Thailand looks to Japan for assistance to grow its startups

Will Rock Thailand rock Thailand’s startup landscape?

Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Bangkok-based conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), and its telecommunications subsidiary True Corporation will collaborate with the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok to launch a startup incubation project called Rock Thailand.

The project will include a networking session involving representatives from ten Japanese tech startups and 20 Thai businesses, according to local media outlet The Thaiger.

Currently, Thailand’s startup landscape is moving slowly. But a slew of initiatives with government backing—including plans for what is claimed to be “ASEAN’s biggest digital innovation hub“, and cooperative efforts with Hong Kong’s Cyberport to mint a Thai unicorn in three to five years—are top-down efforts that may change that. Rock Thailand aims to foster an exchange of information and experience between entrepreneurs and tech industry personnel from two countries, and lay the groundwork for transforming the country’s economy, which heavily relies on conventional industries.

“We believe the power of leading start-ups from Japan will support us in developing innovations and advanced technologies and escalate the country to its Thailand 4.0 vision,” Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of CP Group, said.

Thailand’s 4.0 is a policy to steer the country’s economy away from traditional industries and facilitate innovative, digital transformations. Its goals include a bid to turn the country’s major population centres into smart cities, as well as the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which will convert Thailand’s eastern provinces into a stronger, unified economic zone. In particular, the Thailand Digital Park and IoT Institute will be housed within the EEC.

Editor: Brady Ng