Thailand Poised for E-commerce


BANGKOK, THAILAND, February 8, 1999 -- Thailand is moving quickly to embrace the internet and to use it as a cost effective way of conducting business. Although there is eagerness to use the medium for business, especially local business, the enthusiasm is dampened by the lack of PC's among the general populace. As a result commerce that is promoted via the internet seems to be geared towards attracting foreign business. The tourist trade is in the forefront when it comes to using the internet to conduct business. There are numerous web sites that offer all sorts of services in the tourist trade. Some simply supply basic information but others have sophisticated interactive web sites that can be used to plan a complete vacation. One can select and book hotels on the basis of very comprehensive information that may include streaming video and audio. Transportation and trips for the tourist are easy to plan from the sophisticated  sites and goods and services are usually delivered as advertised.

A very obvious use of the internet evident to tourists is the proliferation of email shops especially clustered around tourist hubs such as in Phuket. These are places where one pays a small fee and is given access to a computer for a few minutes (typically 15) to logon and surf the net but particularly to send and receive email. The northern parts of Thailand such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have not embraced the internet as much as in the Bangkok and Pukhet. Nevertheless, you will notice that most of the tailors that ply the tourist trade have internet email addresses by which they can be contacted by clients. These small shops are thus building a list  of international clientele that could provide them with substantial contributions to the bottom line.

Another segment of the business community that is using the WEB substantially are exporters. These include raw materials producers and crafts and finished products companies that can display their wares to the world at large. Again the perception is that the thrust of these web savvy promotions is to reach the foreign trade. The prices incentives and merchandise offered at these sites are often beyond the means of or are unattractive to locals.

We saw no particular signs of banks, lending and other financial institutions offering services on the internet but as the population increases use of the internet and the number of PCs in the country as a whole progresses there are bound to be innovations to use the net in those venues as well.

The shameless peddling of sex is a segment that needs no comment other than to say that it is more or less on a par with other smut peddled on the internet around the world.

LORETechnology, L.L.C. is a San Francisco Bay Area company providing electronic commerce consulting services to the Financial Services Industry.