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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        7  January 2011

IBM partners with Bangkok

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IBM Thailand has set an ambitious goal of making its "Big Blue" products and services a national asset in Thailand by providing information technology to help build a smarter Bangkok.

Parnsiree Amatayakul, the newly appointed managing director of IBM Thailand, who succeeded Thanwa Laohasiriwong, also identified other goals for the local operations. They include tackling climate-change problems and improving social and economic problems, which will in turn drive the company's business growth opportunities.

She said technology was seen as a solution to some of the problems that exist on the planet, including climate change, which is believed to increase and intensify the occurrence of natural disasters, in the areas of agriculture and water management.

For instance, business analytics software could predict and prevent or send alerts about the possibility of floods.

Smarter Bangkok, a collaborative project between the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and IBM under the Smarter Planet initiative, is aimed at solving problems in the capital in the areas of public safety, transport, education, health care and government service.

Ms. Parnsiree said IBM is focusing its investment on Thailand, one of the 20 countries it defined as big growth markets out of 142 countries. One of the reasons is that the country's spending on IT was only 1 percent of gross domestic product.

In comparison, Singapore's IT spending stood at 2.3 percent while that of Vietnam and Indonesia was below 1 percent.

IBM plans to set up a centre of competency by bringing in experts to train salespeople and local technicians.

Ms. Parnsiree also said she positioned herself as "the glue" of the company whose role is to integrate all product teams to deliver solutions serving some industries, particularly energy, telecoms, banking, healthcare and government.

"Our goal is to make IBM a new chapter in the history by providing solutions to customers and building valuable economic and social impact," she said.

"The year 2011 is IBM's centennial anniversary and the 60th anniversary of IBM Thailand," she said.

IBM contributed computers and human resources to help NASA land the first man on the moon in 1969. At the same time, IBM Thailand implemented Asean's first online banking system for Bangkok Bank.

The company plans to invest 100 million baht to build a third data centre this year. The facility is to serve domestic demand and back up the data centre outside Bangkok and pave the way for expansion to overseas market.

After working with IBM for 19 years, Ms Parnsiree is the second woman to become the head of the local unit. Her father, Sompop Amatayakul, was a former managing director of IBM Thailand. He also served as deputy minister of the Industry Ministry from 1996-97.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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