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Thai smartphone sales ringing up big numbers

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PHUKET: Smartphone sales in Thailand more than doubled in the first four months of 2013, a report by one of the world’s largest research companies reveals.

The GfK Thailand office reports that communication consumer electronics went from being just one in every five handsets less than two years ago to more than two in five or 42% of overall unit sales in the last 12 months. Growth momentum started picking up at the beginning of 2012 with consumers in the Kingdom spending over 24.8 billion baht (US$800 million) on smartphones in the past year.

Although basic feature phones continue to make up the larger proportion of consumers’ handsets purchases in the country, demand has been progressively waning, with sales volume dropping by over 11% compared to the year before.

Revenue for the segment has correspondingly lunged by around 38% during this same period, accounting for just over 15% of the total handset market compared to 40% previously.

“Consumers’ demand for handsets has been growing successively every quarter since the second quarter of 2012, inflating the volume and value of the market considerably by 23 and 61% respectively in the past 12 months. “This growth’s been purely contributed by smartphones, which registered the greatest spike of 24% in volume sales in the first quarter of the year over the quarter before,” highlights Wichit Purepong, MD, GfK Thailand.

Intensified demand of smart-phones is generally seen across the country but the fastest growth was reported in the Northeast [Isaan] of Thailand. Sales units across the combined its 17 provinces more than quadrupled (344%) compared to the year before, far exceeding the momentum in the central and western regions, which reported only 17 and 11% growth.

“Although Isaan is the largest in term of population and size, it is the least developed and has the lowest average income in Thailand; and the low wage has propelled some of the natives here to head out to other parts of the country to find better paying jobs,” explained Purepong.

“However, the establishment of new industrial estates after the heavy flooding of 2011 has attracted the labor force back to Isaan, fueling higher demand in this case, for smartphones, since mid 2012.”

Another reason for the strong growth registered in Isaan is the availability of more smartphone models which matched the lower purchasing power of the local population.

“While the average price of a smartphone costs 9,300 baht ($300) in the most affluent area of Bangkok and vicinity, it costs around 7,133 baht ($230) in Isaan.

“In the last year, basic feature phones still made up the dominant segment but this trend will soon be reversed with smartphones contributing to a larger proportion of volume sales in the next year. We anticipate the adoption of smart-phones to be further expedited to rake in at least 70% growth in value … in the next year,” Mr Wichit
concluded.

Keep checking our online Phuket Business pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for the latest local and national business updates.

— GfK Thailand

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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