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Digital transformation well underway in Thailand with launch of wallet scheme

Government aims for central role in “golden era” for ASEAN digital economy
Digital transformation well underway in Thailand with launch of wallet scheme

Thailand is beginning the implementation of its digital wallet program, as the government makes further commitments on a national AI strategy and its mission to attract digital talent that will help it become a digital economic hub in southeast Asia.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry’s National Cybersecurity Agency (NCSA) has been tasked with overseeing security for the wallet rollout scheme, which involves distributing 10,000 baht (about US$270) to 50 million Thai citizens.

At the same time, the Digital Government Agency (DGA) will handle digital ID registration for the government’s national digital identity initiative through its “Tang Rat” app, which already has around 1.2 million downloads. Interoperability between Tang Rat and the digital wallet would be a natural next step, but the government has yet to announce details on how the two systems will cooperate.

Officials with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) say 1,626 of a possible 2,376 government services have already been developed as e-services, and that digital ID will help facilitate access for citizens. The DES’s goal is to get 50 percent of citizens using digital IDs this year, and 100 percent by 2025.

AI committee will pave way for second stage of national strategy

Meanwhile, the DES is also moving ahead with plans to form a new national AI committee as part of its effort to advance the second phase of the national AI strategy. Pattaya Mail reports on the recent Huawei Digital and Intelligence APAC Congress 2024 in Bangkok, where DES Minister Prasert Jantararuangtong announced that the AI committee is expected to be established by June. A parallel program will focus on formal regulations, guidelines and laws around the ethical use of AI.

The Minister says “Thailand gives priority to the development of digital and intelligence technology to make the digital economy the growth engine of the policy to enhance the country’s competitiveness and the efficiency of electronic transactions and the development of the digital workforce.”

Other flagship digital transformation projects under DES include the Cloud First Policy on government cloud deployment, usage standards, security and procurement guidelines; and the development of a large language model based on the Thai language.

Asia-Pacific wants to be a model for digital transformation

An article in Business Korea gives further detail on the Huawei conference in Bangkok, which showcased a range of digital development and transformation initiatives from across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – what Simon Lin, president of Huawei’s Asia-Pacific Region, calls a “golden era of digital economic development.”

The company’s CFO and Deputy Chairwoman of the Board Sabrina Meng expresses similar sentiments. “Asia-Pacific is not only one of the world’s most vibrant regions. It has also become a role model for other regions that are trying to go digital and grow their digital economies.”

The ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) is the world’s first region-wide digital economy agreement covering areas such as digital ID, digital payments, data flows, trade and much more.

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