• Prime Minister General Prayut Chaocha, recently presided over to the grand opening of "Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017" the largest international digital and technological showcase in Southeast Asia.
  • Prime Minister General Prayut Chaocha, recently presided over to the grand opening of "Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017" the largest international digital and technological showcase in Southeast Asia.
  • Prime Minister General Prayut Chaocha, recently presided over to the grand opening of "Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017" the largest international digital and technological showcase in Southeast Asia.

Plans fleshed out for Thailand 

Economy September 22, 2017 01:00

By   JIRAPAN BOONNOON
THE NATION


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THE GOVERNMENT has vowed to move ahead on a number of broad fronts to achieve the digital transformation of the country under the Thailand 4.0 vision for technological advancement.



 A key element of this push is the Pracha Rat Internet project, which will bring 74,965 communities online by next year and will be used to train up 200,000 people to become so-called smart farmers by 2021. 

On the bigger picture, the government expects to invite more than 100 local and international companies to invest more than Bt50 billion in areas such as automation, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, Big Data, robotics and startups.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, presiding over the opening of the Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017 technology showcase yesterday, said that the country’s digital transformation will see action in three areas: a reduction in the income between rural and urban residents, the creation of opportunities for all Thais, and the development of innovative technologies that will connect Thais to the world. 

The Pracha Rat Internet project will provide free Wi-Fi hot spots in all communities by the end of next year. 

With high-speed Internet, people can access healthcare through telemedicine, learn to become smart farmers and sell their local products on the e-commerce platform, the prime minister said.

One point of sale (POS) will be set up per community nationwide by the end of this year for use by more than 10,000 local shops providing about 50,00 items. 

The government will install POS systems in all communities by 2021 and provide e-services to the public. It expects to skill up 30,000 smart farmers this year, increasing to 200,000 by2021.

 “I think that the digital transformation and Thailand 4.0 scheme will drive Thailand in all dimensions and also reduce the gap in equality for Thais in metropolitan and remote areas,” Prayut|said. 

“It will help people to increase income in all communities and they will able to provide their produce via online channels and people in communities and remote areas can earn more income to improve their living standards.”

For the development of innovative technology, the government will drive digital transformation via the Digital Park Thailand, on 600 rai in Chon Buri. 

To facilitate the development of innovative technology, seven smart cities will be positioned around the country, such as in Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri. The government expects to set up smart cities nationwide in 2021.

“I think innovative technology will help Thailand increase its competitiveness vis-a-vis international countries,” Prayut said.

To connect Thailand to the world, the government will lay a submarine cable linking up with Internet international gateways in Hong Kong and mainland China.

It will also lay optic fibre to tap into China’s One Belt, One-Road infrastructure scheme. 

The country will offer so-called smart visas next year to make it easier for foreign investors to get work permits. 

The government will boost digital manpower to support the new digital era in the country. 

It aims for 500,000 digital workers in five years and 1,000 cybersecurity experts next year. 

The government will sign agreements with private and public organisations such as the International Telecommunication Union, Google, Microsoft and Global Enterprise Network Asia to further digitise the country.