The United States of America has been pushing countries around the world to ban Huawei from participating in the deployment of its core 5G network. Despite losing many 5G markets, the company has been increasing its presence in Southeast Asia. In fact, Huawei Thailand announced it will invest 475 million baht to establish a 5G EIC (ecosystem innovation center) at the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) in Bangkok.
In partnership with the Thailand Ministry of Digital Economy and Society MDES and The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), Huawei will conduct research on how to use the fifth-generation network across different industries such as medical care, agriculture, remote learning and security. The project aims to accelerate digital transformation with 5G, cloud, and Artificial Intelligence. The 5G Ecosystem innovation center is expected to incubate 100 startups in the next 3 years. Moreover, it is expected to create new business opportunities for Small Medium Enterprises.
During the opening ceremony that was held on September 21, 2020, DES minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said, “This is an important milestone demonstrating the readiness of Thailand to be a digital hub in Asean by utilizing 5G technologies to improve economic and social development”. As part of his keynote speech entitled, “Incubating 5G Ecosystem to Support the Digital Transformation of Thailand 4.0”, Punnakanta said that commercial 5G will be available in the next few months.
The 5G ecosystem innovation center set to be opened in Thailand is the first such launch in ASEAN, said Deng, chief executive of Huawei Thailand, according to Bangkok Post. On the other hand, the center can help fight against pandemics. “Thailand takes a crucial step toward moving into a new socio-economic era. Thailand is among the first countries in ASEAN to be on track to adopt 5G technology, which not only offers innovative services and seamless experiences but is also reshaping all industries toward digitalization. This is one of the Prime Minister’s and the government’s greatest priorities,” said Minister Punnakanta, according to Bangkok Post.
Depa aims to train 500 workers and support 20 startups. The agency is ready to collaborate with mobile operators across Thailand to support the project, avowed Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President and Chief executive of Depa. “Depa’s mission is to drive Thailand towards the digital economy. Thailand 5G EIC will bring together an international alliance network to drive Thailand digital innovations in the long run. Collaboration between Depa and leading global companies like Huawei in establishing the 5G EIC will greatly enrich the [5G] ecosystem,” he added, according to The National Thailand.