electricity use, and to the best of our ability eliminate plastic usage.”

Descap I, is a Thai Private Equity Trust. The company partners with Private Equity and Institutional Funds to source hotel acquisition opportunities and manage assets in the Asia Pacific region, turning its main focus to Thailand.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

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