The initiation of Thai businesses and entrepreneurs into the nuances of web-based business processes has begun with Google and its partners’ campaign – ‘Thai Business Go Online’. It has also introduced several self-help programs for businesses to learn the ropes of creating an online presence (web site creation) and monetization (advertising) with its Google GuRu and Blogger programs.
Thai’s are definitely net-savvy; analysts’ reports on web usage speak for themselves–every eight-out-of-ten Thais research online for products and services, prior to buying them on or off-line. However, only one in ten Thai businesses have their own websites.
Researchers have found that Thai businesses in every category are of the misplaced belief that having a website and conducting business online is appropriate only for fancy and tech-savvy entrepreneurs and not the right model for them.
Google, through a multi-platform campaign, is leading the charge to bring Thai businesses into the online economy. As a starting point, most Thais are now familiar with Google Maps, which they use as a smart navigation tool to escape snarling traffic and hit the freeway for more convenient travel.
However, the fact that Google has an entire business platform created for entrepreneurs, small and big businesses, is now gaining popularity, as Google has taken the Thai Business Go Online special initiative to show Thais that websites and online advertisements will optimize business returns; and that furthermore, there is a global paradigm shift in the prevailing economic model, increasingly involving the permeation of internet technology. The campaign focuses on SMBs to realize that online business is like the freeway without any traffic-blocks.
The initiative illustrates with examples of local Thai businesses making it big by trusting internet technology to become their prime-driver. It shows, for example, how a business such as an enterprising entrepreneur selling crocodile essence could reach a global audience with a great website and online commerce, thereby liberating itself within minutes from the confining shackles of saturated local customers and thus reaching far greater profit potential.
Internet technology, and especially how Google runs it, is the key-driver in creating a global village. Amongst its other online services, such as its search engine or the news, Google now offers this platform for managing businesses, which consists of a suite of integrated business applications for individual, home-based, and small-tomedium businesses. These are free for beginners and low-cost business-management software for professional businesses. Its Chrome browser is built for secure and fast searches and is defining the way the world looks for information and uses it (through websites).
From an external point of view, it is critical to Thailand that it begins the processes of creating an online brand for itself. China, Japan, India all have unique brand presence created largely by users using the internet for local content, as well as for the promotion of international products and services. Thailand’s rich culture, social practices and unique modern outlook all need to be transliterated for global visitors, and Google is the ideal vehicle to help Thailand achieve it. The trickle-down effect of this digitization will lead to faster and secure monetization, greater economic growth, and will help ensure a better future for the Thai culture and society by retaining content in Thai language. Google has an excellent online program which can automatically translate from Thai and several other languages to English and vice versa.
However, it requires government backing and building of technology infrastructure – faster, reliable, powerful networks and broadband connectivity. Political will definitely is critical to the success of Google’s campaign in order to enable Thailand to achieve its digital goals – ‘the next big opportunity.’
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