EXIM Bank urges SMEs to ditch fear and surf ‘digital tsunami’ for Thailand’s recovery
The Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand) has urged the Thai private sector to take advantage of the “digital tsunami” of domestic and international online trade caused by Covid-19.
EXIM’s chairman of executive directors Darmp Sukontasap said businesses that can adapt to the “new normal” online trade surge will be able to capture opportunities and contribute to the Thai economy’s digital transformation.
As such, the public and private sectors must ramp up cooperation to help Thai businesses, particularly SMEs, to use digital technology to reach consumers, he added.
Delivering the opening address at an online seminar titled “Digital Turns Global Trade Around” on Wednesday, Darmp added that borderless trade on online platforms offered a flexible way of adding value to Thai businesses.
EXIM’s chairman of executive directors Darmp Sukontasap
Exim president Rak Vorrakitpokatorn noted that while global trade of goods and services shrank 9 per cent and 15 per cent respectively in 2020, e-commerce surged by more than 20 per cent to US$4.2 trillion and is expected to rise to $4.9 trillion in 2021 and $7.4 trillion in 2025. More than 50 per cent of consumers now shop online, and more than 40 per cent of consumers view online entertainment programmes, with growth prospects for gaming products, entertainment media on platforms like Netflix, health technology products, etc, he added.
Rak said Thai businesses – SMEs in particular – must ditch their “no-risk” stance in order to grab opportunities in the new era of global trade. They should be confident in trying out digital technology and services offered by financial institutions such as EXIM Thailand, he added.
Exim president Rak Vorrakitpokatorn
EXIM Thailand offers a financing facility, export credit insurance facility and digital system support, such as the Thailand Export Readiness Assessment and Knowledge Management (TERAK) and Thailand e-commerce pavilion.
Rak noted that SMEs are crucial to Thailand’s economic recovery, as they contribute than 30 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ more than 12 million people.
The seminar’s afternoon programme included workshops run by T-GoodTech, Thehubthailand.biz and Alibaba.com in which entrepreneurs tried out trading their goods on online platforms.
C.P. Group’s retail portfolio re-organises – preparing for fast foreign expansion
Aims to increase overseas retail and wholesale stores across region and drive online-offline business expansion
Charoen Pokphand Group (C.P. Group) Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Siam Makro Public Company Limited, Mr. Suphachai Chearavanont, announced that C.P. Group aims to rapidly expand the number of its retail and wholesale stores in the region, including cash-and-carry stores operated by its subsidiary Siam Makro, as well as other formats within the C.P. Group.
C.P. Group retail and wholesale businesses are already present in China, Malaysia, India, Cambodia, and Myanmar under multiple brands and multiple formats with around 337 stores.
Mr. Chearavanont said, “Retailing is a global opportunity for Thailand and a sector where we can be successful on the international stage. It is a vision shared by our retail and wholesale businesses.”
Streamlining and Driving Efficiency
“Succeeding in complex global markets requires great speed in decision-making. To enhance our ability to move fast, several of our retail businesses have resolved to re-organise and reduce some layering within the group. A proposed re-organisation, pending various shareholder approvals, will cut layering down and result in Siam Makro becoming the parent company of C.P. Retail Development Co., Ltd.
“These changes will streamline decision-making and, among other benefits, give Siam Makro and Lotus’s the agility to succeed in the international arena,” he said.
Aims to Increase Public Participation
To support its international ambitions and other plans, in a Board Meeting held on Tuesday 31st August, the Directors of Siam Makro PLC resolved to propose to the company’s shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting in mid-October to approve the increase of Siam Makro’s registered capital from the current Bht 2.4 billion to THB 5,586 million baht. This would be realised by issuing up to 6,372,323,500 new ordinary shares with a par value of Bht 0.5 each, of which 1,362,000,000 would be allocated for a public offering.
Mrs. Suchada Ithijarukul, Group Chief Executive Officer, Siam Makro PLC, said, “We want to invite the public to join us in this exciting international growth journey and are offering a bigger part of the business for public participation. Moonstone aims to double the percentage of its public ownership from the current 7% to be over 15%, while C.P. Group’s shareholding will be reduced from 93% to around 85%.”
The structural streamlining initiatives of the various companies do not affect the operations of Siam Makro or any other operating company.
“All staffing, management, day-to-day work, the business format, the positioning, target customers, and suppliers will remain and operate as before. There will be no personnel changes and also no changes to the controlling shareholders of the operating companies as a result of these actions that are still subject to shareholder and other approvals,” Mr. Chearavanont added.
‘Platforms of Opportunity’
According to Mr. Chearavanont, the various structural initiatives advancing the group’s international footprint will also support the recently announced ‘Platforms of Opportunity’ strategy to strengthen Thailand’s competitive position in the post-pandemic global economy by “building a stage on which other Thai companies and Thai products can maximise their potential.”
“We want our retail operations around the world to serve as a platform from which tens of thousands of Thai small-holder farmers, manufacturers, and SMEs can present their products in international markets.
“Creating more retail outlets for Thai products in global markets, especially for fresh foods and agricultural produce, is an essential part of realising Thailand’s dream of becoming a ‘Kitchen of the World’. Our stores will act as a pipeline through which many other smaller Thai enterprises can flow into new markets, together with their produce and products, growing their businesses, and adding resilience to ours,” he said.
One of the big challenges faced by Thai growers and manufacturers in entering international markets is the difficulty of getting into another country’s distribution system. The systems, often, favour established brand names and produce from traditional suppliers, and there may also be many middlemen affecting Thailand’s competitiveness.
“We have to use our stores to enable consumers in overseas markets to be exposed to more Thai products. From there, it will be up to the products’ performance, pricing and marketing to nurture their ongoing presence.
“We can also assist Thai growers, SMEs and manufacturers in getting a fuller understanding of the complex local regulations in a foreign market that are difficult to navigate from here in Thailand, and this will help remove another obstacle for Thai brands and Thai suppliers,”
Mr. Chearavanont said.
Thailand has earned recognition in international retailing by winning top awards from respected global retail associations for innovations as well as owning landmark retail outlets in many countries, but its presence is still small when matched against the international giants of retailing.
“In retailing, having scale is one of the most important contributors to success. There are huge global retail corporations. The largest two retailers in the world each register more sales than the size of Thailand’s entire economy. For Thai retailers going up against these giants on the world stage, it is a tough challenge”
“By collaborating with many other Thai businesses, simplifying our organisation, and moving forward purposefully with sufficient financial resources, I am confident Thailand will have a relatively large and important overseas distribution network in the near future,”he said.
Mrs. Ithijarukul said, “Siam Makro has played an important part in supporting professional customers in Thailand, especially small-sized operators, mini-marts and the hotel, restaurant and catering sector, for more than 32 years. That relationship is based on our emphasis on high food quality and safety combined with the right assortment of great value packaged products and fresh produce. We are fully committed to supporting our professional customers even better in the years ahead as their trusted partner.”
“The accelerated international expansion of our business in the future will also provide our SME suppliers of fresh produce, packaged goods and other products with significant, new growth opportunities and we look forward to that prospect with excitement,” she said.
Krungthai set to launch Thailand’s first index linked note investing in 4 megatrends and ESG
Krungthai is launching “Krungthai iSTOXX® Global Transformation IXGTRSND Index Linked Note” which focuses investment in industries riding the 4 megatrends of global transformation and adhering to ESG principles.
Continuing to develop products and services that meet future investment needs, Krungthai is launching “Krungthai iSTOXX® Global Transformation IXGTRSND Index Linked Note” which focuses investment in industries riding the 4 megatrends of global transformation and adhering to ESG principles. The 4 megatrends include Connected World, Industry 4.0, Sustainable Growth and Better Healthcare – making the index linked note the first product of its kind in Thailand. It also boasts full principal protection and sustainable returns.
Rawin Boonyanusasna, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Global Markets Group at Krungthai Bank
Rawin Boonyanusasna, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Global Markets Group at Krungthai Bank, said that following the successful sale of the luxury-themed index linked note with full principal protection in June 2021, which was well-received beyond expectations by both new and existing customers, Krungthai Bank has speeded up the issuance of “Krungthai iSTOXX® Global Transformation IXGTRSND Index Linked Note”, a 5-year note linked to iSTOXX® thematic index which focuses the investment in companies that benefit from global future and ESG trends, e.g. Verizon, one of the leading 5G providers; Pfizer, a Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer; and Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of covid-19 prodrug Remdesivir. The new index linked note boasts full principal protection if held until maturity and periodic principal repayment over the 5-year life of the note. The Krungthai iSTOXX® Global Transformation IXGTRSND Index Linked Note will be available for sale between 6 – 9 September, 2021.
As the world has been going through drastic transformation, with the spread of Covid-19 as an accelerator, behavior of consumers around the world has significantly changed. Technologies and online lifestyles have become more common in people’s lives, especially in the areas of shopping, working, education and healthcare. These changes are reflected in the 4 megatrends and the companies operating in businesses along the trends can expect high growth potential. The 4 megatrends are 1) connected world via 5G, cloud computing and video gaming; 2) Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things becoming increasingly important in people’s daily lives such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in devices, applications and social media; 3) sustainable growth and the use of renewable energy such as electric vehicles; and 4) better healthcare, which has gained more attention after the spread of Covid-19, and the adoption of technology in vaccine development, medical treatment and preventive healthcare such as biotech and robotic surgery to ensure better health and quality of life. “These megatrends bring us the new investment opportunities benefiting from world class companies evolving in the global waves of change. The iSTOXX® Global Transformation IXGTRSND Index Linked Note does not only offer the investors the upside exposure on the Global Transformation trend, but also the advantages of this note, including a full principal protection by the AA+ rated Krungthai Bank and the periodic principal repayment over the note’s 5-year life,” added Mr Rawin. For more information, contact any Krungthai Bank branch nationwide or call 02-208-4691 and 02-208-4673.
Shahkrit Yamnarm joins UNICEF Thailand to save lives of malnourished children during COVID-19
BANGKOK, 30 August 2021 – Famous Thai actor Shahkrit Yamnarm is fronting a UNICEF campaign to mobilize support for the millions of severely malnourished children worldwide, as the situation has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a powerful video released on social media and local television channels, Shahkrit appeals to the Thai public to join UNICEF in saving children from dying from severe acute malnutrition. With every 300-baht donation, UNICEF is able to provide 24 sachets of ready-to-use therapeutic food to feed malnourished children. Donors will receive a face mask case for storage as a gift.
To donate 300 baht, text 300 via SMS to the number 4712300 until 31 October 2021.
Shahkrit Yamnarm joins UNICEF Thailand to save lives of malnourished children during COVID-19
“Every second, a child is at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition,” said Shahkrit. “As a father, I am deeply concerned about these children who are facing this difficult situation and urgently need help especially during COVID-19. You can help save the lives of malnourished children by making a donation, and I urge everyone to lend a helping hand.”
Undernutrition leads to irreversible damage to children’s growth and development and accounts for nearly half of all deaths in children under 5, according to the World Health Organization. Globally, an estimated 2 million children under 5 died from severe acute malnutrition in 2019, and 149 million children under 5 were estimated to be stunted or too short for age while 45 million were estimated to be wasted or too thin for their height in 2020.
The pandemic continues to disrupt all of the systems related to good nutrition across the world, especially in Africa which has seen the sharpest rise in hunger and faces ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. UNICEF estimates that more than 100,000 children in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray could suffer life-threatening severe acute malnutrition in the next 12 months, a tenfold increase to normal numbers, and that malnutrition among children under 5 is expected to quadruple in drought-afflicted southern Madagascar.
Joining the campaign are six celebrities and chefs who will share on UNICEF Thailand social media their favourite recipes with legume, which is the main ingredient in ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnutrition. They are Vanessa Race, Friend of UNICEF; Nan Hongwiwat, chef and founder of KRUA.CO; Pruek Sumpantaworaboot, Iron Chef Thailand; Chananchida “Pattie” Pongpetch, junior chef; Pawarit “Mark” Parnichprapai, chef; and Samaphol “Kai” Piyapongsiri, DJ and TV show host.
Channel 7HD will be supporting UNICEF in strengthening awareness of the campaign. Corporate partner supporting the campaign is Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, in celebration of its iconic campaign ‘Shopee 9.9 Super Shopping Day’. The online shopping platform will provide live airtime for Shahkrit to talk about the situation of malnourished children on Shopee Live on 17 September from 16.00 – 17.00 hrs. Other corporates such as VGI PLC; Bangkok Metro Networks Ltd, Bangkok Expressway and Metro PCL; Golf Channel Thailand (GCT Media Co., Ltd); Tencent Thailand Co., Ltd; and Supatra Real Estate Co., Ltd will be providing media space for the campaign.
Digital transformation ‘exploding’ in Southeast Asia: Deloitte
The pace of digital transformation in Southeast Asia has exploded, according to Deloitte’s latest report on Covid-19’s impact on the business environment.
“Crisis as Catalyst: Accelerating transformation” reveals that many Asia Pacific businesses believe they are well on their way to becoming more resilient in a post-pandemic environment, said Deloitte. More than two-thirds of business leaders surveyed expressed high confidence in their company’s outlook over the next 12 months, it added.
Data from the report shows:
• Sixty-nine per cent of Asia Pacific companies surveyed said the pandemic significantly accelerated their digital transformation – not just sparking but exploding the pace of adoption.
• Sixty-three per cent of companies expect to form new partnerships and alliances.
• Sixty-seven per cent of respondents believe supply chains need to be redesigned as a direct result of the pandemic.
Digital transformation ‘exploding’ in Southeast Asia: Deloitte
In the survey of 2,750 private company executives across 33 countries between January 21 and March 9, Deloitte found that a majority of organisations are now building their resilience across seven key elements: strategy, growth, operations, technology, workforce, capital and society.
“This research resonates with many of Deloitte’s private clients in Southeast Asia, where the pandemic has pushed leaders to speed up their transformations to meet the challenges of a dynamic, uncertain environment,” said Richard Loi, Southeast Asia and Singapore Deloitte private leader.
“Digital solutions are becoming increasingly important for companies as CEOs seek to optimise the present while building a platform for future innovation and competitive advantage.”
A majority of respondents believe their company will snap back from the crisis during the next 12 months, said Deloitte. It added that companies appear to have laid the groundwork for workforce changes through flexible workforce arrangements and by redesigning their organisations to be more agile and accomplish more with smaller, independent teams, including:
Emphasis on digital transformation’s benefits
Executives have broad expectations about the gains technology investments will deliver for their private organisations, and they plan to continue to increase the breadth of their technology investments. For example:
• Highly resilient organisations were nearly twice as likely (80% versus 43%) as those with low resilience scores to say that their digital transformation had begun before the crisis or is currently underway.
• The difference in how highly resilient companies view the importance of digital transformation to their growth versus those with low resilience was 18 percentage points.
Companies are also spending on technology in other areas. In the next 12 months, information security is primed to be the most popular technology spending area according to 39% of respondents, followed closely by cloud computing (38%) and data analytics (37%).
A sharper focus on purpose
Purpose and trust have always been intertwined in the culture and foundation of private companies but took on greater importance in 2020. The report unveiled that:
• Nearly 70% of the respondents said purpose increased in importance for their organisation as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.
• Highly resilient organisations were at the forefront in this respect, with 84% of the executives from these organisations saying they sharpened their focus on purpose.
Flight attendants are learning to fight back against unruly passengers – just in case
“You want a drink, sir?”
The passenger looked up at the male flight attendant, then slurred a request for five more drinks. The flight attendant refused, causing the drunk traveler to become irate.
He lunged out of his seat toward the flight attendant when an air marshal appeared, pummeling the unruly passenger. The man’s hands were now cuffed behind his back.
This was just a drill. The drunk passenger was from the Federal Air Marshal Service. But the dangerous behavior flight crews are dealing with in the skies today is very real.
In a nondescript office building near LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York, a group of real flight attendants watched the drill in a fake airplane, beginning their four-hour self-defense training run by the Transportation Security Administration. TSA has offered these classes across the country free of charge to flight crew since 2004, but they seem more relevant than ever.
As air travel began to rebound from its pandemic rock-bottom, so has bad passenger behavior. The Federal Aviation Administration has received nearly 4,000 reports of unruly passengers in 2021, an uptick from the 146 total reports received in 2019.
“This is the most dangerous and uncertain time in our entire history,” said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
Nelson says the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the profession for myriad reasons, from the fear of contracting coronavirus to the logistic issues of returning to an industry operating with a staffing shortage.
“Flight attendants are working longer days with shorter nights, wearing masks for 14, 15 hours a day . . . having a harder time getting nutrition throughout the day and charged with keeping everyone safe on the plane,” Nelson said. “Those are just the basics.”
While most flights get from A to B without incident, the new stressors are driving flight attendants to seek out TSA’s voluntary self-defense training.
“I just wanted to make sure that I’m prepared for anything that could happen,” says Katie, a flight attendant attending the training at the Federal Air Marshal Service (F.A.M.S.) New York field office. So she could speak freely, she asked that her last name and employer to be kept private.
During her 17 years working in the industry, Katie was always interested in enrolling in the class, but because it only takes place at a handful of locations across the country, it was difficult to find the right free time in her travel schedule.
During the pandemic, the monthly four-hour classes were put on hiatus until July of this year. When Katie got an email announcing class openings in the New York area, she jumped at the opportunity to attend.
“I’ve been involved in situations before,” she said. “And we have de-escalation scenarios that we try to run through to the best of our abilities, but sometimes it just gets to a level that we need a little extra defense training,” she said.
After watching the pretend scenarios in the simulated airplane, the flight attendants were taken to a room with a padded mat floor to learn how to physically and mentally prepare themselves for aggressive-passenger interactions.
Flight attendants are learning to fight back against unruly passengers – just in case
The instructors demonstrated how to stand, move and approach an attacker, as well as fight or defend themselves with their hands, elbows, palms, knees, feet and shins. Some techniques are standard, like a punch to the face. Others are new, like raking an attacker’s face with your nails. The flight attendants wince at the mention of gouging an attacker’s eyes.
“Remember, this guy is attacking you,” the air marshal said, encouraging the class to keep their warrior mind-set.
Katie and the other flight attendants practiced their new techniques on the air marshals, punching bags and B.O.B.s, or “Body Opponent Bags,” life-size dummies.
“I want you to strike through him,” an air marshal told Katie’s group of flight attendants while demonstrating a palm heel strike to a B.O.B. “I want you to take his head off.”
Judith, another flight attendant in attendance who requested to keep her last name and employer private, believes unruly passengers have been an issue for the airline industry for years. It is not just the pandemic triggering the latest violence.
“I think it’s the many layers of stress,” said Judith, who has been a flight attendant for nearly a decade. “There is the stress of getting to the airport, the stress of going through the security, stress of getting up early, stress of traveling, stress of family, traveling with family.”
Stephanie Metzger, a supervisory air marshal in charge who was on-site for the training, said a big part of the class is to build self confidence, as well as give flight crew critical self-defense lessons. The right mind-set is essential for carrying out the defenses.
“This is important training for flight attendants because it prepares them with the basic skills that are needed for them to be able to address unruly passengers on board aircraft,” Metzger said.
Nelson agrees. Taking the class one time is not enough to turn flight attendants into self-defense experts, and it is not going to solve the issue of violence on planes, but “it gives just some basic maneuvers to help better protect yourself from getting hurt,” she said.
The flight attendants finished the class sweating and tired. Despite the serious nature of the course, they ended on a high note, laughing and swapping contact information with the air marshals who encouraged them to return to the class whenever they would like.
Katie hopes she will be able to take refresher courses to keep her new skills fresh in her mind going forward.
“I hope that it doesn’t get to the physical level but more and more these days it has been sort of getting to the physical level,” she said. “I think it’s really important to make sure that you’re prepared for that as well.”
Judith, who had never taken self-defense or martial arts classes before her TSA experience, found the training rewarding albeit conflicting.
“I don’t want to hurt anybody. I never want to use these techniques on a real person,” she said. “But it was surprisingly fun and very gratifying to see how a little technique can really do big changes.”
C.P. adjusting to post-pandemic world – focuses on collaborations and overseas expansions
Unveils four strategies for post-pandemic world. Adopting ‘Platforms of Opportunity’ business model to collaborate with more Thai businesses to reach into new overseas markets
Charoen Pokphand Group (C.P. Group) Chief Executive Officer Mr. Suphachai Chearavanont, today, announced corporate business strategies to prepare for the post-pandemic world that will focus one of Thailand’s most diversified business enterprises with over 400,000 staff on accelerated overseas expansion and alliances with other Thai businesses.
Mr. Chearavanont said that the COVID-19 pandemic has “transformed the business environment, catastrophically affecting SMEs in Thailand, and at the same time also creating very large international corporations, some of which are now valued at more than the GDP of many of the world’s countries.”
He said that both of these developments “affect Thailand’s global competitive standing as well as the health of its local economy by weakening its backbone of SMEs.”
According to Mr. Chearavanont, C.P. Group will drive four strategies that include “accelerating its investments; accelerating the pace at which the group goes global; simplifying group structures of companies for added agility and speed; as well as creating commercial platforms to increase collaboration with other businesses and growers, especially in penetrating overseas markets.”
“We must not scale back investments because of the pandemic, but, on the contrary, accelerate current and new projects as a way of creating new jobs and new contracts, especially for the more than 1.2 million SMEs and small-holder farmers with which we collaborate directly and indirectly.
“The spending of the group’s various businesses should have a flow-through effect into many communities and businesses of all sizes, combined with the almost two billion baht the group has donated for assistance since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.
Overseas investments are also being accelerated and he expects “multiple large initiatives to progress rapidly this year that can increase the footprint of Thai businesses in international markets.”
Mr. Chearavanont said that there would also be simplification of some complex group structures of companies that are organised in 14 business groups.
“We want to enable our companies to make faster decisions on joint initiatives in a world that demands great speed,” he said.
“We must accelerate the pace at which we go global. And we must help other Thai businesses go global with us.” – Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO C.P. Group
Mr. Chearavanont added that the most important initiative in preparing for the post-pandemic world is for C.P. Group companies to “go beyond creating, producing or selling products and services, to also becoming platforms that empower SMEs and other businesses to develop new opportunities for growth in Thailand and globally.”
As a part of a programme that he called the creation of ‘Platforms of Opportunity,’ Mr. Chearavanont said that C.P. Group is developing systems that will help other Thai businesses and growers enter foreign markets by working together with C.P. Group companies.
“When any Group company succeeds in establishing itself in an overseas market, it should also help tens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of Thai SMEs, or farmers, or other producers to go into those markets. SMEs are generally unable to afford the risks and difficulties of trying to enter international markets. And often, they cannot succeed against the entrenched commercial networks of those countries. If we consolidate their collective capabilities on any of our commercial platforms, we can give them the power of much larger companies and help them obtain the market access that only the largest Thai corporations can secure in foreign countries. It will unlock enormous, new economic potential that will bring added prosperity to millions, while also reinforcing the C.P. Group’s footprint internationally through a win-win arrangement.”
Mr. Chearavanont said that the ‘Platforms of Opportunity’ business model is one of the best ways to strengthen Thailand’s interests in the new, post-pandemic world because “it empowers and mobilises on the global stage the capabilities of tens of thousands of SMEs and other Thai enterprises.”
“Thai companies must collaborate on a level they’ve never done before to create a collective power that can protect Thailand’s place in the future global economy. Just as the world’s giant companies in the United States or Europe or China or Japan or Korea support and strengthen their home countries and home companies while also adding value to their host countries, so, too, must we do the same, in accordance with our Three-Benefit Principle. The Principle states that the consideration of benefits should be, first and foremost, to our country of investment, second to the community, and lastly to the company, in that order,” he said.