Thailand outlines cloud first policy to become Southeast Asia’s AI hub

As part of its vision to become Southeast Asia’s artificial intelligence (AI) hub by 2027, Thailand is strategising to attract more foreign technology investment in cloud data centres. The country’s Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister, Prasert Jantanaruangthong, has outlined a plan to achieve this aim through a cloud-first policy. This policy emphasises public usage of a single digital ID platform for government services, alongside the development of a workforce equipped with AI skills.

The country’s national AI strategy roadmap is scheduled for implementation in its second phase next year. Spanning from 2022 to 2027, the roadmap is determined to generate 48 billion baht in business and social impacts by 2027. The intention is to establish Thailand as ASEAN’s AI hub within the next four years, using innovation as a driver for economic growth and inclusive equality for social development.

A significant meeting led by the prime minister is set to be held by the National Digital Economy and Society Commission on December 22. The agenda will primarily focus on the second phase of the national AI strategy roadmap. The meeting will also discuss the introduction of a national digital ID as a single platform for accessing government services, including those offered by the private sector.

In addition to these plans, Thailand is partnering with tech giants from the US, China, and Japan to construct cloud data centres. During the Huawei Cloud AI Summit Thailand 2023, Prasert signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huawei.

This MoU covers four major areas: building AI knowledge for Thailand with specific use cases; facilitating the ministry’s transition towards a digital economy and society; training employees in AI; and reskilling/upskilling employees in small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups.

The MoU signing serves to strengthen the partnership between the ministry and Huawei, to build generative AI use cases and applications using the Thai language. The agreement is also intended to develop AI skills among the workforce, possibly generating 50,000 skilled workers within five years. This strategy is vital in bolstering Thailand’s position in becoming a regional AI hub.

David Li, chief executive of Huawei Thailand, stated that AI signifies a significant breakthrough, developed to generate content. He expressed his belief that in the next two years, 50% of the core app industry would be driven by AI. Li also affirmed Huawei’s readiness to assist Thailand, its government, and industries in piloting AI for future and rapid digital development in the transformative AI era.

National AI strategy

The national AI strategy of the government is aimed at elevating Thailand’s position in the AI readiness index from 59th in 2021 to the top 50 in 2025. The strategy is also expected to generate 48 billion baht in business and social impacts by 2027, and Huawei is assisting Thailand in reaching these targets.

Huawei’s AI value propositions include a Thai language model, trained on a Thai corpus, and this has converged with Huawei’s industry knowledge accumulated over three decades. This innovation eliminates language barriers to accessing foundation models, allowing Thailand to transition from an AI user to an AI creator.

In the field of meteorology, Huawei Cloud has collaborated with Thailand’s Meteorological Department to develop the Pangu weather model for the country. This effort is aimed at intensifying the digitisation of Thailand’s agricultural and tourism sectors.

The model has already outpaced current numerical weather prediction methods with much faster prediction speeds. For instance, predicting the trajectory of a typhoon over 10 days, which usually takes five hours, can now be calculated in 10 seconds thanks to the Pangu weather model, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

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