With the continuing growth of online trading, more Thai enterprises are choosing to set up e-commerce businesses alongside their normal operations in a bid to reach more consumers both at home and overseas.
Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kachornprasart said yesterday that the value of online trading in Thailand had grown significantly in the past few years, reaching Bt1 trillion last year. With more people having access to the Internet, the value is expected to grow by 20 per cent this year.
Thai enterprises have a bright future in the online trading world due as more and more people become familiar with Internet usage in their daily lives and become more confident in the trustworthiness of e-commerce, he said.
To promote strong growth, enterprises should not only focus on normal trading methods and also need to develop their business online, as such a strategy enables them to able to capture more customers both domestically and abroad, he added.
Siriwat said online business would also be a good starting point for Thai operators, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, when it comes to penetrating Asean markets, as electronic trading entails a lower operating cost than traditional business channels.
According to Business Develop-ment Department (BDD) data, 10,158 websites are registered for conducting e-commerce. The number is expected to increase by 20-30 per cent this year as more enterprises become aware of the benefits of online trading, Siriwat said.
To facilitate online business growth, the department also provides a "BDD Verified" guarantee for online operators that pass the necessary standard and prove their reliability.
The department yesterday also signed a memorandum of understanding with nine government and private agencies to facilitate e-commerce growth.
The memorandum was inked with Thailand Post, the National Science and Technology Develop-ment Agency, the Software Industry Promotion Agency, the Electronic Transactions Development Agency, commercial banks and software and Internet associations.
Burin Kledmanee, chief operating officer of Ready Planet Enterprises - an online-trading website developer - said more Thai enterprises opted to engage online trading each year as the Internet access rate continued to grow.
About 20 million Thai users currently access the Internet, a level that is expected to reach 30 million in the next couple of years, he said.
Enterprises should focus more on e-commerce as it offers lower operating costs than normal trading, he said, adding that failing to do so would mean a lost opportunity to increase sales and promote their products to a wider range of consumers.
Watha Suteesopon, assistant general manager of Versa Retail, said online trading had increased the company's chances of reaching new groups of consumers in rural areas.
Since launching a website and e-commerce service seven years ago, the company's online sales have grown by about 100 per cent a year.
Nutchaya Kankang, in charge of sales and tour operations at Thai Activity, said more than 90 per cent of the company's clients were online customers.
E-commerce is the easiest and cheapest channel for promoting the company's products and reaching clients, she said.