Digital platforms in Thailand face new transparency law, affecting over 1,000 major operators

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A new law issued by royal decree will come into effect on August 21, aimed at regulating digital platforms in Thailand while promoting transparency and consumer protection, according to Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn. The digital platform service law was was first published in the Royal Gazette on December 23, 2022.

Upon implementation, digital platforms looking to conduct business in Thailand will have to provide their business information to the country’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) before commencing operations. Existing operators have been given until November 18 to submit their details.

With the goal of regulating digital platforms, this decree mandates that large platform operators, based on revenue or the number of users, report key information such as their value of transactions, gross income from their services, the proportion of income from digital platforms operating in Thailand, and user figures to authorities on a yearly basis. Direct business-to-consumer platforms will not fall under the scope of this regulation.

Notably, the earlier draft of the decree required foreign operators to designate local representatives. However, the updated version of the digital platforms regulation demands only the appointment of a point of contact to communicate the necessary information, reported Bangkok Post.

Approximately 1,000 major digital platform operators including Facebook, YouTube, Google, and numerous e-marketplaces are anticipated to be impacted by this law. Digital platforms required to comply include legal entities earning more than 50 million baht annually and individuals making over 1.8 million baht per year.

Chaichana Mitrpant, Executive Director of the ETDA, explained that operators currently registered with Thailand’s Commerce Ministry will also need to register with the ETDA.

Dhiraphol Suwanprateep, Counsel for Intellectual Property and Technology at Baker McKenzie, advised existing digital platform operators to evaluate their business structures to determine their compliance with the decree’s requirements and prepare for notification before the November 18 deadline.

“The term digital platform service is quite broad and there is no clear precedent or official guideline from the ETDA, meaning it is unclear for certain businesses if they fall under the decree,” said Suwanprateep. “Being mindful of the notification deadline, operators should seek clarification in order to prepare for compliance.”

In addition to this, offshore digital platform service operators subject to the decree will need to appoint a coordinator within Thailand. Pattaraphan Paiboon, Partner at Baker McKenzie, emphasised that the roles and responsibilities of such coordinators differ from those of representatives required under the country’s data protection law.

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