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It was a very good year – Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger

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It was a very good year – Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | The Thaiger

by Tim Newton, CEO – The Thaiger

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone who has been a valuable part of a mega 12 months for The Thaiger in 2018. It’s been an often-rocky ride but ended up with all the pieces falling into place with the stage set for a massive 2019.

Whereas we started 2018 as a brash media start-up, we’ve ended the year, statistically, as a local leader with audiences continuing to be attracted by our fresh approach, quick delivery and accurate, relevant content. Whilst some Thai media are fighting to maintain circulation and prop-up their old business models, The Thaiger has truly thrived in 2018 as we relentlessly, and sometimes recklessly, keep trying new ideas and new technology.

This year was a year of some fundamental changes to our coverage and scope. Not simply a voice for the island of Phuket anymore, The Thaiger became a national news player, whilst still retaining our Phuket roots and excellent coverage for the island community.

The start of April 2018 also saw the transition of the Phuket Gazette/The Thaiger brand to simply ‘The Thaiger’. Changing our domain was a major effort for our IT team and just the first of many successes for the best IT team in Thailand. As before, The Thaiger will continue to be custodian of the vast 23 year resource of Phuket Gazette articles which readers can continue to search in our website.

It was a very good year - Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | News by The Thaiger

Whilst we were attracting around 200,000 page views per month in April this year, we end the year with nearly one million page views per month and the growth will continue in 2019. If you were a newspaper in days past, getting a 500% growth in ‘circulation’ over a year would be a major achievement.

2018 also saw us reaching out to a new Thai-language audience with a fresh new approach to coverage not seen by Thai readers in the past. This will also continue to evolve and grow in 2019.

Whilst 2018 has seen consolidation and growth in Thaiger social media, that will move into hyperdrive in 2019 as we reach out on all the favorite social media platforms with more, engaging and better posts – in Thai and English.

In staff numbers The Thaiger has grown from five at the start of the year to 14 at the end of 2018. Our home office in Kathu is now a main road premises in Kamala which we share with our digital media partners. Three more staff join the Thaiger team in January 2019.

The original Thaiger product – The Thaiger 102.75 FM – has cemented itself as the island’s choice for local information, reliability, great music and its commitment to local news, seven days a week. Garry, Gerry and Tom were a formidable and professional core team throughout the year.

If there was one feature this year it would be the amazing success of our coverage of the Tham Luang cave rescues. Apart from the story being big international news, it also launched The Thaiger to many, many new followers. For a week we were Thailand’s preferred social media source (in English) beating our much larger and better resourced competitors. Whilst it wasn’t planned to be that way, we  hit a note with our cable TV-like approach to updates and coverage. It was a milestone for The Thaiger in 2018.

It was a very good year - Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | News by The Thaiger

Looking into the 2019 crystal ball, thethaiger.com is planning 650% traffic growth in the next 12 months and has budgeted to grow bottomline earnings by 350%.

2019 will also see The Thaiger reach beyond the borders of Thailand and replicate our successful platform in other key markets in Southeast Asia. This, whilst we work to increase brand recognition amongst our key demographic in Thailand and attract more daily visitors.

You, the readers, listeners and viewers, are the only reason we do this every day. Your support, and sometimes your savage criticism, have helped to make our product better throughout 2018. Everything we do, daily, is to make the product more relevant and useful for YOU. The Thaiger is nothing without your trust in what we do.

Our sponsors make it all possible and we thank them for their faith in our product and the valuable finances that allow us to keep going. We look forward to continuing the journey with you into 2019.

Finally, as the past ‘front man’ for The Thaiger, I am very happy to be stepping back and allowing some of our new staff to take the limelight and share their talents in 2019. The company has reached the stage where it now requires a lot more hands-on management.

I would like to thank Mike, Noom, Garry, Gerry, Goongnang, Tom, Donna, Brennan, Paul, Darren, Paulie, Eugene, Pond, Mam and Uddy as well as our media partners The Nation and Newshawk Phuket. Also the many, many contributors and contractors that make up the extended Thaiger family.

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable new year and look forward to serving all our customers and stakeholders  better in 2019.



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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general

The Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) has laid out strategies to boost the development of rail services and the country’s cruise tourism.

Duangjai Asawachintachit, BOI secretary general, says the latest BOI meeting chaired by the Prime Minister had resolved to instigate measures to attract investment in rail development and related infrastructure for continued economic growth.

According to Duangjai, investment projects for rail development and related sectors will be entitled to a tax break of 50% for the first three to five years of investment.

The BOI also approved measures to stimulate the cruise tourism business, with the aim of attracting more tourists to the kingdom.

Moreover, the BOI has introduced a plan to attract aerospace investment to U-Tapao Airport in 2019 as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, as the EEC Office is planning to develop an “Aerotropolis” which will stretch over 30 kilometers from the airport.

Additionally, the meeting endorsed the 7-year strategic investment promotion plan, spanning 2015 to 2021, which it is anticipated will contribute 418 billion baht to the country’s GDP.

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Chinese foreign policy – On track

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Chinese foreign policy – On track | The Thaiger

by Nikkei Asia Review

“When Japanese trading house Itochu and train maker Hitachi withdrew from a soon-to-be-decided $7 billion tender for a high-speed rail project near Bangkok, it appeared to be another victory for China and its grand plans to connect Southeast Asia with railways.

Thailand has for decades been the centerpiece of Tokyo’s strategy for Southeast Asia, and long-discussed plans to build extensive shinkansen-style rail lines in the country’s east and north were meant to cement the relationship between the two nations.

But while Japan’s ambitions have been stalled by disagreements about financing and other details, Beijing has managed to push ahead with construction of a separate high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. To some, the rail projects are a symbol of China’s growing influence in a country where Japan had spent decades building ties.”

The article predicts that the Chinese investment into South East Asian rail services is part of its broader ‘belt and road’ policy that is stretching out into new routes and connecting regions, and China, with hitherto remote parts of the asian continent.

“China’s high-speed rail ambitions in Southeast Asia don’t end in Bangkok, however. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.”

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

China’s reach southwards will allow it to exert greater political influence on places like Singapore which, for now, still retains strong connections to Washington. Investing in high-speed railways all the way from China’s borders to the tip of the Malay Peninsula is a lot more than just an economic investment, it’s a high-profile symbol of China’s new influence in the region where issues such as ‘Taiwan’ and it’s demands in the South China Sea have caused prickly negotiations with the ASEAN countries.

But to reach Singapore, China must first get Malaysia on side…

“A dramatic recent shift in Malaysian politics has put China’s plans for Singapore on hold, however. After his election in May, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad decided to hold up “for now” the $20 billion 688-km east coast rail line connecting southern Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, and postpone for two years a 350-km high-speed rail link between the Malaysian capital and Singapore.”

The article says that these ‘investments’ are actually just loans for high-priced infrastructure that often cannot be repaid by smaller economies….

“China typically provides loans, not grants, for foreign infrastructure projects, and takes possession of the project if the recipient is unable to repay its debt – as happened with a port in Sri Lanka. Such instances have prompted critics in the West to accuse China of practicing ‘debt diplomacy’.”

Read more of this fascinating and important article from Nikkei Asia Review HERE.

Chinese foreign policy - On track | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites

The Thaiger

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Thailand opens doors to cryptocurrencies – Thaiger Bites | The Thaiger

Divisions are forming across Asia with regards to cryptocurrencies. Some nations such as China are constantly stomping on anything to do with crypto assets but others, Thailand being the latest, are opening their digital doors to the fledgling industry.

Over the past year Thailand has warmed to crypto and this latest raft of official licenses is a big boost to the industry in the country and region as a whole. Military rulers and the central bank remains wary which is no surprise and have issued warnings to investors. Overall though the sentiment is positive and an official ICO portal has even been proposed by the SEC.

Read more about this story from News BTC HERE.

(Thaiger Bites provides these short snippets for stories we believe of interest to our readers)

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