In the journey toward a low-carbon future, Thailand is the first country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to commit to carbon neutrality. At the 2021 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP26, Thailand proposed the visionary Carbon Neutrality 2050 roadmap to address climate change, mirroring the milestone laid out by the European Union (EU).
In this truly momentous journey, digitalization will play a crucial role as we work toward the goals of Carbon Neutrality 2050. The public and private sectors need to build partnerships and promote Thailand as a regional digital hub. We need to strengthen existing industries, through advanced technology and innovation, promoting new S-curve industries for the digital future.
Next, we need a vision-driven framework at the national level to pinpoint the right direction and motivate the whole country to fight together for our vision. From this perspective, we are excited to see that Thailand has already released inspiring visions, such as Thailand 4.0, Carbon Neutrality 2050, and the Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model.
Enriching 5G Adoption for Ubiquitous Connectivity
Facing the opportunities and challenges we’ve just outlined, Huawei can help Thailand to move toward its goals in four main ways: enriching 5G adoption for ubiquitous connectivity, building a cloud-based digital platform, accelerating the transition to low-carbon digital power, and cultivating a digital talent and innovation ecosystem.
5G is becoming increasingly important to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure. It will not only reshape people’s lives, but also transform industries and even reimagine how societies operate globally. We must keep expanding Thailand’s 5G coverage and adoption to unleash the economic value that’s inherent.
According to a joint forecast by the Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE), TIME Consulting, and Huawei, the 5G-empowered economy will reach THB2.3 trillion by 2035, accounting for some 10% of total GDP.
Thailand is now leading 5G development in the ASEAN region. By the end of the third quarter, 2021, Thailand had deployed over 20,000 5G stations and reached 4.3 million 5G users, two and a half times the total number of 5G users in other ASEAN countries. 5G is delivering services and experiences that are 13 times faster than 4G, and Bangkok is ranked as a top 10 5G city by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).
Indeed, in 2021, Huawei worked with several Thai customers to launch pilot 5G projects in different industries, including healthcare and agriculture.
Building on these successful experiences, next year, with our 5G Ecosystem Innovation Center and rich partner ecosystem, we will continue to help Thailand lead ASEAN in 5G rollout and adoption in vertical industries. We will introduce 5G technology to hospitals, ambulances, and AI-assisted solutions in the medical field: in total, we will work with 20 local hospitals to make this happen. We will also build three or more 5G city benchmarks to support Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) activities, which Thailand, as we know, will chair throughout 2022. And, in line with the digital vision of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Development Plan — a part of Thailand 4.0 — we will help roll out 100 5G factories in the EEC region, including 5G automobile manufacturing factories.
Building a Cloud-based Digital Platform
As already noted, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in Thailand. According to professional services provider Deloitte, from 2020 to 2021, the percentage of Thai companies using the cloud increased from 59% to 78%. And, by 2030, the digital economy will account for 30% of Thailand’s entire GDP.
At the same time, the notion of data localization is gaining traction. At present, 62 countries around the world have issued 144 data localization policies. Clearly, it is extremely important to promote data security and control the value chain of the data we own. That’s because, in the future, the most important resource on planet Earth won’t be oil — it will be data.
Given that national digital platforms will, by and large, be based on cloud services, we must support Thailand to strengthen its own with Huawei Cloud.
We are very proud that Huawei Cloud is the only cloud service provider with local data centers in the Thailand market. We set up the first local data center based on Huawei Cloud services in the EEC back in 2019, deploying a second in Bangkok in 2020. And in November 2021, after a year of hard work, a third Huawei local Availability Zone (AZ) has now entered service.
Accelerate the Low-Carbon Transition to Digital Power
Equally important, we need to power a low-carbon Thailand with digital power solutions.
Over the next decade, Thailand’s energy transition will develop at exciting speed, bringing with it around a 1% growth in GDP. Huawei is fully committed to supporting Thailand’s efforts to become ASEAN’s low-carbon leader. We are confident that we can achieve this goal together through technological expertise and paying attention to global best practices.
Cultivating a Digital Talent and Innovation Ecosystem
Meanwhile, we need to work with all partners to cultivate a thriving talent and innovation ecosystem.
As Thailand rapidly moves to becoming the region’s digital leader, it is encouraging to see that a digital ecosystem is beginning to thrive here. Thailand now has three startups that have achieved unicorn status, valued at US$1 billion or more: Flash, Bitkub, and Ascend Money. And this ecosystem continues to develop, displaying impressive potential. In the Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Ranking, Thailand sits at number 28 in 2021, demonstrating the country’s robust infrastructure foundation: this is a strong base for further improvements to be made.
However, there remains an urgent need to invest further in the cultivation of digital talent. By 2030, total demand for digital talent in Thailand will exceed one million and there will be a 400,000 deficit in terms of digital workforce supply.
As a proactive enabler of digital transformation and an eager contributor to enhancing wider social value, Huawei will continue to build up Thailand’s ecosystem platform and its talent program.
The main ecosystem platforms involved include the 5G Ecosystem Innovation Center, which already has over 100 partners, the 5G Alliance, which will be established in the first quarter of 2022, the Huawei Cloud Partner Network (HCPN), and the Huawei ASEAN Academy (Thailand) which aims to cultivate over 100,000 ICT talents in 5 years.
To better cultivate digital talent, we will keep expanding the influence of our 5G Application Innovation Competition and Spark Program. In addition, since Huawei’s global flagship CSR project Seeds for the Future first started in Thailand in 2013, Huawei Thailand has already partnered with 23 local universities to facilitate knowledge transfer and skill improvement for over 215 leading students.
Grow in Thailand, Contribute to Thailand
Facing uncertainties and opportunities alike, digitalization and low-carbonization are now recognized as the two key priorities for the world. Here, Thailand is playing an inspirational role, with a forward-thinking vision that has placed it one step ahead of most countries.
Huawei is thankful for the strong trust and support placed in it by Thailand’s government, as well by its customers, partners, and dedicated local team. Indeed, Huawei has maintained a strong local presence over the past 22 years, with a longstanding and firm mission: Grow in Thailand, Contribute to Thailand, powering a connected, intelligent, and digital low-carbon Thailand.
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