Phuket IT to overtake Singapore

PHUKET CITY: Information and communications technology (ICT) in Phuket will outstrip that of Singapore within two years, the head of Phuket’s newly-established Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) has ambitiously predicted. Dr Pongsak Kerdvongbundit, President of Sipa in Phuket, also announced that the organization’s office in Saphan Hin, which was officially opened on March 1 but initially remained unmanned, is now partially staffed and is ready to register information technology (IT) companies. Dr Pongsak also invited IT investors to a meeting on April 25 to discuss problems they have encountered setting up businesses on the island and to look for ways to help them. The meeting will be held at the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel in Phuket City, starting at 9 am. He told the Gazette that Sipa is encouraging all IT businesses on the island to register with its office, which now has one full-time staff member, with more on the way. “We expect to be fully staffed by April 20. The office here has been set up very quickly,” he said, admitting however, “The Sipa headquarters in Bangkok still doesn’t have an office, so this has held us up. “After the meeting, we will use the information we gather to develop a plan to meet the needs of investors and IT specialists working in Phuket. Within two years, ICT systems in Phuket will be better than in Singapore,” he predicted. There are now thought to be more than 200 IT firms located in Phuket, and a number of international companies have set up businesses here to produce short-range wireless network [Bluetooth] devices and medical equipment. Rattana Wetprasit, Acting Manager of the Sipa office in Phuket and currently its sole occupant, told the Gazette that she is ready to provide help to interested investors. “We’d like qualified IT companies to join in helping us establish Sipa’s pilot projects, such as our One-Stop Service,” she said. K. Rattana revealed that foreign labor issues were thus far among the most common queries. She said her office was now discussing the issue with the Board of Investment in order to find ways to make it more convenient for foreign IT experts to get work permits. Among Sipa’s other ambitious plans for Phuket are: – To help turn Phuket into an IT city by supporting software industry development to reach a target market value of 160 billion baht over the next five years; – To turn out up to 600 IT-literate workers a year after 2007 in four areas: software enterprise development, animation and multimedia, mobile phone and game applications, and embedded systems; – To expand the IT industry into the neighboring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi. IT investors may now register their businesses with the Sipa/Phuket office at Prince of Songkla University’s Saphan Hin campus. A form (in Thai only) for registration for the seminar can be downloaded at https://www.phuket.psu.ac.th/sipa/ext7-47.doc . Sipa’s Phuket office is open weekdays from 9 am to midday and 1 pm to 3 pm. For further information contact the office on the ground floor of the Research Center, Prince of Songkla University Phuket building, Saphan Hin, Tel: 076-356039; Fax: 076-356040; Email: sipa_phuket@lycos.com.

Phuket News

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