IBM (Thailand) is expanding its business base into Laos, viewing the neighbouring country as an emerging market with high growth potential. It has also set up a fourth branch office in Thailand to widen its coverage of customers in upcountry provinces.
Parnsiree Amatayakul, country general manger of IBM (Thailand), said IBM headquarters had appointed the Thai unit to take care of the Laotian market early this year. The first step is for the Thai branch to establish an office in the new market.
“We are studying the legal aspects and procedures for establishing an office in Laos. Meanwhile, we are appointing two distributors, Computer Union and Ingram Micro, to take care of the market. We are also in the process of allowing Metro System to enter the Laotian market,” she said.
As Laos is an emerging market, this will lead to the creation of an information-technology community, and IBM therefore sees it as having high potential for growth, especially in the banking and non-governmental-organisation segments, she added.
The company also announced the establishment of an IBM Eastern Seaboard branch office in Chon Buri province. The office will supplement its network of branches across the region.
The new office will provide a variety of solutions and services to expand customer bases and partners in the Eastern region, with a focus on several industries including maritime logistics and transport firms, electronic device and automobile manufacturers via business partners and direct engagements, Parnsiree said.
IBM (Thailand) will also collaborate with group headquarters to enable the IBM Executive Service Corps team and Chon Buri municipality to help develop Chon Buri into a “smarter” city in terms of public safety, traffic management and cleanliness, she said.
Chon Buri was selected as one of 33 cities around the world to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant this year.
The company has already worked with the IBM expert team to develop Chiang Mai under the medical-hub project, in partnership with the faculty of medicine at Chiang Mai University, to enhance the quality of medical care available to the community – in both urban and rural areas.
Concurrently, the project aims to turn Chiang Mai into a centre for medical tourism with the infrastructure for supporting international visitors seeking long-term medical care.
Parnsiree said the company had recently set up two additional branch offices, in Khon Kaen province in April and Hat Yai, Songkhla, last month. It is also forming a brainstorming group with a view to establishing an innovation centre.
Thailand is one of the countries in the IBM Growth Markets group, she added.