Vietnam talks up future ASEAN initiatives including an ASEAN University of information and communication technology during the World Economic Forum in Hanoi.
By Vietnam News – Asia News Network. Hanoi
Vietnam’s acting minister of information and communications, Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, says that Vietnam, as an emerging economy, should be able to take advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, even though the country missed the first three.
“The future does not depend on the past in this new era. Developing countries have fewer facilities from the previous revolutions, but they have fewer burdens and can move faster,” he told the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi.
He says success was not so much about technology as policy.
“Since developing countries don’t have a solid legal framework, they are more flexible to develop new policies to adapt and accept changes,” Hùng said.
The acting minister said he came to the event to share his initiatives about the future for Vietnam and the region.
“I want to share the idea of developing one ASEAN, meaning a flat ASEAN – no roaming charges or roaming charges as low as domestic charges so that everybody can travel but feel like they’re at home,” Hùng said.
He also suggested establishing an ASEAN university of information and communication technology (ICT), saying ICT is the key sector in the fourth industrial revolution. Hùng put forward an initiative to set up a regional cybersecurity information centre and expressed his hope that the initiatives will be discussed during the forum.
“Our life nowadays depends on the internet, but the internet is not safe enough – so we have to make it safer in the future,” he said.
Acting Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, attended the World Economic Forums with an initiative on a ‘flat ASEAN’ where no roaming charge would be applied.
Anne Birgitte Albrectsen, chief executive of Plan International, a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls, said she hoped discussions at the forum would help close the gender technology gap.
“We’re seeing that women actually have less access to the internet, less access to mobile phones. Young girls and women have fewer skills to enter the technology sector. Generally, in technology, we’re seeing only 10 per cent of the employees are young women. And they’re certainly not climbing the ladder in companies,” she said.
Social norms still lag behind, she added.
“Women are still expected to take care of the home. Young girls and women cannot be what they cannot see,” she said.
Sharing this opinion, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesian minister of finance, said that governments would have to prove their roles.
“It’s very exciting for young people to come into this fourth industrial revolution. But in order for this revolution to become an equal opportunity for everyone, there needs to be policies today that will prepare them to be able not only to use it and enjoy it but also to adapt and innovate,” she said.
STORY: The Nation
Strong growth from key markets compensate for slight dip in Chinese tourists
by Thanchanok Phobut | Senior Coordinator, Thailand
CBRE, international property consultants, believe that the Thai tourism market is still as resilient as ever.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced they are expecting more than 40 million tourists to visit Thailand this year, up from the record-breaking 38.3 million last year. According to the latest figures, the first two months of 2019 showed a 2.5% year-on-year growth in international tourist arrivals at 7.3 million, compared to 7.1 million the previous year.
In the first two months of 2019, the total number of Chinese tourist arrivals decreased slightly by 2.2% – 2.17 million in 2018 to 2.12 million this year. Chinese tourist arrivals in February, the month in which the Chinese New Year was celebrated this year, decreased by 12.3% year-on-year.
Other key feeder markets like Malaysia, India, Korea, and Japan showed double-digit growth in the first two months of 2019, with India having the highest growth at 20.1% year-on-year. Even though the combined number of tourists from these four feeder markets was smaller than that of the Chinese market alone, this positive trend could replace any loss of Chinese tourists. The challenge remains for Thailand to win back this biggest feeder market now that the most significant holiday for Chinese people has passed.
Bangkok still attracts tourists from around the world. The number of international tourist arrivals to Bangkok in the first two months of 2019 was 4.68 million, a 3% year-on-year growth. The development of a third runway in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, approved by the government on April 17, will strengthen Bangkok’s capacity to handle larger numbers of tourists in the future.
“In the first quarter of 2019, Rosewood Bangkok, a 159 key luxury hotel next to Phloen Chit BTS station, opened its doors to the public. This was one of Bangkok’s most highly-anticipated luxury hotel openings together with Capella Bangkok and Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River, both of which will open later this year, underpinning renewed interest in the riverside area and capitalising on recent developments outside of the hotel sector,” comments Mr. Atakawee Choosang, Head of Capital Markets – CBRE Hotels in Thailand.
CBRE believes that Bangkok will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the world with new luxury hotel openings, improving infrastructure, and attractions that appeal to a wide range of tourists.
World Bank downgrades Thailand’s 2019 GDP growth to 3.8%
The World Bank is downgrading Thailand’s growth projections to 3.8% from 3.9% for 2019. This compares to last year’s 4.1% GDP. The Bank says that export growth has shrunk to 5.7% from last year’s 5.9%.
The World Bank’s senior economist for Thailand, Mr. Kiatpong Ariyapratya, says that the Word Bank also projects that Thailand’s growth rate for next year would remain at 3.8%. He was citing the East Asia and Pacific Update report,
“Thailand’s export growth projection for this year was adjusted down because of a global economic slowdown as a result of the simmering trade war between the US and China. Growth in tourist arrivals to Thailand this year is also projected to drop slightly.”
Thai PBS reports that, although Thailand’s growth projection is lower than the average 4%-5% rate for the rest of ASEAN, Mr. Kiatpong said that Thailand’s economic growth trend was improving compared to the situation 2-3 years ago, especially investment in the government and private sectors and the private sector’s consumption is picking up, constituting the main engines of economic expansion, expected to grow 4.6% and 4.3% respectively.
He warned that investments by the government sector for the year 2021, as well as government procurement projects and private sector investments, might be affected if formation of the new government is further delayed.
Transport Ministry and State Railways told to pay HK company 11.9 billion baht
The long running issue of Bangkok’s ‘stonehenge’ has been resolved after the Supreme Administrative Court handed down its findings today over the disputed contract of the 60 kilometre link from central Bangkok to Don Mueang Airport.
The Thai Ministry of Transport and the State Railway of Thailand have been dealt a costly blow after the Supreme Administrative Court today overturned the Administrative Court’s verdict and ordered the two state agencies pay almost 11.9 billion baht in compensation to the Hong Kong-based Hopewell Holdings Company for the termination of the Hopewell project – a 60 kilometre elevated highway and rail line from central Bangkok to Don Meuang international airport back in the 90s.
Thai PBS reports that the compensation, plus another 500 million baht in bank guarantees put up by Hopewell Holdings Company, must be paid within 180 days of the verdict from the Supreme Administrative Court.
The Thai court’s verdict will put an end to the long-running legal battle, between the Transport Ministry and the SRT on one side and HK’s Hopewell Holdings on the other.
Hopewell Holding was granted the 30 year concession in 1990 to manage the project, given the nickname of the Thai “Stonehenge”. The project was riddled with difficulties and widely criticised, resulting in construction being suspended in 1992 and the eventual termination of the contract in 1998, with less than 20% of the work completed.
The dispute over compensation went through an arbitration process under the auspices of the Thai Arbitration Institute which in 2008 ruled in favour of Hopewell Holdings, with both the Transport Ministry and the SRT ordered to pay Hopewell about 12 billion baht in compensation for wrongful termination of the concession.
The two state agencies challenged the arbitration tribunal’s ruling by taking the case to the Administrative Court which in October 2014 overturned the tribunal’s ruling on the grounds that Hopewell’s claim was barred by a time limitation.
Hopewell Holdings then successfully appealed the ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court.
SOURCE: The PBS
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