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Corporate May 20, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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Foreigners cleared to run universities in key zones

Thailand is planning to allow foreigners to set up universities in special economic zones in an effort to address skills shortages.

The plan has won the green light from a joint meeting of the Cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order. 

Government spokesman Lt General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that to implement the plan, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha would have to invoke his power as the NCPO chief under Article 44 of the constitution. 

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said Article 44 was the best option because the plan involves an exemption to some of the standard regulations.

“If we use normal rules of the Office of the Higher Education Commission, it will take too long for such universities to kick off. If we wait that long, Thailand may not be able to produce necessary human resources for the new trends in time,” Teerakiat said. 

Teerakiat pointed out that Thailand still had a shortage of people skilled in robotics and electric-train programmes at universities. “But we have set our sights on embracing Thailand 4.0,” he said, referring to the government’s technology plan.

Outlook healthy for robots in medicine

Will artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in medicine replace the human clinician? Not yet, but healthcare is changing and the public is ready. According to a PwC study, most consumers are willing to receive care delivered via these advanced technologies, which have the potential to transform healthcare to make it better, faster and more accessible for all. 

The findings are explored in the PwC’s report. “What doctor? Why AI and robotics will define New Health”, which is based on a commissioned survey of over 11,000 people from 12 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Across the region, more than half of respondents (55 per cent) said they were willing to use advanced computer technology or robots with AI that can answer health questions, perform tests, make a diagnosis and recommend treatment. 

Three main themes emerged from the findings: people are increasingly willing to engage with AI and robots if it means better access to healthcare: speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment is a critical factor for this willingness; and trust in the technology is vital for wider use and adoption.

LG homes in on Google link for smart appliances


LG Electronics (LG) announced a line-up of smart appliances at the Google I/O 2017 event that are compatible with the Google Assistant on Google Home.

, ushering in cutting-edge connectivity and convenience for today’s smart home. Google Home compatibility will begin rolling out this month in the United States on LG’s premium portfolio of connected smart devices, including the LG Signature-brand washing machine and dryer, refrigerator, oven range and air purifier as well as an LG air conditioner and robotic vacuum. Dates of availability in other markets will be announced locally at the time of launch.

 With Google Home, users will be able to access the Google Assistant’s features on connected LG appliances. The company says compatibility with Google Home provides benefits while enhancing usability for connected devices. Users can check the time remaining during wash cycles on their LG Signature washing machine, tell their LG Signature refrigerator to create more ice, or adjust thermostat settings on their LG air conditioner through spoken commands.

 from anywhere within range of Google Home. 

Nokia comes calling with new smartphones

HMD Global, which provides Nokia phones, has announced that its first Nokia smartphone range – comprising the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 – will be available in June in Thailand. 

The Nokia 3 will be available in the second week of June, the while Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 will be available by end of June.

James Rutherfoord, vice president Asia Pacific at HMD Global, said that Thailand is one of the smartphone capitals of Asia.

The Nokia 3 will retail at Bt4850 , the Nokia 5 at Bt 6490 and Nokia 6 Bt 7990. All prices are inclusive of VAT.

Toshiba backs fridge success with new items

 Toshiba has celebrated producing 10 million two-door refrigerator with plans to launch new products for the rainy season.

Toshiro Ishiwatari, president of Toshiba Lifestyle (TLSC), Japan, on Thursday said: “Toshiba has never stopped creating good quality products that are under the design and manufacturing standard of Japan, in order to meet the needs of customers. We will still be continue developing new products consistently and expanding our market into more countries.

“Toshiba Lifestyle (TLSC) will remain firm and stronger than ever, but also celebrate TPT achievement of manufacturing 10 million two-door refrigerators which are distributed all over the world for more than 20 years. This is a significant success even though Toshiba also have other two-door refrigerators factories in other countries.”

Masaaki Kimura, president of Toshiba Thailand, said: “The market situation in Thailand and its overall economy, from the end of the year until now, has improved as a result of government campaigns, New Year Festival, Chinese New Year and the summer season which encourage shopping activities.”

Centara opens its first hotel in Middle East

Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s largest hotel operator, continues its global expansion with the opening of a four-star, 152-room hotel in Muscat, its fifth hotel outside Thailand and the first of three planned for the Middle East.

The Centara Muscat Hotel is in the Omani capital’s Ghala Heights business district, near the convention centre, Royal Opera House, and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It is midway between the airport and historical district, about 15 minutes from each. The hotel features three restaurants, a spa, and a rooftop pool and terrace with views out over the Gulf of Oman. Its lounge, banquet and meeting facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi, plus proximity to Muscat’s shopping and historical sites, are designed to serve business and leisure travellers.

Grant Thornton picks Bodin as next chief

Peter Bodin will lead Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL), the global entity of a professional services networks with 47,000 people at member firms in over 130 countries.

 Bodin, the former CEO of Grant Thornton Sweden, will assume the role on January 1 for a five-year term, succeeding Ed Nusbaum who will retire at the en d of this year after eight years as CEO of GTIL. 

Bodin said: “I am honoured and excited to be given this opportunity to lead Grant Thornton into its next era of growth and expansion. I have always believed sustainable business success is built on having the right people, leadership and culture. My role will be to create an environment that allows Grant Thornton people and firms to collaborate, not just with each other but with clients and other stakeholders, to grow into the world’s best professional services organisation. 

“That means building an innovative brand that stands out in the marketplace and having a resolute focus on digital transformation - of our own business and for our clients around the world.”

Low-grade rice auction bidding finalised soon

The government will finalise bidding next week for around 1.03 million tonnes of degraded rice held in stockpiles and destined for the industrial sector.

Duangporn Rodphaya, director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Foreign Trade, said the preliminary bid results reviewed by a subcommittee would be proposed to a committee on rice policy and management for approval next week.

She cited bids having been received for all warehouses for the first time and varying prices for the delay in approval. The maximum price was nearly Bt4,000 per tonne, while the lowest was Bt500.

The committee on rice policy and management will convene on June 12 and the department will present the report for the sales of rice in state storage, the directions for the remaining 2 million tonnes of deteriorated rice for the industrial sector, and for the general auction for 1.82 million tonnes of rice expected on May 25.

Depending on how much rice is left after the auction, some of it may be including in the following auction for deteriorated rice expected for late June. All rice sales are expected to be completed by the end of September, Duangporn said.

Of 21 private bidders for 1.03 million tonnes of the degraded rice, most are producers in the ethanol, biomass, biogas and electricity businesses. TPK Ethanol bid for 1.03 million tonnes of the deteriorated rice in all warehouses at an average price of Bt2-Bt3 per kilograms for about Bt3 billion in total. This bidder proposed the lowest price at Bt500 per tonne for 1,371 tonnes in one warehouse.