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Table of Contents
The Dawn of the App Economy Opportunities for
developers grow as mobile, cloud dominate
Hot trends in 2013
Mobile, cloud, social in ‘controlled collision’
Boom year for smartphones, tablets
Mobile data, IT services to be leading moneyspinners: IDC
Software Park Thailand adopts global approach
New director: we will train ‘software managers’
with regional reach for talent
The Dawn of the App Economy
Opportunities for developers grow as mobile, cloud dominate
Thailand, much like the rest of the world, is
witnessing the dawn of a new ICT era. Although there
is debate over whether the changes signal the end
of the PC era, the unfolding ecosystem is dominated
by mobile devices, social networking and cloud
computing. It has become known as the era of the app
The significance of this ICT metamorphosis
is captured in a recent high-level economic report
published in the United States. Following an analytical
study led by the long-standing wireless-communications
industry organization CTIA, the Wireless Association,
the report said the app ecosystem was strong and
growing quickly, and had become an increasingly
important part of the US economy. Other partners in
the study were the Application Developers Alliance,
an industry association for software developers, and
economic research and consulting firm South Mountain
It described the
app economy as
local and intensely
apps give businesses
the ability to interact
with customers and
anywhere in the world,
using a hand-carried
smartphone, it said.
At the same time, employees
can be armed with apps that
them to become more productive at work, and
ordinary consumers can use mobile apps to find local
businesses and connect with nearby friends.
The report said both businesses and individual users
were recognizing the potential of the app economy
and taking advantage of it, and this was leading to a
soaring number of app-economy jobs, including those
for app developers, the people who design and create
the apps being offered for universal use.
App economy awakens
The Chairman of Software Park Thailand’s
board, Dr. Manoo Ordeedolchest, says that if the “app
economy” can be defined as businesses surrounding
mobile applications – both consumer apps and
enterprise apps – together with related businesses
based on mobility, then Thailand is definitely witnessing
the beginning of the app-economy era.
“Is the app economy the post-PC era? I do
not think so,” Manoo adds. “Do we see notebook
computers as mobile devices? I do not think so.
Yet serious business users and students worldwide
continue to use notebook computers. Although sales
of smartphones and tablets have eclipsed those of
PCs and notebook computers, they will co-exist with
mobile devices for a long time to come.”
According to the global professional-services
firm Deloitte, the app economy was worth no more
than about US$2 billion in 2012; it was only a small
portion of total ICT business. However, mobile apps
are becoming a dominant force of change; when
working hand-in-hand with cloud computing and social
technologies, mobile apps are definitely changing the
way people use ICT. The firm believes the economic
value will come from cloud computing and mobile
devices, and not from apps per se.
The principal and “evangelist” of tech startup
Builk Asia, Patai Padungtin, confirms that Thailand is
moving into the app-economy era; an era dominated
by mobile devices, social technologies and cloud
computing. This is obvious from the rapid penetration
of smart devices and the change in user behavior,
especially where it comes to buying apps, items or
any visual goods designed for mass users.
“In my opinion, the post-PC era is coming true
because of smart devices and connectivity. The Web
and apps are the means of delivering solutions. Many
years ago we spoke about the ‘Web economy’. Now,
it’s the app economy,” Patai says.
Meanwhile, Dr. Yunyong Teng-amnuay, of
Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Computer
Engineering, says that in Thailand the app economy is
definitely strong, but will be boosted by proliferation of
mobile platforms and better networks that encourage
the creation of simple cross-platform apps, with better
control and connectivity at servers.
“But it is difficult to predict, since the technology
is changing so fast,” he says.
More powerful processors in phones and better
networks will allow for a voice-app interface. Everything
else is at the servers, connected with a voice server
as a front end. There will be no more app stores.
Yunyong says that as long as the app ecosystem
is still strong in maybe five to 10 years, localization of
apps for farmers, students, hair salons and restaurants
should provide lots of opportunities. Selling at “Bt25 a
pop” for an app updating hair styles should do well, he
says, “but if I am right, then I should be rich by now.”
The executive director of the Association of Thai
ICT Industry (ATCI), Pravit Chattalada, says Thailand
is already in the app-economy era, since the country
has long been in the post-PC era.
“Remember when software was a tool to serve
our needs? As technology became more advanced and
affordable, software turned out to be an agent (brute?)
pushing unimaginable stuff into our heads. Thousands
of apps weren’t things we wanted, or even thought of,
but they simply entertained our insatiable craze. And
that was good news for our developers,” Pravit says.
Thailand’s population base is big enough to
support apps that fit local ways of life, and the advent
of the Asean Economic Community will help. Agencies
responsible for ICT must act more rapidly to make ICT
affordable “across-the-board”. The value of ICT to the
country hinges upon one keyword: affordability, Pravit
says. It’s not dependent on Apple’s shipments of the
iPhone 5, or Thailand being second to the world’s
leader in line use. Those issues simply extend the
space known as the country’s “digital gap”.
“Look at our SMEs and startup enthusiasts:
they are incredibly smart and creative,” Pravit says.
“They only need market demand and the government’s
determination to exercise practical incentives. I don’t
think it matters where the apps come from, mobile or
Opportunities vs challenges for Thai
In Manoo’s opinion, opportunities for Thai
software developers still focus around business
applications based on cloud-social-mobile-information
(according to Gartner’s CSMI Nexus). Enterprise
mobile apps within the CSMI Nexus environment will
grow out of necessity, because it is driven by business
Apps are just one aspect of the
However, consumer mobile apps face uncertain
market demand, including the problem of severe
worldwide competition. With the new service model
of the cloud and the need to transform businesses
to a service orientation, more mobile apps will be
required in addition to existing apps such as customer
relationship management (CRM), productivity tools and
Despite the hype that may surround the app
ecosystem, apps are not the whole future of the ICT
industry. Rather, apps are just one key trend.
Manoo says mobile apps will be working “at
the edge”, for the people “at the edge” to connect to
the enterprise and its partner network. Thai software
developers should be prepared to create software-asa-service and mobile apps as front-end capabilities.
But in order to design good mobile-enterprise apps,
they first have to understand the concept of customer
value-creation processes, he says.
Enterprise mobile services form another
category that has emerged out of the need for
enterprises to mobilise their intranets, and to allow
employees to bring their own devices to work (BYOD).
However, unlike the consumer-apps space, enterprises
have a substantial IT budget per employee, and
very stringent requirements for data security, identity
management, backend systems integration and
According to Patai, opportunities “are out there”
for developers, but the challenge is how to produce
monetized apps in an ocean of apps. The present
rough estimate is that there are more than 800,000
apps in the App Store and almost 800,000 apps in
He says consumer apps like gaming, social
networking, lifestyle and entertainment are very
lucrative in the short term. However, enterprise apps
still hold potential value to solve business problems.
The founder of AppReview.in.th, Worawisut
Pinyoyang, says it is absolutely true that the app
economy is coming. Most Internet use in Thailand is
dominated by smartphones, which number roughly 30
to 40 per cent of the total population. Smartphones
were the first devices from which the Internet could
be accessed “on-the-go”. The opportunities for Thai
developers are “very huge” because the market no
longer has any boundaries, and anyone can invent a
new app to solve human problems – such as an app
to support people’s short-term memory: to do, notes,
list apps, and so on.
“Philip Kotler said that ‘glocalization’ is a trend,
hence you can bring ideas from abroad and sell them
to the local market,” Worawisut says.
The chief executive of the successful tech
startup Ookbee, Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, agrees
that Thailand is moving into an app-economy era
dominated by mobile devices, social technologies
and cloud computing, since mobile apps are said to
represent the post-PC era.
He says there are huge opportunities for Thai
developers. Until now, they haven’t had distribution
and monetization channels to sell their products to
world markets, but with the arrival of the App Store and
hundreds of millions of users on mobile platforms, the
sky is the limit for Thai developers.
Dell Indochina’s managing director Anothai
Wettayakorn says that apps will become more and
more popular and grow along with the expansion of
smartphones and tablets, in order to simplify corporate
interaction with customers through mobile devices.
Three big and vital trends arose several years
ago: IT consumerization, cloud and social networking,
and these have driven the growth of many new things,
including “the everything app” concept.
“Personally, I don’t believe in the post-PC era.
The PC is evolving, and this is also being driven
by those three key trends. Bring-your-own-device
(BYOD) and Windows tablets are driving adoption in
the corporate world of virtual desktop infrastructure
(VDI) and cloud client computing. Apps are just one
component of all this,” Anothai said.
The pervasive nature of mobile computing and
cloud has created millions of opportunities for Thai
developers. The market is big and will get bigger and
bigger, and is no longer limited to Thailand alone, he
Meanwhile, Cisco Systems (Thailand)’s counry
manager Tatchapol Poshyanonda, describes the
post-PC era as the “Internet of Things”, including
people-to-machine and machine-to-machine, with
applications and connectivity (networks) playing a
major role. Tablets under US$100 are flooding the
market; 10 billion devices are connected to the Internet,
while 99 per cent are not, and 60 billion devices will be
connected by 2020.
app-economy workers, since they are simultaneously
maintaining their ecosystems or platforms and
developing their own apps.
He says application development will evolve
along this changing platform, around machine-tomachine interaction and Big Data. The Thai software
industry needs to leapfrog into these new trends to be
Tenth are accounting and IT consulting firms,
who provide app development as part of a larger suite
of services. This separate but very important category
of app-economy employers includes large operations
such Deloitte and the consulting arms of companies
such as IBM, which hire mobile-application consultants.
App economy offers jobs for
The geography of the app-economy study
mentioned at the start of this article showed that jobs
in the app economy can be found at enterprises both
small and large; tech and non-tech. The US report
said it was astonishing how fast many companies had
embraced the app economy, hiring the workers needed
to develop mobile applications at a rapid rate that was
seeing the creation of new specialties and new ways
to interact with customers and employees.
However, the core app-economy job is IT-related
and uses app-economy skills, or the ability to develop,
maintain or support mobile applications.
Based on the US analysis, there are 10 types
of companies that hire app-economy workers. The
first group, representing the leading edge of the
app economy, includes large, medium and small
enterprises that may be creating apps for themselves
or for clients.
The second group is made up of media
and software companies that are engaging in app
development for consumer use under their own names.
For example, the sports giant ESPN, based in the US
state of Connecticut, has a growing collection of mobile
Third are finance and retail companies that use
apps to reach customers; fourth are other large nontech companies that are developing apps for internal
and customer use, having realized that apps, and
mobile computing in general, are essential tools for
productivity, marketing and customer service. Fifth are
smaller non-tech firms who need a smaller number of
Sixth are non-profit organizations and
government agencies, including the military, that hire
app developers directly or indirectly. Seventh are
support companies helping to manage all the new
technology, and eighth are large companies – including
Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and RIM – that
develop and maintain mobile app ecosystems or
platforms. These are among the largest employers of
Ninth are large tech companies that develop
essential infrastructure and complementary
technologies for the app economy. These include
large wireless broadband providers, handset makers
and chip companies.
The importance of monetizing apps
Today’s developers must not only be coders,
designers and entrepreneurs, but also, and perhaps
more importantly, astute marketers, to turn ideas into
awareness and money. Awareness tends to be the
biggest problem, with a chronic condition confronted
by all developers: the ‘app discovery bottleneck”.
Mobile marketing will only increase in importance,
since the app discovery bottleneck is forecast to
worsen substantially as the number of available apps
skyrockets from the present 1.5 million to 10 million,
and while the Apple and Google stores continue to
dominate app distribution.
According to a Developer Economics 2013
survey, conducted by VisionMobile with a survey of
3,460 developers across 95 countries, 700 million
smartphones shipped in 2012 were underpinned by the
Google and Apple duopoly in mobile platforms, which
jointly commanded 80 per cent of mobile-developer
mindshare. The traditional approach to app marketing
has been mobile advertising, which was estimated by
Gartner to be a US$11.4-billion market in 2012.
With the mobile handset industry growing at
an annual compound rate of 23 per cent, the learning
curve of app entrepreneurship is a steep one. The
VisionMobile survey suggests that developers have a
lot to improve in planning their app business. Of the
survey respondents, 49 per cent build apps they want
to use themselves, but end up generating the least
Advertising is now the most popular revenue
model for apps, used by 38 per cent of developers in
the survey’s global sample. At the same time, it is the
monetization model with the least revenue per app. Inapp purchases and Freemium are on the rise, having
grown by 50 per cent in the preceding year, to be used
by more than a quarter of the developers in the survey.
In-app purchases are now the second mostpopular revenue model on iOS, with 37 per cent of
developers using it, falling slightly behind pay-perdownload.
Hot trends in 2013
Mobile, cloud, social in ‘controlled collision’
In an industry where evolutionary change,
development and innovation are occurring with
bewildering speed, it is often difficult for people in
product-oriented IT organizations to look up from
“work at the coal face” to see where the wider world
of technology is heading.
Hence, the global community of analysts,
advisers, marketers and consultants delivers its regular
forecasts and predictions, enabling the rest of us to
see the forest, almost as clearly as the trees.
information and services to where decisions are made
and transactions occur. The potential will go far beyond
smartphones and tablets to include voice, gesture
and location-based interactions; device convergence;
digital identity in the pocket; and pervasive mobile
Next, it lists social technologies, and says
businesses are no longer building technologies just
to enable interaction. Dublin-based management
and technology consultancy Accenture concurs, with
its contention that, today, “every business is a digital
business”. Accenture Technology Vision says that
mobile, cloud, social, virtualization and big data have
been continuously listed as “hot trends”. Now, they
are rapidly becoming part of the current generation of
Global professional services firm Deloitte, in its
analysis of trends in 2013 and beyond, says technology
is approaching a convergence – or a “controlled
collision” – of five forces: analytics, mobile, social,
cloud and cyber.
These five forces offer a new set of tools for
business, by establishing new rules for operations,
performance and competition. IT can now deliver
engagement and empowerment to business customers,
the firm says in its annual report examining trends in
Meanwhile, technology-research firm Gartner
says that the new era of computing – the era of the
personal cloud – has begun. Online applications and
services will transform the consumer-technology
market and become the “locations” where users
store content and access personal, business and
government services. Personal cloud will be a
transformational force in both emerging and developed
Gartner has also identified what it believes are
the top-10 technology trends in 2013. They include
mobile, social, cloud and information. It says mobile
apps and web technologies such as HTML5 are
changing the way applications are designed and
Mobile and social are the keys
Internet of Things and Big Data
Deloitte says the enterprise potential of mobile
is greater than today’s smartphone and tablet apps.
The next wave of mobile may fundamentally reshape
operations, businesses and marketplaces by delivering
Among the leading evolutionary aspects of technology
is the Internet of Things, which is expected to transform
from a niche area into a mainstream activity over the
next three years. Big Data has also become a major
on application investments and reduce risks, license
fees and administration costs. However, application,
security and sourcing professionals will need to work
together to deliver an effective enterprise app store.
The success of consumer app stores for mobile
applications has generated a lot of interest from IT
managers, mostly aimed at supporting the various
mobile platforms emerging in their organizations,
but also with the potential of extension to PCs and
changing the way enterprise applications are delivered.
However, enterprises looking to implement private
app stores will find themselves obsessing over how
to increase a steady supply of apps to drive interest,
and how their app store can support broader enterprise
driver of IT spending. Benefits to organizations from
adding Big Data to their information-management and
analytics infrastructure will force a more rapid cycle of
replacement of existing solutions. The rapid changes
in infrastructure driven by Big Data are expected to
motivate US$232 billion in worldwide IT spending
before the end of 2016.
Global market intelligence firm International
Data Corporation (IDC) believes that Big Data will
continue on its growth path, with investment in
technologies and services growing to nearly US$10
billion in 2013. But within 2013, the focus of this
investment will see an important shift, as more
venture-capital funding and mergers and acquisitions
will occur in the upper half of the Big Data stack,
including analytics and discovery tools and analytic
Enterprise App is coming
There is now widespread confirmation that
the world has entered the era of the app economy.
Gartner has forecast that one of the technology
trends in 2013 and beyond will be enterprise apps. An
enterprise app store will offer tools to boost returns
The 3rd Platform
IDC believes that the global ICT industry is in the
throes of a shift to a new technology platform for growth
and innovation – something that might happen once
every 20 to 25 years. The current thinking provides
for a “third platform” built on mobile devices and apps,
cloud services, mobile broadband networks, big data
analytics and social technologies.
It is believed that these technologies will drive around
90 per cent of all the growth in the IT market
between now and 2020. IDC predicts that worldwide
IT spending in 2013 will exceed US$2.1 trillion, up by
5.7 per cent from 2012. The biggest category driving
this growth will be smart mobile devices, including
smartphones, tablets and e-readers, which will expand
by almost 20 per cent in 2013 and generate nearly 57
per cent of the industry’s overall growth.
Excluding mobile devices, the IT industry’s growth is
forecast to be just 2.9 per cent. Among other major IT
categories, worldwide software and services spending
are forecast to grow by 6 per cent and 4 per cent,
Cloud will also be a powerful contributor to industry
developments in 2013, with the merger and acquisition
activity of the past 20 months accelerating. Packagedapplication providers like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle
will themselves become software-as-a-service (SaaS)
providers, and will battle with SaaS pure plays like
Salesforce.com and Workday for leadership in some
of the major application-software markets.
IDC expects there to be an explosion in industry PaaS
(public-platform-as-a-service) offerings in 2013 as the
market moves up the software stack. PaaS systems,
which are cloud-based shared-services environments,
are being tailored to the needs of specific industries.
Additional industry-focused solution developers are
developing and deploying a range of industry-targeted
value-added solutions and services on these platforms.
IDC also forecasts that increased use of mobile
devices and apps and the migration toward SaaS and
industry PaaS will bring about profound changes in the
data centers and IT organizations supporting these
Boom year for smartphones, tablets Mobile data,
IT services to be leading money- spinners: IDC
Thailand’s information and communications
technology (ICT) market is continuing to grow this year,
especially for smartphones, tablets and IT services.
Spending on ICT is expected to increase in all sectors;
government, private and consumer.
The latest forecast from global market-research
firm International Data Corporation (IDC) says that
Thailand’s ICT spending will also be fueled in 2013
by heavy investment in 3G and telecom infrastructure.
The firm expects the Thai ICT market to expand by
9.8 per cent in 2013, reaching US$21 billion, while IT
spending alone will account for $12.5 billion, boosted
by both the enterprise and consumer markets.
IDC also expects heavy investment to continue
from the “top-spending verticals”, such as financial
services, telecom organizations and the government.
Organizations in the government sector are expected
to continue rolling out initiatives to connect with
government cloud (G-cloud) and the government
information network (GIN) in line with the Smart
Thailand Master Plan.
The market researcher forecasts that the growth
of Thailand’s ICT market this year will be largely driven
by the four pillars shaping the future of the global ICT
world: cloud, mobility, social business and big data
IDC Asia Pacific’s Research Manager for Cross
Products and Consulting, Attaphon Satidkanitkul, said
that among the factors shaping Thailand’s ICT industry
in 2013 would be demand for mobility from consumers
and enterprises, evolving business-delivery models
that influence ICT spending and increasing competition
among telecom service providers in the 3G era.
However, he said that mobile-data services
continued to be the highlight of the telecom industry.
IDC expects mobile-data services to have a bright
future in 2013 via wireless-network services, due to
rising demand from end-users and the establishment of
fully operational 3G services by the end of the second
quarter. The company expects growth in mobile-data
spending to reach 14 per cent, or $1.7 billion, with
proliferation of smart devices being the main catalyst
Along with hardware and networking systems,
IT services will be one of the leading technology
areas to contribute to IT spending in the Thailand
market. The revenue of IT services is one of the key
indicators with which system integrators’ performance
is evaluated, and this year, IT-services offerings will
be customized to support real business processes. In
other words, this delivery model will generate better
revenue through quality of services. Outsourcing 3.0,
multi-vendors management services and on-demand
managed services are good representatives of this
new delivery model.
IDC predicts that the Thailand IT-services market
will grow by 14.2 per cent, year on year, in 2013, to
reach $1.8 billion.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s PC market will probably
record only slight expansion and move toward flat
growth in the future. This will force PC vendors and
channel partners to adopt new strategies to protect
their strong footing against new challengers. Thailand’s
PC market is expected to grow by less than 4 per cent
in 2013, with around four million units shipped.
In sharp contrast, the smartphone and tablet
markets are becoming the new battleground, with
rising excitement. Thailand’s smartphone market is
expected to expand by 40 per cent, year on year, to
reach 7.3 million units shipped. The tablet market will
grow at a similar rate, with a total shipment of 3.5
million units. Consumers will be the main beneficiaries
of this battle, buying new smart devices on the basis
of an attractive selection of models and prices, while
mobile-phone vendors will focus on pushing strategic
marketing strategies with their respective channels to
win share in the Thai market.
The resulting surge in the number of smart devices
in the country is expected to catalyze the use of
digital content from business-content applications to
entertainment and lifestyle-related applications.
Software Park Thailand adopts global approach
New director: we will train ‘software managers’ with regional reach for talent
Software Park Thailand’s new director,
Chalermpol Tuchinda, has a bold, clear vision of
the park’s role in the future of the country’s software
He says he wants the park to become a
‘gateway’ connecting local software businesses to
potential partners and customers around the world,
and he believes its main role is to make Thai software
companies strong and competitive, so that they will
help the country’s economic development.
A major part of this plan is the development
of software middle-managers who will be regional
players, drawing the best of Asean talent to bolster a
growing Thai industry. The following are Chalermpol’s
answers to some big questions about his new position:
What are your priorities as the new
director of Software Park Thailand?
My short-term goal is to see the park become a
‘business intelligence’ center for Thailand’s software
industry, with the aim of opening a ‘global software
gateway’ – bridging the gap between the local industry
and overseas supply and demand – by 2015. To
achieve this goal, the park needs to develop a local
software database within this year. I see the park’s
main role as supplying business intelligence for the
software industry; it will develop a database of software
companies, software human resources and software
expertise in Thailand.
The park must be the center for all activities and
requirements related to software in this country. It must
have the industry database, including the profiles of
software people and the expertise domains of software
houses. The park aims to complete this first mission
by the end of this year, so that if people want any kind
of information about the software industry in Thailand,
they will think of us and come to us. We will help them
to get what they need. We will match, coordinate and
organize those requirements to the best local sources
through our database and networks here in Thailand.
At present, we have a database of 400 companies that
have been Software Park Thailand’s incubatees over
the past 10 years. We incubate around 50 companies
a year, but some of them are not active anymore.
About 400 firms are active and continuing to run their
What is the role of the park in
supporting Thailand’s software
The park is preparing to bridge the gap between
demand and supply in software development by
pooling the resources of software parks throughout
the country and the region. In this, the park will adopt
three levels of software-resource-network pooling. First
is the country level, and the Thailand Software Park
Alliance provides the link to software parks throughout
the country. Second is the alliance of software-park
incubation centers throughout Asean, such as those in
Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. On
this level, the park will offer to match resources, so that
these centers help each other to incubate their software
firms, and finally match businesses. The third level is
collaboration through the Asian-Oceanian Computing
Industry Organization (ASOCIO).
What is the park’s key agenda?
Apart from collaboration, in my term [as director]
the park will continue to focus on developing human
resources for the software industry. But it will focus on
training at the middle-management level; to develop
software-project management people.
Over the past decade, the park has been
developing software human resources with an
emphasis on training technicians, such as those
involved in software coding and programming, and has
been focusing on software process improvement with
the promotion of CMMi standards. From now on, we
need to create middle-management resources in our
software industry in order to manage software projects
and software human resources throughout the region.
Currently, we lack developers, and we need to source
human resources from other countries. The softwaremanagement people, on whose development we aim to
focus, will create added value for the software industry
because these people will help us to effectively utilize
all software human resources, locally and regionally.
We will continue to produce software developers,
but by focusing on middle management we will give the
country a short-cut that will add value to the software
industry. We need middle-management people in three
areas: software-development managers, software
architecture and software-quality managers. To date,
we have about 150,000 qualified developers, but this
is still behind the industry’s requirements, because it
is continuing to increase every day. So we will develop
more people to manage software-development
projects, with the ability to source software talents both
in the country and from the region, to get softwaredevelopment projects done successfully.
How else will the park promote the
software business in Thailand?
The park will also play the role of an enabler
to help real sectors in Thailand get real benefits from
software investment. We will start by focusing on the
tourism industry. We will join hands with technology
partners, both government organizations and private
companies, to establish a common-technology
platform to allow software houses to plug in to reach
target customers with huge potential in the tourism
We would like to see this common-technology
platform benefit all stakeholders throughout the
tourism ecosystem. This technology platform will be
established and running by next year. We will continue
to support Thailand’s software industry in both a
business role and as an ‘enabler’.