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E-Commerce Seminar

The Internet and Electronic Commerce in ASEAN and Thailand and
Overview of the Present Situation and Future Prospects

Conducted by Foundation for MultiMedia Communications of Japan
(Digest Version focused on Thailand-March, 1999)
1. The general situation in ASEAN country
    1.1 Internet expansion in ASEAN country
It was in 1993 that the Internet was first opened to commercial use.Before that,it was only used by the nonprofit sectors, such as academic,state,and military institutions. In Asia the number of host computers connected to the Internet started to increase from around 1996 which was considered as the first year of the Internet age. Singapore, however, was more advanced than other countries in this respect and the Internet use started to grow from 1995.
Graph 1-1 Growth in the number of Internet hosts in ASEAN countries
The extent of Internet use can be assessed by comparing the number of Internet hosts in each ASEAN country with its total population.Thus,the countries can be divided into three groups.The first group consists of the countries with widespread Internet use. Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei belong to this group. The second group consists of the countries with moderate Internet use with one host for every 4,000 to 20,000 people. This group includes Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.The last group consists of the countries with scarce Internet use. This group includes Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos. Therefore, in assessing the spread of the Internet and electronic commerce in ASEAN countries other than Singapore and Malaysia, such countries as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippine come to have more importance.
2. How the Internet and electronic commerce are developing in Thailand
    2.1 Current extent of the Internet in Thailand
According to National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) , the government organization that promote diffusion of information technology in Thailand, the extent of Internet service and use in Thailand is as follows:
  • Number of ISPs: 15
  • Transmission Capacity of Internet to abroad: 36 Mbps
  • Number of host computer: 15,146
  • Total number of IP address: 586,064
  • Number of Internet users: 200,000-300,000

    According to Thailand Network Information Center (THNIC),the registry of Internet domain name in Thailand , 2,380 domain names have been registered in Thailand at present and 80 percent of those are corporate domains

    Source:ThNic (March 02,1999)
    Figure 2-1 Internet Domain in Thailand ( Total: 2,380)
    Profile of the Internet user

    From the result of the survey of Internet users on the Net,the image of the typical Internet users in Thailand emerged:a young ,highly educated male of 25 years old or older and lives in Bangkok. Typical respondents use the Internet relatively frequently and many of them access it from home.Their main purpose is sending and receiving e-mail,downloading files and Web surfing. Few have any experience of online shopping. But the people who actually use online shopping has revealed that they utilize the Internet in many different ways from purchase of computer solfware, books and CDs to hotel reservation.This suggests that the online shopping market in Thailand has passed the experimental stage and is about to take off.
        2.2 Government policy on the Internet and electronic commerce
    The Thai government has set up a National IT Committee (NITC) for the creation of IT related policy. Based on its master-plan called IT-2000,the government is pursuing policies in the following three areas:
     1)  Create the telecommunications infrastructure that gives equal access throughout the country
     2)  Invest in projects of direct benefit to the public
     3)  Improve government service and promote a strong information industry The projects undertaken by the Thai government are as follow:

      - Draft an electronic commerce law
    - Government aid to the information superhighway
    - Kanchanapisek Network Project
    - Academic and Research Network (ThaiSan)
    - EDI-TradeSiam
    - Government Information Network (GINet)
    - Thailand Software Park

    On the other hand, the Ministry of Commerce, working independently of MOSTE ( the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment), is undertaking an experiment in electronic commerce and has established an online shopping site called in order to promote exports. The experiment is conducted in the following three sites:

    - Virtual Trade Embassy
    - Amazing Mall

        2.3 ISPs in Thailand
    In Thailand, there are 15 private ISPs in active operation. These ISPs can be divided in to three groups depending on the size of company.
      Large ISP   Medium size ISP   Small ISP
      Loxley Information Service
      Internet Thailand
      Asia infonet
      CS communication
      Asia Access
      Data Line Thai
      Far East Internet
      Siam Global Access
      The Idea Net
        2.4 Towards online shopping and electronic commerce
    Among the 15 ISPs in Thailand, 7 ISPs provide online shopping services. Some ISPs have started to provide service on Web site exclusively dedicated to online shopping malls, independent of their own Web site. However, most of the companies open a shopping mall or a shopping corner on their own Web site. These shopping malls are aimed at corporate customers that use their Web-hosting service.

    Online shops and cyber malls
      Name   Supplier   URL   Outline
    GoldSite KSC
    - A shopping mall with dozen of participating stores. They are categorized as follows : high-tech, entertainment, motor vehicles, publishers, trade fairs, hotels real estate, and golf course, etc.
    - Stores mainly ust the mall to introduce their companies and products, and a few sites have online shopping.
    Shopping Thailand Loxinfo
    - A shopping mall with four product fields: computer equipment, gifts, health-related products, and entertainment. The mall has six stores.
    - Digitalsong, one of participants on this site, provides a facility for downloading music files in the MP3 format for a fee.
    Cyber Mall Internet Thailand
    - A site consisting of links to companies that provides a Web-hosting service.
    - They have no facility for accepting payments over the Internet.
    Thai Mall Data Line Thai www.thaimall.linethai
    - Under construction
    Hot Zone/ Shopping Samart
    - A site consiting of links to the companies selling general consumer goods to which Samart provides its Web-hosting service.
    shopping Asia Infonet
    - A bulletin board fo online products sold by Asia Infonet itself.
    - Purchases cannot be processed over the Internet. Customers visit physicall stores to buy products.
    Savings corner Asia access
    - An online store whose products are provided by Asia Access itself.
    - There is no online electronic payment.
    ShoppingThai Max Cyber
    - An online shopping mall managed by Max Cyber Division, a Web service section of Max Savings, which is an Internet startup company in Thailand.
    - The mall currently has 30 participating stores.
    - The mall takes credit cards as the payment method and the transaction are completed online.
    Cyber bookstore NSTDA
    - An online bookstore provided by Cyber TechnoMart, which is run by the Thai government body, NSTDA.
    - Payment is made by bank draft only.
    It is difficult to describe that online shopping in Thailand is steadily diffusing. However, as the two advanced examples of electronic commerce in Thailand are Shopping Thai and Digitalsong. Shopping Thai brings diverse stores together and provides a payment facility developed by itself. Indicates, increasing number of companies have started to provide online trading on commercial basis, thus making it a evident that online shopping is shifting from the experimental to the practical level.

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