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King Power’s duty free monopoly under review

The Thaiger & The Nation

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King Power’s duty free monopoly under review | The Thaiger
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King Power Duty Free’s monopoly of duty free concessions at some of Thailand’s busiest airports may be coming to an end.

The Thai PM has warned against the “monopolisation” of the country’s airport duty free sector ordering a review of the auctioning process that could threaten the multi-billion-dollar empire of current concession holder King Power.

Thailand expects to welcome over 40 million foreign visitors this year, mostly through its airports which rake in an estimated US$1.9 billion a year in duty free sales.

Airports of Thailand (AoT) awarded King Power the sole concession back in 2006 but is set to expire in September 2020. AoT is a state-run enterprise.

King Power was founded by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the tycoon who made billions from duty free stores and invested in everything from hotels, property and, famously, the Leicester City football club. His helicopter crashed outside the club’s home ground in October last year. According to Forbes Magazine, Vichai had handed his empire to his youngest son Aiyawatt. At his death the company was valued around US$5.8 billion,

The new contract for duty-free sales, AoT says, will be managed by a single company with a proven track record of experience in the sector, creating fears of a prolonged monopoly.

But PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha has stepped in saying the government has received complaints from interested parties “on the issue of monopolisation”. He assigned an urgent review of the bidding to find a “suitable process to be fair”.

Thailand’s Mall Group and shopping empire Central Group are eyeing entry into duty-free while South Korean giant Lotte is also wanting to bid for the valuable concession.

Last year, a Thai court rejected an attempt to sue King Power for hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid revenue to the airport authority.

SOURCE: The Nation

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News & Updates

Facebook sues Bangkok man for ‘cloaking’ software

Sean Kelly

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Facebook sues Bangkok man for ‘cloaking’ software | The Thaiger
Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California PHOTO: AP

Facebook is suing a Bangkok resident for developing and marketing software that ‘cheats’ the social network’s advertising review process to enable users to post dangerous ads to other users.

Facebook explained that Mr Basant Gajjar, an Indian-American software architect living in the Thai capital, developed a “cloaking” technique in software that hides the real content of advertisements, while showing the user something else, essentially tricking Facebook’s review process from identifying inappropriate ads. His business, apparently thriving, is called ‘LeadCloak’.

The lawsuit outlined how Gajjars cloaking software allowed links to ads promoting the sale of sensationalised diet pills, cryptocurrency scams, even fake news relating to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Facebook said in the lawsuit that ‘cloaking’ is a malicious technique that impairs ad review systems by concealing the nature of the website linked to an ad.

Gajjar’s unregistered business LeadCloak has offered cloaking services and avoided discovery for well over four years since 2016, targeting firms including WordPress, Shopify, Alphabet Google, and Oath, according to Facebook.

“This suit will also further our efforts to identify Leadcloak’s customers and take additional enforcement actions against them”.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Technology

Mobile users can now register for 30 days of free data

Greeley Pulitzer

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Mobile users can now register for 30 days of free data | The Thaiger
PHOTO: DTAC Blog

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission yesterday gave details on how to register for 30 days of free mobile internet and a broadband speed upgrade. Registration begins today. The move supports the government’s policy of social distancing and encouraging people to work from home, while helping people cut utility bills during the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

But you need a Thai ID card to get your free internet and speed upgrade.

The measure is being financed by the Universal Service Obligation Fund, which comes from telecommunication licence auctions and contributions from telecom and broadcasting companies.

For free mobile internet, registration runs from today to April 30. All Thai nationals can register for 10 free gigabytes of mobile data for a single mobile number, so long as it was opened or registered on or before March 31.

Those who use monthly packages with more than 10 GB or unlimited data, and the numbers registered by companies and “juristic persons” are not eligible.

To register, a users should type *170*[their 13-digit national ID number]# and tap “call.”

The user will shortly receive a text message confirming or rejecting the registration. In case of rejection, a reason will be given. If the registration is successful, users can start using the free internet in a few minutes.

The NBTC’s secretary-general shared tips on how to make the most of the offer in a video clip on the agency’s Facebook page yesterday.

He says a user should first check how much data he currently gets under his package by typing *165*1# and tapping “call.” Then, he should also check the remaining time of the package (*165*2#).

For example, if the package ends on April 15, the user is advised against registering today. Instead, he should wait until his package ends and register on the following day, so he can use the free internet for the full 30 days.

For broadband internet users, service providers will automatically upgrade speeds to 100 megabits per second, so users don’t need to register. The speed upgrade is valid for 30 days from today.

Those who use ADSL or older techonologies will receive an upgrade to the highest speeds supported by equipment.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

The post-Covid-19 era: Radical changes in Bangkok’s property market

The Thaiger

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The post-Covid-19 era: Radical changes in Bangkok’s property market | The Thaiger

Property consultants CBRE have come up with their own evaluation of the current Bangkok office market, already getting pounded by regional trends and a high baht, now suffering another challenge – the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. They report that this situation will “create another split in our historical timeline – pre and post Covid-19” in Thailand.

“At present, people are talking about how a 100 year event like the Covid-19 global outbreak will affect Bangkok property,” says CBRE property consultants.

“For many years now, companies have been exploring remote work or work-from-home strategies to either minimise costs or cope with the changes of Millennial behaviour during the pre-Covid-19 period. At this time, almost every company, even those who are underprepared, is being forced to undertake this new way of working without a choice,” according to Ms. Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services, CBRE Thailand.

Companies are experimenting a work-from-home policy and perceive an opportunity that it could work when applied to certain business functions and set the right balance between empowering and monitoring teams. This could mean that the future workplace will have a combination of agile workplaces which could be a permanent office as well as work-from-home, and co-working space.

The outbreak is acting as a catalyst that will give a company a clear view whether its remote working policy, which it has been considering, works. Once businesses realise what platform or infrastructure they are missing to support remote work, tech services companies will be one of the first beneficiaries after the storm has passed.

“Many organisations will be looking for satellite offices and cloud-based platforms as a Business Continuity Plan to ensure their businesses will not go dark if their headquarters could not be accessed. Co-working space will be one of the best choices in this case as the company can rent space on demand only when needed. However, in the post-Covid-19 world, co-working space operators will need solid measures to satisfy users that their space are safe and well-prepared.”

CBRE found that while some hotels in Bangkok have decided to shut down during the lockdown period as occupancy rates were in a single-digit level, some organisations have been renting meeting or conference rooms within hotels for weeks to be their backup meeting space when needed.

“Agile workplace has been a hot topic in the pre-Covid-19 world, where collaboration and engagement are encouraged. Initially, agile workplace might sound like a high-risk option for companies at this time; however, as the name suggests, agile workplace or Activity Based Work areas can be easily reconfigured to support social distancing strategies and split teams within offices. Paperless office makes this transition even more seamless.”

In a bigger picture, CBRE Research witnesses many office developments in Bangkok will be delayed as construction activities are halted or postponed as developers take a more defensive stance to assess the situation on a daily basis.

It is also possible that development plans will be revised to make projects more appealing in the Post-Covid-19 era with better property management system, air filtration (as PM2.5 still lingers in the Bangkok skyline) or a well-thought-out BCP to support the tenants.

“Agile and adaptive will be key words in the post-Covid-19 office market, not only to increase efficiency of a workplace but to prepare a business for any unforeseen changes that could occur in the future.”

The post-Covid-19 era: Radical changes in Bangkok's property market | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Ms. Roongrat Veeraparkkaroon, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services, CBRE Thailand – CBRE

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