Phuket Business: Google extending online reach for local businesses

PHUKET: Celebrating its inaugural year and 100,000 new businesses online, Google Thailand’s ‘Thai Businesses Go Online’ program (TBGO) has paved the way for the next stage in the evolution of an economically prosperous online ecosystem. Highlighting TBGO’s success, the IT and Marketing mega-icon’s country office reported that it has attracted more than 100,000 participants nationwide in a year – far exceeding its initial target of getting 50,000 Thai businesses online.

Pornthip Kongchun, program spokesperson and Head of Marketing for Google Thailand, expressed her gratitude: “We are delighted to celebrate this milestone which would not have been possible without the significant effort invested by our partners – the Office of SME Promotion, the eCommerce Association of Thailand, Dot Arai, Webiz, Thai Post and Kasikorn Bank.

Ms Pornthip went on to highlight that the top three participating regions are Central (Bangkok), North (Chiang Mai) and Northeast-Isaan (Ubon Rachathani) Thailand.

“This shows the reach and increased opportunity that going online gives rural businesses, connecting any business with customers who may never step foot in their stores. We’re committed to building a vibrant Thai online ecosystem and to partnering with Thai businesses through every step of their online evolution,” she said.

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Of the 100,000 businesses, about 10,000, or 10%, were based in Thailand’s South, with just over 10% of these (about 1,000) based in Phuket, which was ranked fourth in the region behind Songkhla, Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Surat Thani.

Broken down by type of business, Phuket’s participants were dominated by retail with 31.3%, followed by services (18.6%), travel-tourism (13.2%), entertainment (9.1%), Business-to-business or B2B services (8.2%), real estate (5.8%), Food and Beverage (4%), education (3.6%), health (2.1%) and transport (2%).

This is compared to the entire Southern region as a whole with 47% being retail, followed by services (14.9%), entertainment (11.5%), B2B services (9.9%), tourism (7.4%), restaurant (3.6%), health (2.4%), real estate (2.2%) and offices (0.7%).

On a national scale it was retail, services, B2B services, entertainment, tourism and food/beverages representing the top five participating industries.

Despite the success of TBGO, there are still some bumps in the road ahead.

According to a recent study by the Electronic Transaction Development Agency (ETDA), 66% of small businesses say the number one challenge they face is the lack of expertise in promoting their products and services online, even though taking the first step by creating a website has on average increased their income and their customer base.

To address such a challenge, Google was pleased to announce the launch of “Google Trader”, a new choice to help Thai businesses connect with buyers in a vibrant local online marketplace.

The launch of Google Trader in Thailand is a complimentary addition to the TBGO program, giving Thai businesses a new choice as they continue their online evolution.

Google Trader helps buyers and sellers find each other on one simple platform, and being completely free to use, it also helps businesses promote themselves and gain access to greater economic opportunities.

Thailand is the first Asian market to launch Google Trader, with the firm recognizing the potential of the online ecosystem and the opportunity ahead for Thailand to contribute to regional growth as ASEAN prepares for an integrated economic community in 2015.

Through the on-going activities of the TBGO program and Google Trader, Google is helping to build a vibrant Thai internet that can contribute to Thailand’s continued economic growth and competitiveness while increasing quality Thai content online.

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