Latest ASEAN news

Bangkok Bank Seeks to Bridge More Thai Investments to Indonesia

Jakarta. Bangkok Bank, Southeast Asia's sixth-largest lender by assets, saw ample opportunities to bridge more Thailand businesses to invest in Indonesia and bring the two economies closer following a landmark deal that saw the lender acquire Bank Permata, one of Indonesia's largest lenders last year. 

“Bangkok Bank is pleased to help bring investment into Indonesia as well as help Indonesian companies seeking gold opportunities across Asean and beyond," Chartsiri Sophonpanich, president of Bangkok Bank and president commissioner of Bank Permata said, during a media visit to  Berita Satu Media Holdings on Thursday. 

"With the synergy between Bangkok Bank and PermataBank and our international network, we will work together to create opportunities for our clients to do more in Indonesia,” Sophonpanich said, referring to the local lender by its trade name.  

He said Indonesia’s agriculture and automotive industries as areas that have captured the interests of Thai clients. The opportunities also lie in long-term infrastructure, as Indonesia is abundant in natural resources, Sophonpanich said. 

Last month, Thai Oil, the country's largest refinery, inked a deal to invest Rp 25 trillion ($1.7 billion) in Chandra Asri Petrochemical, a local petrochemical company, highlighting the massive potential for Thailand's investments in Indonesian companies. 

In Indonesia, foreign direct investment (FDI) is steadily climbing, bucking the global downtrend following the Covid-19 pandemic. The total FDI investments reached $8.0 billion in the second quarter this year, up by 17 percent from $6.8 billion last year, data from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) showed. 

In the first semester of 2021, Thailand has thus far invested $319 million, compared to the $49 million invested in Indonesia in the first half of 2020, BKPM data showed. The investment board does not include finance, banking, and the oil and gas sectors in its FDI statistics.

Bangkok Bank acquired Bank Permata, Indonesia’s 12th largest bank by assets, last year in a $2.3-billion deal that increased Bangkok Bank’s international portfolio to about 25 percent of its total portfolio, from just 18 percent previously. 

The acquisition and subsequent merger with Bangkok Bank's three branches in Indonesia have also allowed Bank Permata to become a BUKU-4 bank, with more than Rp 30 trillion in core capital. 

"As a BUKU-4 bank, PermataBank can offer a wide range of services to more Indonesian customers. Bangkok Bank’s Indonesian customers can also gain access to a wide range of enhanced banking services that we could previously offer through our foreign bank branches," Sophonpanich said. 

So far, it has proved beneficial for Bank Permata's performance, as the lender managed to reap a net income of Rp 639 billion in the first half of 2021, a 75 percent increase compared to the same period last year. 

Sophonpanich said that the integration of banking and service industries would only be increasing in the years to come, especially considering the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Similar to how the SARS virus in 2003 led to an increase in e-commerce and online systems in China, Sophonpanich believes a change in banking and financial systems will also occur throughout Asean due to the pandemic. 

Most notably, this change would come in the form of mass digitalization. In the future, the company plans to focus on digitalization and its youth groups. This includes digital transactions beyond banking and digital innovation that are seamless and understand their client’s lifestyle. 

Sophonpanich is confident that business post-pandemic will blossom. “Covid-19 is changing the behavior of our industry. We will definitely see more integration, cooperation, and collaboration amongst different entities together in the future,” he said. 

Kobsak Pootrakool, the executive vice president of Bangkok Bank, agrees with this sentiment and added the possibility of more unity within the Asean banking industries as a whole, “Covid-19 will pass, and the Asean region will strive back very strongly. As time passes, one Asean will be possible, and all the services will follow too,” Pootrakool said.


AUGUST 05, 2021

Source :Jakarta Globe
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The Digital Ministers approves a Declaration identifying 12 actions to accelerate the digital transition of the economy and governments

The G20 Ministerial Meeting on digitalization was held today in Trieste and chaired by Minister for Economic Development Giancarlo Giorgetti and Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition Vittorio Colao. Undersecretary of State for Economic Development Anna Ascani also attended the meeting.

The Italian Presidency placed the issue of the digital transformation of productive activities towards sustainable economic growth at the heart of the debate, with a particular focus on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, social inclusion, governance, and the development and application of innovative technologies.

Building on the achievements and commitments of past Presidencies and acknowledging the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the economy, employment, and the wellbeing of our societies, Ministers recognized their responsibility to work together to increase the overall positive effects of digitalisation, building on common objectives and converging on action principles as a means to accelerate the digital transformation and reflect on how to reap its benefits, while addressing the challenges ahead. The work of the DETF (Digital Economy Task Force) was enriched by a multistakeholder approach through the organisation of dialogue forums and consultations with engagement groups.

G20 Members signed a Declaration that identifies 12 actions to accelerate the digital transition:

  • Digital Transformation in Production for Sustainable Growth. Ministers commit to leveraging digitalisation for an economic recovery that intends to be resilient, strong, sustainable and inclusive, in the three dimensions of “people, planet and prosperity”, leaving no one behind. Ministers recognise that companies have to be prepared for the “new normal” and for further technological shifts, in order to cope with future challenges towards a sustainable, open, shared and more innovative economy. They acknowledge that there is a need to increase efforts on developing a human-centered approach to digital economy that also takes into account the needs and perspective of traditionally vulnerable groups. Ministers therefore commit to take action towards reinforcing industrial policies and international cooperation for the digital transformation of production for sustainable growth, in a way beneficial to all.
  • Leveraging Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence for MSME Inclusiveness and Promotion of Startups. Ministersreaffirm their willingness to implement trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI). They acknowledge the need to bolster the AI capabilities of MSMEs, including their capability to use data, access finance, share opportunities, and build a talented and skilled workforce.
  • Measurement, Practice and Impact of the Digital Economy. To support an inclusive and multi-stakeholder dialogue on measurement, Ministers affirm that the 2020 Roadmap can help ensure that measurement of the digital economy remains a priority in G20 countries and in International Organisations, and that adequate resources are devoted to its implementation. They value the contribution of sharing good practices, also in relation to monitoring digital economy developments beyond the G20 itself, especially with regard to the measurement of AI and the digital gender divide.
  • Consumers Awareness and Protection in the Global Digital Economy. Ministerscommit to take action to raise awareness, educate and support consumers, including through digital literacy programs, with the aim of preventing the detriment of consumers and ensuring consumer protection regarding product quality and safety, privacy and personal data protection, and unfair commercial practices, with particular consideration for vulnerable consumers. They also stress the need to promote stronger international cooperation, including between consumer protection authorities. Furthermore, the Presidency opened the dialogue on distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, and produced a G20 Report on Blockchain in Global Value Chains to increase knowledge on transparency and accountability of products for the benefit of consumers.
  • Child Protection and Empowerment in the Digital Environment. Ministers are pleased to include the protection and empowerment of children in the digital environment, for the first time, among the priorities of the G20 Digital Economy. They stress theshared responsibility of different stakeholders, especially the providers of digital services and products, in creating a digital environment that both empowers and protects children. To promote a safe, secure, inclusive, transparent and beneficial digital environment for children, centered around age-appropriate and high-quality online content, Ministers are guided by the G20 High Level Principles on child protection and empowerment, drawn from the OECD Recommendation, which can be instrumental to guide policies.
  • Encourage Innovation for Smart Cities and Communities. Ministers welcome the Italian Presidency’s Report of G20 Practices of Innovative Public Procurement for Smart Cities and Communities, as a tool to increase and share knowledge.
  • Connectivity and Social Inclusion. Ministers affirm their commitment to bridge connectivity gaps, and encourage the goal of promoting universal and affordable access to connectivity for all by 2025. They believe that enhanced collaboration and exchange of practices at international level and interaction with stakeholders can contribute to our connectivity and social inclusion goals.
  • Data Free Flow with Trust and Cross-border Data Flows. Building upon and recognising the work and achievements of the Japanese and Saudi Presidencies, Ministers acknowledge the work of the OECD on Mapping Commonalities in Regulatory Approaches to Cross-border Data Transfers, which identifies “commonalities, complementarities and elements of convergence” across different approaches. Such commonalities can foster future interoperability.
  • Digital Tools for Public Services. Moving from the 2018 G20 Digital Government Principles, developed under the Argentine Presidency, Ministers focused on how to guide and improve the digitalisation of public services to better meet the needs of citizens. They therefore commit to pursue and ensure the quality, diffusion and accessibility of digital public services, and to foster better skills for civil servants.
  • Digital identity. The importance of easily usable, reliable, secure, trusted, and portable digital identity solutions is recognised as a means to guarantee secure access to digital services to citizens and businesses, protecting their privacy. Reference is also made to the potential of digital identity in emergency and humanitarian aid contexts. 
  • Agile Regulation. The role of agile regulation in fostering innovation and economic growth, as well as in controlling and preventing possible negative impacts of technological progress on society and on the planet is acknowledged. The contribution of the Survey on agile regulation across G20 Members is welcomed as a useful tool to share experiences and common approaches to more agile governance and regulatory models for innovation.
  • Transformation of the task force into a permanent Working Group. Ministers commit to continue working towards digitalization for resilient, strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery while tackling inequalities. In this regard they welcome the transformation of the Digital Economy Task Force (DETF) into a Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG).


Source: The G20

Original published date: 05 August, 2021

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Jokowi Launches Simplified Business Licensing System to Boost Investment

Indonesia has launched a risk-based online single submission system for business licensing on Monday, a long-delayed milestone that the government had hoped would improve the ideas of doing business in the country and boost investment.

"Business licensing that is integrated, fast, and simple, determine our competitiveness to attract investment," President Joko "Jokowi," Widodo said during an inauguration event for the Risk-Based Online Single Submission (OSS) System at the Ministry of Investment and Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) office in Jakarta on Monday.

Jokowi said the new risk-based OSS system provides service standards for all levels of government that issue permits at the central and regional levels. The system defined clearer responsibilities of the licensee and made licensing services more integrated, Jokowi said.

“I also want to emphasize that risk-based OSS services are not meant to castrate local authority," the president said.

BKPM data showed domestic and foreign direct investments in Indonesia grew 10 percent reached Rp 443 trillion ($30 billion) in the first six months this year compared to the same period last year.

Minister of Investment and the Head of BKPM Bahlil Lahadalia said the new risk-based OSS system could link investors with ministries or agencies, local governments, administrators of special economic zones (KEK), and the Free Port Free Trade Zone (KPBPB).

The OSS system can accommodate licensing process for 1,702 kinds of businesses, including 1,349 already registered in the  Indonesian Standard Classifications of Business (KBLI), which have been implemented in the risk-based OSS system, minister said.



Source: JakartaGlobe

Author(s): Novy Lumanauw, Triyan Pangastuti

Original published date: 10 August, 2021

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Thai farmers reap THB79.46m in exports from online business matching

Thai agricultural cooperatives clinched export deals worth 79.46 million baht (US$2.41 million) at the latest Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) online business-matching event.

The July 29-30 event saw 22 companies from nine Asian countries – Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Japan, and India – negotiate contracts with Thai farming co-operatives, the DITP said.

The main items ordered were Thai jasmine rice, white rice, milk tablets, dairy products, and processed beef products. Organic products were highlighted to tap strong international demand focused on health and the environment.

DITP said that to increase value of agricultural products, manufacturing processes should focus on quality, traceability, and certification by a reliable organisation.

The department highlighted the remarkable popularity of Thai milk tablets, citing their high nutrient value and lack of variety in foreign markets.

Online business matching in the first seven months of 2021 (January-July) matched 1,684 Thai traders with 962 foreign importers, yielding estimated total turnover of 13.86 billion baht this year, the DITP said. Agricultural sales accounted for 9.74 billion baht of that turnover.

The business-matching aimed to boost Thailand’s status as a world food producer while raising income levels in the agricultural sector, said DITP deputy director-general Somdet Susomboon.

Directly linking Thai cooperatives with foreign buyers would benefit local communities, he added.

Those who would like to join the business-matching can contact DITP Call Center 1169 or (02) 507 7825 or visit the Facebook page.

Source: The Nation Thailand

DITP taps Walmart as new sales channel for Thai exports

Walmart’s online platform has grown quickly to become the second-largest e-retail platform in the US after Amazon. The platform is likely to gain a greater share in the US market going forward.

The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) has invited nine Thai trade associations to talks with Walmart on increasing sales channels for Thai goods in international online markets such as the US, Canada, Mexico and Argentina. The aim of the talks is to boost the country's exports.

The nine associations joining the talks are the Thai Furniture Association, Thai Gifts Premiums & Decorative Association, Thai Housewares Trade Association, Thai Lifestyle Products Federation, Northern Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Thai Toys and Children Product Trade Association, Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association, Thai Autoparts Manufacturers Association, and Federation of Thai Industries (furniture and air-conditioning & refrigeration industries).

The move comes after Walmart recognised Thai businesses’ strength in producing high-quality products with a variety of designs, said DITP director-general Somdet Susomboon.

He added that to meet the US market's demand during the Covid-19 crisis, Walmart wants a large number of Thai products, including furniture, housewares, house decor, toys, automotive parts, electric appliances and air-conditioners.

He added that the department is working under Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit's policy to encourage businesses to use online trading systems to expand their sales in international markets amid the sluggish economic recovery due to the Covid-19 crisis.

"The department has achieved success in boosting the country’s exports in the first half of this year, with 14.67 billion baht generated from activities operated via online channels," he said.

"We have received a policy directive to speed up the operation in the second half of this year, to generate more revenue for the country."

Among activities in the first half of this year is "Yi Pua [Chinese for middlemen] Online Connect", which gathered over 52 foreign middlemen to purchase and distribute Thai products via several large online platforms from May 24-28.

"This activity generated contracts and exports worth 288 million baht, much higher than the original target of 100 million baht," Somdet said.

He added that the Thai Trade Centre in Chicago had invited retail giants in the US market to purchase and distribute Thai products via Walmart under the "Yi Pua Online Connect" as well.

Walmart’s online platform has grown quickly to become the second-largest e-retail platform in the US after Amazon. The platform is likely to gain a greater share in the US market going forward.

Products being focused on by Walmart Global Sourcing include automotive parts (sun visors and seat covers), furniture (beds and office chairs) and home decorations for Christmas and Easter. These are Walmart's best-sellers, with orders of 1-12 million items per year in each product category.

Source: The Nation Thailand

Thailand set to resume rice export to Iraq after seven years

Thai exporters are currently preparing to export 44,000 tonnes of 100 per cent white rice to Iraq for the first time in seven years after Baghdad had suspended the import of Thai rice.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on his Facebook post on Sunday that he expected the export in the middle of August this year, after which Thai exporters could gradually export more rice to Iraq.

"The government is ready to promote Thai exporters to open more rice markets in addition to the three main markets -- premium, general and niche -- which will be a positive sentiment for Thai rice farmers as well," he said.

He added that the government is also ready to promote Thai exporters to trade agricultural products in Asia, the Middle East and other regions.

"Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Commerce Ministry to promote rice and other Thai agricultural products to increase their share in the global market and compensate for the slowdown in domestic consumption due to Covid-19 and the economic slowdown," he added.

ERC plans to develop free market for LNG trade

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) plans to fully develop a free market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade in the next three years to ensure enough gas supply and fair prices.

LNG import had been monopolised by national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc since 2011. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand entered the market after being granted a shipping licence in 2019.

The ERC later granted licences to six other firms -- Electricity Generating Co, Gulf Energy Development Plc, B.Grimm Power Plc, Hinkong Co, PTT Global LNG Co and Siam Cement Group -- in line with the government's policy to open the LNG market.

ERC secretary-general Khomgrich Tantravanich said steps are being taken to pave the way for the free market on condition that the seven firms are required to sell gas to buyers who do not have long-term purchase agreements with PTT.

The long-term purchase is based on take-or-pay contracts which commit buyers to paying for the fixed amount of gas though their usage may be lower than the amount stated in the contracts.

The seven companies will be first allowed to import LNG from the spot market at 0.48 million tonnes this year, 1.74 million tonnes next year and 3.02 million tonnes in 2023.

Imported LNG will feed gas-fired power plants which produce electricity for use and sale among factories.

In the next step, LNG shippers will be given permission to import gas through long-term purchase contracts.

They will be eventually allowed to re-export gas.

"We want to see free competition under our regulations in order to ensure reasonable electricity prices'' said Mr Khomgrich.

He said at least two firms are likely to compete in the long-term LNG supply but declined to name them.

In 2019, 72% of natural gas supply came from domestic sources, including Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area in the Gulf of Thailand, 15% came from Myanmar and 13% from LNG imports.

Source: Bangkok Post

BCG model touted as solution for ailing economy

The bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy is likely the best model in the short term to revitalise a Thai economy battered by Covid-19 outbreaks, says Suvit Maesincee, the former higher education, science, research and innovation minister.

Based on Thailand's strengths in agriculture, its rich natural resources, diversity and physical geography, BCG is the best model to rehabilitate the Thai economy in the short term, said Mr Suvit.

The model aims to create inclusive growth in Thai society, he said.

"BCG development covers not only the grassroots economy, but also community businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, large businesses, startups and smart farmers," said Mr Suvit, one of the architects of the Thailand 4.0 national strategy focused on added value, high technology and innovation. "BCG can also create development links from local to global, as well as align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals."

He said Thailand's BCG development should focus on five sectors: food, healthcare, sustainable energy, tourism and the creative economy.

BCG development ranges from local tourism promotion to calls for support from large businesses to use more domestic raw materials, as well as produce more domestic R&D and locally skilled personnel without awaiting foreign investment, said Mr Suvit.

"The economic model can improve security in terms of health, food supply, energy, income generation and job creation," he said.

Mr Suvit listed four reasons for the government to promote BCG.

The first reason is BCG is the only S-curve sector to retain high competitiveness given the nation's rich natural resources and diversity of biological resources. Its development could be based on Thailand's bountiful domestic raw materials without waiting for foreign investment or technology, unlike electric vehicles, robotics or aviation, he said.

Mr Suvit said many Thai companies already conducted research on how to create added value from sugar cane and rice.

The government should support a fund to help community businesses and startups upgrade their business because it can create value for other farm products such as tapioca, palm seeds and fruit, he said.

"Many communities have successfully developed businesses from Thai herbs and fruit, such as cosmetics from mangosteen and medicine from herbs," said Mr Suvit. "Those small businesses need the full support of the government to upgrade their quality standards and ensure better access to export markets."

Community tourism that offers homestays at farms and promotes local culture should be seriously developed and promoted because it can create jobs and generate income quickly once the pandemic is controlled, he said.

The second compelling reason for BCG is Thailand can ramp up food exports after the pandemic eases because climate change is expected to bring about food, energy and water shortages, said Mr Suvit.

If the government developed irrigation to cover the farm sector nationwide, with better water management, Thailand could supply more food to the world and generate more income for people in remote areas, he said.

BCG should also be able to narrow income disparities, said Mr Suvit. There are 18 clusters of BCG that can be developed in each region.

The final reason is the government should include BCG development in global forums such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which Thailand is scheduled to host next year, as well as other economic cooperation frameworks, he said.

Mr Suvit described Thailand's current BCG development structure as impractical and said it may fail to boost the economy in the short and medium term.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha established two committees in October 2020 to handle BCG development: the BCG economy development committee and a management committee to drive the BCG economy, both chaired by the premier.

The first meeting of the latter in January approved a five-year strategic plan to promote the BCG economy, spanning 2021 to 2026. The government agreed to place the BCG economic model on the national agenda to speed up development because it could increase the value of farm products and the initiative as a whole is part of a global development trend.

Nine subcommittees were esta-­ blished to drive the country's BCG development.

The second meeting, on July 13, approved an action plan for BCG strategic development spanning 2021 to 2027.

However, Mr Suvit proposed the prime minister establish small teams to drive BCG development under his direct supervision. The small teams should set the development agenda and make proposals to the national BCG strategy committee, he said.

The National Economic and Social Development Council and Foreign Ministry should act as co-secretaries to the national BCG strategy committee, said Mr Suvit. The nine subcommittees should be cut to four working committees on food, healthcare, sustainable energy, and tourism and the creative economy, he said.

Source:  Bangkok Post

CTBC banking on Thai SMEs

Photo: Ms Chompoonoot said Thailand is a strategic market for CTBC in Asean.

Taiwan-based CTBC Bank feels Thai SMEs still have room to further develop

Taiwan-based CTBC Bank (CTBC), a major shareholder of Land and Houses Bank (LH Bank), sees high growth potential of Thai small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the long term, though the SME segment is still facing hardships amid the pandemic, LH Bank president Chompoonoot Pathomporn said in an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post.

Raising shareholding

CTBC, Taiwan's largest privately held bank, has been seeking to increase shareholding in LH Bank. The Taiwanese bank is intending to acquire additional shares from key shareholders of LH Bank, Piangjai Harnpanij and Pairoj Paisarnsrisomsuk, totalling 10.99% of total shares with voting rights and total paid-up share totalling 4.2 billion baht.

Once the deal is successful, CTBC will have a total shareholding of 46.60%, up from the existing 35.62%. The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities in Taiwan and the Bank of Thailand (BoT), according to LH Bank's recent notification to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Ms Chompoonoot said Thailand is a strategic market for CTBC in Asean. The Taiwanese bank also has a presence in Indonesia and the Philippines. The foreign major shareholder sees greater business opportunities in the Thai market, especially the SME segment.

Given the progress of SME development in Taiwan and CTBC for more than 10 years, CTBC sees Thai SMEs still have room to further develop, particularly new generation SME business owners.

The number of younger entrepreneurs and startups in Thailand has been increasing in line with more young people who want to be business owners rather than employees of large corporates.

"New generation entrepreneurs and startups are doing business based on knowledge and technology. With the knowledge-based economy of Taiwan, CTBC has been helping the bank with technology development to support local SMEs grow sustainably in the long run," she said.

SME standards

The business size of both Taiwanese and Thai SMEs is similar. Under strong regulations and long-term development, Taiwanese SMEs have high discipline and standards in business operations covering finance, accounting and tax. Thai SMEs need to develop and standardise business operations in such areas growing in the long term.

Given the Covid-19 impact, especially on local SMEs, some of the bank's SME customers can adjust operations and generate income positively. The bank has been analysing the survivors and found that accountancy is a key factor.

"We have a case study of a client who is a restaurant owner. The customer pays interest on income and expense accounts and cut operating costs amid the pandemic. At the same time, the customer has been moving to the delivery and digital platform. With the adjustment, the client can keep positive income and survive," she said.

Ms Chompoonoot said the bank has studied surviving SME cases in depth as a guidance for other SME customers, besides offering them financial assistance through debt restructuring. For the second half of this year, the bank will focus on helping customers overcome the difficult situation in both financial and non-financial areas.

Apart from debt restructuring, LH Bank has supported additional liquidity to SME clients through the BoT's soft loan scheme. As well, some customers have been demanding a soft loan for business recovery in the fourth quarter of the year.

LH Bank has offered a three-month debt holiday covering both principal and interest for SME customers suffering from the government's measures to contain new infections. The debt moratorium from July 19 to Aug 15 is in line with the BoT's measure opening financial institutions to suspend debt payment for SMEs for at least two months.

Growing trade finance

Given CTBC's expertise in trade finance, LH Bank has gradually expanded the business for the past few years with know-how from the major shareholder. For 2020, the bank showed positive growth of the customer base in this business segment at 30% from the previous year.

The bank expects to maintain the double-digit growth rate this year against the backdrop of rebounding exports in accordance with global economic recovery.

Moreover, Ms Chompoonoot said the bank needs to improve in several areas to facilitate trade finance business expansion, especially technology and digital development.

Trade financial business requires a lot of operational and documentary processes, so these need to be shortened through digital technology offering customers more convenience and efficiency.

"Despite the pandemic, we've been going forward on the existing development and investment plan in preparation for business operation after the outbreak ends and in the longer term," she said.

First-half earnings

Amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the bank still pays attention to helping customers rather than business expansion. However, the bank is satisfied with results for the first half of this year. Despite booking a drop in net profit, the bank showed positive growth in some financial targets and business segments.

LH Financial Group (LHFG), the holding company of LH Bank, announced net profit for the first half at 1.03 billion baht, down 21.93% from the same period of last year, due to the decrease in gains on investment and dividend income and the increase in other operating expenses.

The group recorded net interest income growth of 3.9% in the first half this year, on a year-on-year basis, while net fees and service income increased 25.8%.

As of June, LH Bank booked total loan growth of 5.8% from the end of last year, mainly from conglomerate and corporate loan growth at 12.3% and retail loan growth of 7.3%. But commercial and SME loans dropped 2.6%.

Ms Chompoonoot said the Taiwanese customer base in Thailand is a key segment to facilitate corporate loan growth and the business has continued to grow.

Service quality, forging relationships with foreign customers and responding to their requirements are the key reasons for expanding business in the Thai market.

"The Taiwanese seem cost-conscious investors, while other banks offer them lower interest rates than LH Bank. We've continued to build up the customer base with service quality, understanding and building relationships with them. Pricing is a secondary factor," she said.

Focusing on home loans

Because Land and Houses (LH) Group, a local large real estate developer, is a major shareholder in LH Bank, mortgage loans are another core business of the bank. Even though LH Bank suspended housing loan expansion for the past few years to restructure internal processes, the bank has expanded business for the past few years and shown positive growth.

As of June, the bank booked housing loan growth of 7.7% from the end of last year. The growth rate largely stemmed from upper-income homebuyers who still have high purchasing power despite the pandemic.

For housing loan product, the bank has concentrated on residential projects priced at least 5 million baht.

Meanwhile, homebuyers who buy property priced around 20 million baht are the key segment contributing mortgage loan growth in the first half this year. Besides the strong purchasing power of this customer segment, promotional campaigns are a key factor attracting upper-income homebuyers.

Digital channel

Digital banking is another key area that the bank plans to grow. LH Bank has been upgrading investment features on its mobile banking app and the new version is scheduled to launch at the beginning of next year.

Investment features development would respond to the requirements of the bank's deposit and investment customer base. The bank plans to offer a full range of financial advisory services on the digital platform, generating better fee-based income from the business area.

The bank also aims to maintain brick-and-mortar branches at the existing number of 108 and adapt traditional outlets to advisory centres rather than offering transaction banking services. Meanwhile, banking transactions will be migrated to the digital platform in line with the changing lifestyles of consumers in the digital era.

Source: Bangkok Post

Cambodias' SME goods eyed for Amazon

The Cambodian business community is eager to work with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) across the country to list a curated selection of high-quality offerings on, the well-known US e-commerce platform.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) director-general Nguon Meng Tech said the two sides discussed the mechanisms for exporting Cambodian products to the US via Amazon, the preparation of quality and standard requirements, and the use and necessary particulars relating to barcodes.

“I have advised all Cambodian entrepreneurs who are producers to get in touch with directly to benefit and set standards that meet their requirements,” he told The Post on August 11. “We can sell our products on the platform, which is the largest online system in the world.”

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and the US remained resilient in the first half of 2021, clocking in at $3.8402 billion, or a 32.8 per cent surge from the $2.8917 billion booked in the same period last year, according US Census Bureau data.

Cambodian exports to the US during the January-June period were valued at $3.6376 billion, climbed 32.4 per cent year-on-year, while imports were to the tune of $202.6 million, rising 40.3 per cent, on August 7.


Author: Thou Vireak

Images credits: AFP

Source: The PhnomPenh Post

For full article, please read here.

Original published date: 11 August 2021


Thailand offers tax incentives to boost production technology

The Ministry of Industry of Thailand expects Thailand to become a leading country with robotic and automation technology by 2026, following investments in robot-based production systems. The country is emphasising robotics, automation and system integration (SI) development in a move to eventually produce technologies of its own. During this period, the investment value for automation and robotic systems has been around 116 billion baht.

There are also 74 SI-related businesses registered with the Center of Robotic Excellence (CORE). According to the ministry, 25% of factories use automation and robotics technology. More domestic production of robots will also reduce imports of robotic technology by 12%. The government has been promoting robotic and automation systems under the Industry 4.0 scheme (the fourth industrial revolution), which encourages factory operators to blend digital technology with data analysis.

At present, only 2% of Thai industries are considered to be Industry 4.0 using advanced technology in their operations, according to the ministry. Some 28% are in Industry 3.0 with less high technology and 61% in Industry 2.0. Only 9% are in the stage of Industry 1.0, the lowest level of technological development.

Officials believe the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to a rise in remote work and automation to avoid crowding at factories, will encourage many countries to adopt more advanced technology. The Board of Investment is offering 50% corporate income tax reduction lasting three years to promote investment in technology upgrades and production efficiency improvements.

Source: Bangkok Post

Read the full article here

Industry Ministry seeking to build gaming industry ecosystem

The Indonesian Ministry of Industry has said it would continue to encourage the development of the local gaming industry by strengthening its value chain and tapping its current potential.

"The effort aims to make the Indonesian gaming industry more competitive globally through a good content industry ecosystem," Director General of Metal, Machinery, Transportation and Electronics Industry (ILMATE) at the Industry Ministry Taufiek Bawazier said at the 'Proud of Games Made in Indonesia' webinar on Tuesday.

The ministry has tried to strengthen the value chain of the content industry by involving several supporting sectors, such as the comics, animation, film, gaming, music, and toy industries, as well as coordinating with related ministries, state-owned enterprises, and private players, he informed.

“Industries based on intellectual property (IP) can collaborate in products and IP development invested by the government and private stakeholders," the director general said in a written statement.

"Furthermore, Indonesia has many potentials. There are 52 million Indonesian gamers. Currently, Indonesia is the largest gaming industry market in Southeast Asia and is ranked 17th in the world," Bawazier informed.

According to data provided by game-focused market research and analytics firm Newzoo, the revenue of the gaming industry in Indonesia increased significantly in 2016-2019. In 2019, Indonesia earned US$1.084 billion from the gaming and eSports industry, the data has shown.



Source: Antara News

Reporter: Risbiani Fardaniah, Uyu Liman

Editor: Rahmad Nasution

Original published date: 04 August, 2021


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