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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           25   August  2011

Google opens in Thailand

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Giant search-engine service provider and creator of the Android smart-phone platform, Google, has opened a local office in Thailand.

The move reflects a commitment by Google to focus on the Thai market.

The American multinational, which is based at Mountain View in California, hosts a variety of Internet-based services and products and generates revenue mainly from advertising.

Along with the opening of its first office here, Google has announced the appointment of Ariya Banomyong, 38, as its first country head for Thailand. Having taken his new post on July 1 this year, Ariya will oversee Google's sales and business-development operations in this country.

Google's aims in Thailand are to encourage local businesses to go online successfully and to raise online-advertising spending in the Thai market from the current level of only 0.3 per cent of total advertising spending to a level closer to that in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, which have a well- developed Internet infrastructure and where online-advertising spending is 30 to 50 per cent of total ad spending.

Ariya comes from 10 years' experience in the telecom business with True Corporation, where his last position was chief commercial officer of True Corporation's Convergence. His experience will serve Google's mission of dealing with Thailand's Internet market, which is seeing a convergence of fixed-line and mobile Internet usage.

Thailand has around 25 million Internet users, which means more than 30 percent of the total population is online. About 40 percent of these users access the Internet via mobile devices.

Importantly, these people are using search services every day. Of all the counties in Southeast Asia, Thailand has the highest number of searches - 55 million per day.

Ariya said the number of mobile-Internet users in Thailand was expanding rapidly, having grown three-fold in 2009 and 2010 to represent about 40 percent of all Internet users. Every day, three out of every five Thai smart-phone users employs a search service. This figure is higher than that in many developed countries, including the US, the UK, Germany and Australia. And the most important key word of these mobile searches is "restaurant".

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   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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