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Three Thai ICT giants form JV to penetrate neighbouring markets

Samart Communication Services, Loxley Wireless and Advanced Information Technology (AIT) have partnered to set up a Bt30-million joint venture, SLA Asia Co, to provide total ICT solutions in foreign markets, with the primary focus in CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam).

The JV targets revenue of Bt1 billion within three years, according to Loxley executive Surakij Kiatthanakorn, who has been appointed as SLA's chief executive officer.

Each of the three partners holds an equal shareholding in SLA.

Watchai Vilailuck, chairman of Samart Telcoms (Samtel), parent of Samart Communication Services, said the partnership would enable them to compete on par against foreign rivals in the Asean Economic Community landscape that takes effect next year. But in the Thai market, the three will remain competitors, he added.

The CLMV markets are the first targets that SLA will tap, thanks to their high growth potential, he said.

Watchai said formation of the joint venture reflected the common vision of the three partners to expand into frontiers outside Thailand.

Chalermchoke Lamsam, senior executive vice president of Loxley, said Myanmar had high growth potential, and Thai businesses were investing heavily there in such sectors as construction and hotels. The trade volume between Thailand and Myanmar was Bt200 billion last year.

The development of basic infrastructure in Myanmar also boosts demand for information and communications technology, from ICT equipment to installation and maintenance of ICT systems.

AIT president Siripong Oontornpan said overseas expansion was nothing new for AIT and the Samart group, which already have a presence in Cambodia. The partners are confident that such experience and good relations with local partners in these markets will enable the JV to be successful.

Surakij said SLA would cash in on the demand in these neighbouring countries for development of their basic infrastructure. SLA will join with the local partners to focus its sales and installation of telecom and communications systems and after-sale services on the Thai businesses moving into these markets.


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