Thailand looks to e-mobility to help residents breathe cleaner air
ABB Terra 124 charging stations are offering the fastest charging experience for electric vehicles in Thailand
Thailand’s growing urbanization, along with a surge in industrial activity, has led to more traffic congestion and higher air pollution in Bangkok. The air quality in the capital is now deemed unsafe by the Pollution Control Department. This problem has persisted even after the city expanded its Skytrain rail system and subway lines, because most people still rely on private cars to commute. To combat air pollution, the government is now pushing for wider adoption of electric vehicles (EV), including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. This has shown results – the number of EV registrations has increased to 100,000, according to the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand. To ensure that this trend accelerates further, the government wants to ensure there is adequate reliable and accessible charging infrastructure for EV drivers nationwide. By 2030, the government wants 50 percent of all cars made in Thailand – 1.25 million units – to be electric.
To expand the public fast charging network, both public and private sectors jointly expand the network of fast charging stations which aiming to increase the adoption of electrified vehicle in the country. Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), leading state-owned power utility, partnered with PTG Energy, one of Thailand’s leading energy companies that operates PT petrol stations, to install chargers at PT petrol stations along main highway routes outside Bangkok.
ABB’s chargers drive Thailand’s sustainable transport forward ABB’s Terra 124 EV fast charger with a charging power of 120 kW has been installed at Elex by EGAT station at five PT petrol stations situated on major highway routes. These stations, located between 100-200 kilometers from Bangkok, are already switched on and ready to charge. They represent the nation’s fastest public charging station and can typically charge EVs in just 20-30 minutes to reach 80 percent of their charging capacity.
Terra 124’s compact size and flexible design make it perfect fit for petrol stations, highways and fleet use. With dual outlet CCS, the charger can provide a full battery charge to two vehicles simultaneously and is designed to meet EV battery voltage capabilities up to 920V. It can charge a wide range of EVs and is future-ready. It is part of the bestselling Terra DC fast charging family, known for superior usability and reliability as well as integrated connected services, based on a 24/7/365 monitored platform, for remote services and firmware updates. These services allow customers to easily connect
their chargers to different software systems like back-offices, payment platforms or energy management solutions online. “We’re very proud to have been entrusted with EGAT to support Thailand’s transition to sustainable transport. ABB’s Terra 124 is one of the most advanced charging stations in our pioneering family of chargers that have helped transport networks around the world become smarter, greener, and free of emissions. It been certified to operate optimally within a petrol station environment,” said Gianandrea Bruzzone, Country Managing Director of ABB Thailand.
ABB is a world leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, offering the full range of charging and electrification solutions for electric cars, electric and hybrid buses as well as for ships and railways. ABB entered the EV-charging market in 2010, and to date. ABB entered the e-mobility market back in 2010, and today has sold more than 400,000 electric vehicle chargers across more than 85 markets; over 20,000 DC fast chargers and 380,000 AC chargers, including those sold through Chargedot.
ABB’s commitment to driving progress in e-mobility is shown most clearly through the title partnership with the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. From Season 9, in 2022-23, ABB will become official charging supplier to the championship.
For more information about ABB’s EV Charging Solutions, visit new.abb.com/ev-charging
Thailand looks to e-mobility to help residents breathe cleaner air
Habitat for Humanity to hold Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Thailand for the third time
Over 2,000 industry experts and delegates expected to participate in a hybrid event, co-organized with SWITCH-Asia
Habitat for Humanity announced today that the eighth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum with the theme, “Building forward better for inclusive housing”, will be held in Bangkok from December 7 to 9. This will be the third time that the affordable housing forum will be held in Thailand. The strategic location of the country, presence of a strong and vibrant international development community in Bangkok, and Habitat for Humanity’s 23-year history of building homes in Thailand, were the key considerations for the choice of venue for the biennial event.
“The focus for this year’s Asia-Pacific Housing Forum centers on how affordable and sustainable housing solutions can bring an inclusive future for vulnerable and low-income families through greener, safer, and more resilient approaches,” said Luis Noda, area vice president of Habitat for Humanity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Globally, the health and economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis and made clear how crucial having safe, secure, and adequate housing is to one’s health, wellbeing, and even survival.
Around the world, approximately 1.6 billion people live without adequate shelter. In the Asia-Pacific region, an estimated one-third of urban dwellers live in slums or slum-like conditions. In Thailand, for instance, the slum and squatter population has continued to increase, with a majority of them in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. The nation’s urban population is approximately 35.29 million in 2019 (Statista.com). From 2018 to 2019, the poverty rate dropped to 6.2%, according to the World Bank. However, in 2020, the poverty rate increased to 8.8% due to the effects brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Habitat for Humanity to hold Asia-Pacific Housing Forum in Thailand for the third timeSome of the main speakers of the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum include Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat, and Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International.
Co-organized by Habitat for Humanity and the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia programme, with the support of other partners, the Forum brings together industry leaders, innovators, policy experts, and various stakeholders to inspire a new vision for more inclusive, healthy, and resilient cities and communities. It serves as a multi-sectoral platform to build collaboration among like-minded organization to create impact at scale for low-cost, affordable technologies across the Asia-Pacific region.
The importance of housing as a driver of economic growth and sustainability in human settlements will be one of the central discussions during the Forum. It also aims to strengthen the regional community’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and align climate change initiatives with national priorities.
The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum, which has been attended by more than 7,200 participants since its inaugural conference in 2007, is supported by The Hilti Foundation, Whirlpool, Agence Francaise de Developpement, and Somfy Foundation. Other partners include UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance, and Total Quality PR.
The Forum will adopt a hybrid format, with limited in-person participation in accordance with government-mandated health and safety guidelines. However, with the fluid situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers are continuously monitoring the situation with a pivot strategy in place for an enhanced fully virtual experience. Register at aphousingforum.org and find out more about the forum program, tracks and side events.
Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, do business owners really realize just how essential SEO has become today as an online marketing strategy? Many actually don’t, and therefore tend to take it lightly.
It is generally known that search engine optimization (SEO) is what a business owner does to ensure their digital properties (such as web pages) can be found online when their target audience searches the web with keywords related to their industry, products or services.
But, given that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, do business owners really realize just how essential SEO has become today as an online marketing strategy? Many actually don’t, and therefore tend to take it lightly.
No wonder the experts at Inspira Digital Agency here in Thailand see the need to highlight how SEO has become the key to digital marketing success for businesses in 2021 and beyond.
Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses
First, it’s important to understand that organic search today is the major source of website traffic for businesses, whether small, medium, or large. In fact, according to research by Bright Edge, up to 53.3% of all website traffic comes from organic search; and Google, as the organic search market leader, controls a whopping 92.96% of this organic search traffic.
What this tells us is that PPC campaigns, social media and other traffic sources pale in comparison to organic search when it comes to traffic generation, and SEO happens to be the only way business owners can claim their share of organic traffic.
When it comes to building trust and credibility, and being recognized as an industry authority, any business with an online presence simply cannot disregard SEO. As Cookie Veeratat, Account Manager at Inspira Digital Agency, states, “our clients are beginning to understand more and more, the necessity of SEO to strengthen their target consumers’ perception of their brand as an industry authority.”
She further explained that “this could be as a result of them coming to realize that the more their target audience keep seeing their brand name and web pages on the number one search engine results page of a leading search company like Google when they search for pertinent information, the more these consumers will regard their business as relevant, credible, and authoritative.”
For a brand looking to build authority and trust which are vital for success in marketing, ranking its web pages high on Google’s (or any other search platform’s) SERPs can only be achieved with good SEO, which accounts for optimized content and on-page elements, quality backlink profiles, positive user behavior, and machine-learning signals.
As the use of mobile devices to access the web continues to grow, so does the need for small and medium-sized businesses to optimize their web pages for local search. Consumer insights obtained from a study by Think with Google have it that 30% of all mobile searches are related to location, and 76% of people who use their smartphones to search for nearby products and services visit a business within a day.
Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for BusinessesSo local SEO, which involves the optimization of digital properties for a particular locality such as a town or city, ensures consumers who are in the same vicinity as a locally optimized business can find it quickly and easily.
Commenting on how essential local SEO can be for businesses, Xavier Cloitre, Managing Director of Inspira Digital Agency, notes that “local SEO is a sure way to increase engagement, traffic, and conversions.” Going further, he revealed that “in order to boost engagement on the local level, the first thing our SEO pros do is to optimize a brand’s Google Business Profile, its Knowledge Graph panel, and its social media profiles…”
Ultimately, in order to market better to their target audience and position their brand for constant growth, business owners need a good knowledge of the web environment, the tactics used by their competitors, and their own level of performance at any point in time. The good news is that the process of SEO can equip them with such useful insights as it incorporates in-depth research, tracking, and analytics.
“The bottom line remains that the essentiality of SEO as part of the online strategy of businesses today and in the future cannot be overemphasized – it is absolutely necessary for successful marketing,” Cookie Veeratat concludes.
Digital Marketing in 2021: How SEO Has Become an Essential Part of Online Strategy for Businesses
About Inspira Digital Agency
Inspira Digital Agency is a full-service digital marketing and SEO Company in Thailand focused on helping businesses achieve their online marketing goals. Find out more about how Inspira creates and executes effective digital strategies at inspiradigitalagency.com. You can also reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +66 (0)8 1466 7837.
Thailand set to resume rice export to Iraq after seven years
Thai exporters are currently preparing to export 44,000 tonnes of 100 per cent white rice to Iraq for the first time in seven years after Baghdad had suspended the import of Thai rice.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on his Facebook post on Sunday that he expected the export in the middle of August this year, after which Thai exporters could gradually export more rice to Iraq.
“The government is ready to promote Thai exporters to open more rice markets in addition to the three main markets — premium, general and niche — which will be a positive sentiment for Thai rice farmers as well,” he said.
He added that the government is also ready to promote Thai exporters to trade agricultural products in Asia, the Middle East and other regions.
“Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Commerce Ministry to promote rice and other Thai agricultural products to increase their share in the global market and compensate for the slowdown in domestic consumption due to Covid-19 and the economic slowdown,” he added.
Limited upside for SET amid extension of lockdown, increase in dark red Covid provinces
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) Index fell by 4.77 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 1,517.15 on Monday morning.
The SET Index closed at 1,521.92 on Friday, down 15.86 points or 1.03 per cent. Transactions totalled THB87.72 billion with an index high of 1,539.03 and a low of 1,516.77.
Krungsri Securities predicted the index on Monday would fluctuate between 1,510 and 1,530 points due to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration‘s move to extend lockdown measures and include more provinces in the high-risk “dark red” zone to curb rising Covid-19 cases, which would impact the economy and foreign funds flow.
“However, mass buy-ups of shares that have gained positive sentiment would help boost the index,” Krungsri Securities said.
It recommended that investors buy:
▪︎ HANA, KCE, TU, CPF, ASIAN and EPG, which would benefit from the weakening baht.
▪︎ BCH, CHG, BDMS, DOHOME, BEM, CKP, CBG, OSP, ICHI, GPSC, BEC, GUNKUL, JWD, WICE, SONIC and NER, whose second-quarter business turnover is expected to improve.
Gold faces downward pressure after weeks riding high
The price of gold in Thailand was unchanged from Saturday close on Monday morning.
The Gold Traders Association report at 9.31am showed the buying price of a gold bar at THB28,200 per baht weight and selling price at THB28,300, while gold ornaments were priced at THB27,697.32 and THB28,800, respectively.
Gold price rose by THB200 per baht weight last week and by THB1,600 per baht weight in July, with the year’s highest price at THB28,400 per baht weight.
Spot gold on Monday was US$1,812 (THB59,696) per ounce after Comex gold on Friday dropped by $18.6 to $1,817.2 per ounce due to mass sell-offs of the precious metal after its price rose to the highest in six weeks.
Hong Kong gold price, meanwhile, dropped by HK$130 to $16,830 (THB71,321) per tael, the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society reported.
Singapore expat angst forces simmering political debate
Singapore success as a financial hub has long been tied to its openness to global talent. But as the city-state battles to recover from its worst recession, a backlash in some quarters against overseas workers has again forced its way up the political agenda.
Opposition politicians are stepping up scrutiny of jobs taken up by expats, as this perennial debate about Singapore’s reliance on foreign labor sharpens. Some 70% of residents called for strict limits on the number of foreigners coming into the country, according to a survey by the Institute of Policy Studies released earlier this year, even as ministers have recently tried to drive home the importance of attracting talent. More debate in parliament is expected in the coming months.
“We have about four to five local universities that produce so many graduates every year. Things aren’t like 60 years ago,” said Kian Peng, a freelance photographer. “Is the government sure that we still need so many foreign PMEs?” he said, using a common abbreviation for white-collar workers including professionals, managers and executives.
For many foreign companies, Singapore’s low taxes and modern infrastructure make it one of the most attractive places in Asia to do business – particularly as Hong Kong gets caught in the crossfire of U.S.-China tensions. But Singapore’s growing angst about foreign workers, an issue that’s particularly heated in the local press and social media, is putting the government under pressure to explain its approach and could complicate hiring decisions, right as the country is trying to stoke post-pandemic growth.
In response to the backlash, two top ministers issued statements in parliament last month, defending the government’s balancing act of promoting local jobs while ensuring international talent can help the economy thrive.
“We must not inadvertently shake the bedrock that has enabled Singapore to succeed,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, a former trade negotiator, told lawmakers. “We cannot survive, we cannot earn a living, without being connected to the world, without being welcoming to the world.”
Singapore’s central bank chief has also weighed in on this debate. In a series of lectures that ended last week, Ravi Menon, the managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said Wednesday that even though net jobs for locals rose and there were plenty of vacancies during the first quarter, there are still many others who are unemployed. While that feeds into concerns over jobs, he also noted that the economy has benefited from the contributions of foreign talent.
“We are a labor short economy facing acute skills shortages that we have had to rely on well-qualified foreigners to fill,” said Menon, who was speaking in a personal capacity. “Let us also acknowledge that many foreigners who come here to work are highly qualified, passionate about their work, and decent people. They work hard, keep late nights, deliver good products and services, and contribute to our society.”
Still, the environment has undeniably shifted.
Banks, fund managers and consulting firms are among companies that have come under heightened scrutiny as the government cracks down on suspected pre-selection of foreigners for jobs or not giving Singaporeans a fair chance.
The framework for granting employment passes has been tightened, with the minimum qualifying salary threshold for executive and mid-level roles rising in the past year.
Unlike before, foreigners living as dependents now need a company sponsored visa to work – a contrast to employment rules in Hong Kong where dependents of permanent residents and foreign professionals face no prohibitions. And while the government introduced a two-year visa to attract global technology professionals last year, the program is not open to mid-career talent that could compete against locals for jobs.
The shift is also being felt in blue-collar industries. The government said during the budget in February it will reduce the proportion of foreign workers in the manufacturing sector to 15% by 2023 from the current 20%. Two years ago, it announced it would reduce foreign-worker quotas for the service industry to 35% by 2021 from 40% in 2019.
“To an extent, the economic effects of the pandemic have muted the effects of these restrictions,” said Devadas Krishnadas, CEO of Future-Moves Group, a boutique consultancy focused on public policy and corporate strategy. “However, should these restrictions remain in place during the economic recovery, it will be a cause of frustration in the sourcing of the best available talent from a global hinterland.”
Covid-related travel restrictions, including delays in processing entry permits, are compounding hiring challenges, according to the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.
“City-states are fragile economic units, they need a vibrant economy to survive,” said Victor Mills, the chamber’s chief executive officer. “We all need to recognize that this is about team work, local and foreign talent working together for the benefit of their companies, their customers and for society at large.”
Nevertheless, foreign labor has long been a flash point in Singaporean politics. A decade ago, discontent over immigration saw the ruling party get 60.1% of the popular vote, its worst ever election result.
In last year’s general election, the leading opposition party, the Workers’ Party, which secured its best-ever performance with 10 out of 93 parliamentary seats, published a manifesto that included tightening employment pass approvals and giving firms incentives for hiring citizens.
Foreign labor has been a hot button issue during elections “due to their far-reaching impact, including contributing toward increasing perceptions of unfair job opportunities for locals, an overcrowded transport system as well as rising property prices,” said Nydia Ngiow, Singapore-based senior director at BowerGroupAsia, a strategic policy advisory firm.
The number of permanent residency visas granted – an immigration status that is second to full citizenship – has been falling, hovering around 30,000 since 2010 from a high of 79,167 in 2008.
The number of employment passes – issued for professional roles that pay at least S$4,500 ($3,323) per month – fell 8.6% in 2020 from the previous year, according to Ministry of Manpower data. That’s in part due to the pandemic-induced recession and the tighter restrictions.
According to a mid-year business sentiment survey by the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore, the number of foreigners working in the city state contracted by 18% in the first half of 2021.
The decline isn’t enough for some.
“While it’s undeniable that there is a need for foreign workers in a lot of industries and jobs, it’s inevitable that they have replaced Singaporeans in some sectors such as technology,” said Ethan Tan, a fresh graduate looking to pursue postgraduate studies, summing up the view of those in his social circle. “The government must accept that what they thought was balancing, is obviously not working as well as it should.”
According to the study released in March by the Institute of Policy Studies, some 43.6% of the 2,012 Singapore residents said they believed immigration increases unemployment, though this was lower than those polled in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. As for the 70% in Singapore who sought strict entry limits for foreigners, this figure was higher only in Malaysia and Taiwan, out of nine countries polled.
In the July 6 parliamentary debate, Health Minister Ong said foreign professionals “help cushion the impact on the local workforce when times are bad” and “bear the brunt of job losses” during a downturn. During the pandemic for the 12 months to April this year, the number of employment pass holders dropped by about 21,600, he added.
Even so, the country’s citizen unemployment rate hit 4.9% in the third quarter of 2020, the highest since the same period in 2009, government data show. This rate fell to 3.8% in the second quarter, according to preliminary data on Friday from the manpower ministry. It said that tightened virus measures and flare up in Covid-19 cases globally had “dampened hiring sentiments among companies.”
Mustafa Izzuddin, a senior international affairs analyst at consultancy firm Solaris Strategies Singapore, said the tightening of rules around foreign labor shouldn’t be read as the country closing its doors.
The government maintains a “delicate balancing act, between people and businesses” and such policy tweaks would remain necessary as it seeks to find common ground, he said.
Published : August 02, 2021
By : Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Kwan Wei Kevin Tan
THAI sells prime properties in bid to generate cash flow
Thai Airways International (THAI) on Saturday announced the sale of its assets at prime locations, such as Lan Luang, Si Lom, Don Mueang and Phuket, to boost cash flow.
The announcement was made via “TG Property For Sale” Facebook page, which posts properties for sale at several locations in Bangkok, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Phitsanulok provinces.
THAI had sought permission from the bankruptcy court to sell the assets. The company’s crew centre in Lak Si, in Bangkok’s Don Muang district, was sold in an auction to Energy Complex, a subsidiary of PTT, for THB1.81 billion.
The flight prohibition order in the “dark red” zones due to the new Covid-19 wave has forced THAI to further curtail its flights. The company is only allowed to operate special flights to transport Thai citizens back to Thailand, cargo flights, and five international flights to Phuket, routing from Frankfurt, Paris, London, Zurich, and Copenhagen. International flights from Copenhagen to Phuket will be temporarily paused from August 1 to September 30.
Thai Airways is currently in the process of financial sourcing under its business rehabilitation plan, which is time consuming, as a result the company is unable to generate enough cash flow. It has had to put its assets up for sale in a bid to stay solvent.
For information on THAI properties on sale, call (02) 545 2176, (081) 813 5968 or email Propertyforsale@thaiairways.com.
Thai AirAsia shuts operations in August due to domestic flight ban
Thai AirAsia will temporarily cease all operations in August, due to zero revenue following the ban on domestic flights in the “dark red” provinces, in order to meet the conditions of social security assistance.
Employees were paid 50 per cent of their salary in July and the balance payment is postponed to September.
Thai AirAsia Co Ltd announced on Sunday that the company’s board had approved a temporary closure of operations at a meeting on July 29.
At the meeting, the management team explained to the employees that the company had always done its best to manage and seek funds to mitigate the impact. But, due to the third wave of the pandemic since April and the flight prohibition order in the “dark red” zones since July 21, the company has encountered a lack of cash flow and the situation was worse than expected. Therefore, it became necessary to announce short-term measures to postpone employees’ salaries for July-August.
In July, Thai AirAsia’s active employees were to be paid 50 per cent of their salary and another 50 per cent in September, while all managers and senior executives’ payments are postponed to September. In August, the company will be temporary closed for all operations in order to receive social security compensation. The situation is expected to ease in September which will allow the company to receive funds, be able to operate flights, and pay its staff full salary, the compantly said.
At the end of the meeting, Thai AirAsia executives thanked the employees for their understanding, sacrifice, and cooperation. The management team promised to continue to resolve the issues and apologised for any impact they might have caused by not handling the situation well enough.
Thai aviation industry sinking deeper as Covid shuts down travel and tourism: CAAT
Thailands aviation industry is still moving in a downward trajectory due to uncertainty over the Covid-19 outbreak among Thai and foreign tourists, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said on Saturday.
It said the volume of passengers and flights in the second quarter of this year dropped by 35.5 per cent and 27.8 per cent year on year, respectively.
Meanwhile, the volume of air freight has slightly risen by 0.01 per cent compared to the same period last year, it added.
Citing the Bank of Thailand’s forecast, the CAAT said many negative sentiments pressured the aviation industry, such as the vaccination rate and sluggish recovery in the tourism sector’s recovery.
“If the government can procure and distribute 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines within this year, herd immunity is expected to be created within the first quarter of next year which is too late because the country’s tourism season will begin from October this year,” the CAAT explained.
The CAAT said the slowdown in the tourism sector’s recovery also affected the aviation industry because Thailand was unable to ease quarantine measures within the second quarter of this year, while the crisis is likely to prolong.
It added that the number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand this year is expected to drop to 700,000 people and 10 million people next year, compared to the previous forecast of 3 million people this year and 21.5 million people in 2022.
“The authority does not expect the aviation industry to recover significantly this year as the Covid-19 crisis is becoming more severe, while Thailand has imposed travel restrictions which directly affect the tourism sector,” the CAAT said.
Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn said that the six airports in July saw 10,000 travellers per day, down 80 per cent year on year.