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Thailand has been persistent in the development of its digital foundation to keep up with technological innovations and its impact on economic growth and societal transformation.

The government has been focused on the transition towards Thailand 4.0—a 20-year national strategy (2017-2026) composed of six primary strategies that will guide Thailand towards security, prosperity, and sustainability. The primary objective is to convert Thailand into a fully developed country, supported by the ideas of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.

Becoming a Digital Hub

Thailand has implemented significant strategies to become a leading digital economic hub in Asia, driven by digital transformation. The government is fueling this development by establishing significant partnerships with technology companies.

In 2022, the government launched AI Thailand, which aims to prepare essential infrastructure to promote the progress of artificial intelligence (AI) in the country. It was also established to strengthen economic expansion and improve the nation's competitiveness. Additionally, the program prioritizes developing human capacity and creating a favorable environment. The national AI strategy and action plan will run until 2027.

The Bangkok Post has reported that the second phase of the national AI strategy and action plan is underway and is set to include significant efforts aimed at integrating into several industries.

Out of the six main projects for this phase, the establishment of an AI workforce and the construction of a Thai Large Language Model (ThaiLLM) are among those aimed at pushing Thailand to the forefront of AI innovation.

The total expected budget is THB 1.5 billion, with THB 1 billion reserved to be allocated for the development of 30,000 AI professionals, including both experienced and beginner engineers.

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Thailand’s Digital Economy

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) has taken on the challenge of developing a trained digital workforce by establishing the e-Workforce Ecosystem Platform (EWE Platform), which seeks to establish and improve the country’s reservoir of digital talents, ensuring that Thai employees are adequately prepared to fulfill the requirements of the digital era.

The EWE Platform functions as a centralized hub for enhancing skills, matching individuals with suitable employment opportunities, and providing programs for improving and adapting skills to meet the changing demands of the digital age. This initiative strives to provide Thai workers with essential digital skills, streamline the distribution of competent workers, and promote a collaborative environment among different stakeholders.

Moreover, MDES has also implemented a national digital wallet program to support the country’s mission of becoming a leading digital economic hub in Southeast Asia. The National Cybersecurity Agency (NCSA), part of the MDES, oversees the digital wallet program, which aims to distribute THB 10,000 each to 50 million Thai individuals, thereby assuring broad availability of digital financial resources. This effort is not solely a monetary assistance program, but also a move towards incorporating the population into a more structured digital economy.

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Futuristic Global and Regional Collaborations

When it comes to global partnerships, Thailand has secured big ticket projects with industry-leading companies. Microsoft has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen Thailand's digital economy by creating new cloud and AI infrastructure in the country.

Microsoft cites the increasing demand for cloud computing services among corporations and local businesses as one of the reasons for establishing a new data-center region, which is expected to establish a strong foundation for Thailand's digital revolution, facilitating economic opportunities for the country.

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Thailand is making significant strides in accelerating its digital economy and transformation through strategic global and regional collaborations. In 2016, the Thai government partnered with Alibaba to enhance e-commerce by providing training to SMEs and individuals, and improve the country's logistics infrastructure. In 2021, the Prime Minister of Thailand met with Huawei's CEO to discuss digital transformation and talent development, highlighting the government's commitment to fostering technological growth.

In addition to governmental initiatives, major industry players are joining forces to empower Thailand's digital landscape. Nokia and True Group united in 2020 to advance the country's digital economy and lifestyle, while AIS has invested in the 700 MHz frequency band to expand digital infrastructure. Recently, a strategic partnership between AIS and IPIfication was implemented to enhance secure digital services, showcasing Thailand’s collaborative efforts in building a robust and secure digital ecosystem.

To further solidify its position as a digital hub, Thailand's leading data center service providers have formed the Thailand Data Centre Council (TDCC). This alliance, comprising AIMS Data Centre, Evolution DC, NTT Global Data Centers, STT GDC, and Telehouse, aims to transform Thailand into a major data center hub for Southeast Asia.

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Thailand's National AI Strategy and digital transformation efforts represent the country’s dedication in taking advantage of the potential of digital technology to facilitate digital economic expansion. The country is committed to becoming a leading digital economy in Southeast Asia by actively investing in AI, upskilling workers, promoting innovation, and establishing a strong digital infrastructure.

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