Google launches initiatives to boost Thailand’s digital economy

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In its third “Google for Thailand” event held today (August 27), Google launched an array of initiatives to help more Thai people and businesses play a part in long-term growth of the country’s digital economy.

To achieve this, Google introduced its new program, “Saphan Digital”, delivered in partnership with the Commerce Ministry and leading industry players.

Saphan Digital offers local businesses, individuals and NGOs a wide range of digital support and access to experts to help them acquire digital skills to expand their businesses efficiently. Eligible individuals will also have the opportunity to pair up with other businesses and NGO participants for hands-on experience in executing digital solutions.

Jackie Wang, country manager of Google Thailand, said this program is part of the company’s efforts to address the needs of nearly 1.3 million SMEs that were badly hit by the pandemic.

“We realise that the ‘new normal’ brought on by Covid-19 has compounded the need for local enterprises to be online in order to continue serving their customers. For them to do that, they have to be empowered with the right digital knowledge and skills,” she said.

Apichaya Taechamahapun, country head of Google customer solutions in Thailand, added that Saphan Digital’s main contribution will be combined digital support and tools from Google and coaching sessions with experts in the fields of banking, e-commerce, online delivery, online recruitment and community space.

“By pooling together experience, expertise and digital tools, we are giving everyone, especially our SMEs, the opportunity to upskill and take advantage of the internet’s benefits.”

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, who attended the event, said his ministry was pleased to work with Google on the Saphan Digital program to help SMEs thrive in the digital era and said this was a good example of collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Google Thailand also announced that G Suite for Education will be integrated into the new “Digital Education Excellence Platform” (DEEP), making it available for all students and teachers in public schools nationwide, free of charge.

According to Mike Jittivanich, head of marketing for Google Thailand, ensuring students have learning opportunities both online and offline is an important part of Google’s commitment to support a sustainable digital economy.

He also revealed that Google is bringing “Developer Student Club”, an initiative launched in partnership with six universities including Chulalongkorn, Kasetsart, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi and Mahidol, to build a stronger developer community in Thailand.

“This initiative will serve as university-based community groups for students interested in Google technologies, providing practical workshops to build skills and projects to address local community challenges,” he explained.

Over the past years, Google has continuously supported Thailand’s education ecosystem through various initiatives including Academy Bangkok, the first Google Space of its kind in Asia to be a digital-skills training facility.

In response to Covid-19, all of Academy Bangkok programs and other Google courses are now available online at “Grow with Google” for easier access.

Google has also continued to improve the experience on Google Maps for Thailand. From today, users will be able to discover and visit new local favourites right from the Explore tab on Google Maps as recommended by YouTube Creators.

Recommendations can range from restaurants and shopping malls to cultural attractions across Thailand. Another feature Google highlighted was Plus Codes, which will help users identify an exact address on Maps where street names don’t currently exist. Through this feature, accessing health care or receiving packages and delivery is now much easier in areas in Thailand where physical addresses aren’t common.