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One ASEAN – no roaming charges

The Thaiger & The Nation



One ASEAN – no roaming charges | The Thaiger

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.

One ASEAN - no roaming charges | News by The Thaiger

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.

One ASEAN - no roaming charges | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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BOI approves new rail services, new port investment

The Thaiger



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

The Thaiger



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



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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