Thailand's internet economy ranked second in SE Asia
Thailand’s internet economy is ranked second in South East Asia valued at 394 billion baht in 2018, second after Indonesia. The business to consumer e-market continues to boom with the increase of online shopping, ride hailing and online travel booking. The market has tripled growth from $US900 million in 2015 and is expected to reach $US13 billion in 2025. Ride-hailing in Thailand is projected to reach $US700 million in 2018, growing by 22 percent from 2015, and hitting $US 4 billion by 2025. Online media including gaming, videos and music is also growing strongly, nearly tripling by 2025. Internet users in Thailand increased from 38 million in 2015 to over 45 million this year, with 90 percent of users accessing the internet via mobile devices. Reports show that Thais are the most online-engaged users in the world, at 4.2 hours per day. The director of Google Thailand reported that the internet economy contributes 2.7 percent of Thailand's national GDP, showing it is in line with the country's economic growth.
In line with that move towards a more digital society, a recent survey shows that Thai consumers say they are looking forward to a cashless society, with 69 percent of those between the ages of 18 – 34 saying they trust financial tech systems, only 55 percent of those 55 years and older said they do. In Thailand, 57 percent of respondents said they were excited about a cash free future, and 83 percent saying they would open a savings account via a mobile app. In Japan only 49 percent said they would, while in the US it was 53 percent and the UK 57 percent who say they would open a bank account via a mobile application.
The government is offering tax incentives to taxpayers for purchases of rubber products (car, tires, bicycle, tires, motorcycle tires), OTOP products, and books, including e-books but not magazines or newspapers, valued at 15,000 baht or more during the period of December 15, 2018 to January 16, 2019. Taxpayers need to save their invoices and the rubber products must have documents from the Rubber Authority of Thailand, while the OTOP products must be registered with the Community Development Department and the books must be purchased from companies or registered partnerships. Taxpayers will be able to use the purchases as deductibles on their personal income tax for 2019 if purchased in 2018 and in 2020 if purchased in 2019.
The Green Line extension from Bearing to Samut Prakan has opened for a trial run and will be free to the public for four months until April 15, 2019. The 13 kilometer extension is open daily from 6 am to midnight with nine stations; Pu Chao, Chang Erawan, Royal Thai Naval Academy, Pak Nam, Srinagarindra, Phraek Sa, Sai Luat and Keha, where there is a parking structure for 1,200 cars.
The Thai government is launching a website to allow for online applications for visas at https://www.thaievisa.go.th. The website, which is live, shows options for tourist visas, transit, business visas, long-stay (retirement)visas, SMART, investor, stay with family and education visas. The e-Visa system will allow foreign nationals to apply online for visas; from completing the form to pay for the visa. The service will be available in Beijing on February 15 and in other cities in China by March 1. It will then roll out in Britain and France on April 1, and in all countries with Thai embassies and consulates within three years. Payments can be made via including credit card, QR code and Internet banking. Payment via QR code will debut in China through WeChat Pay, AliPay and China Union Pay.