Bangkok Bank encourages Thai SME to adapt to four challenging factors in the digital era and invites partners to provide intensive knowledge on the new opportunities

Wednesday 19 June 2024 10:31
Bangkok Bank encourages Thai SME to adapt to four challenging factors in the digital era and invites partners to provide intensive knowledge on the new opportunities in global markets via cross border e-commerce, reinforcing the Bank's status as a "trusted partner", ready to support business through all changes
Bangkok Bank encourages Thai SME to adapt to four challenging factors in the digital era and invites partners to provide intensive knowledge on the new opportunities

Bangkok Bank supports the acceleration of Thai SME to adjust and prepare to meet four challenging factors in the digital era: marketing, technology, branding and funding. The Bank invites leading partners from the public and private sectors to enhance the knowledge of Thai SME and enable them to effectively sell products in global markets through online and offline channels, as well as identify risk factors and barriers so that business can prepare to adapt in a sustainable manner.

Bangkok Bank Executive Vice President Head Metropolitan Business Banking Rachot Sektrakul said that entering the digital era is an important change that requires SME operators to adapt quickly. In particular, they must adapt to the Intelligence Economy which applies information technology to facilitate faster and easier business operations and helps plan and manage business systems that improve efficiency. However, making these adjustments is not easy as businesses still face four challenges, namely: new digital commerce marketing, the technology skills of employees, how to build a strong brand and lastly, access to capital that will drive investment and improve business potential.

To equip entrepreneurs to be ready to adjust to the digital era, Bangkok Bank, as a "trusted partner" standing alongside every stage of a business, joined The Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) and to organize a seminar titled "New opportunities in global markets via cross border e-commerce". The seminar aims to strengthen entrepreneurs' capabilities to seize opportunities to expand globally as cross-border business through e-commerce increases while providing them with tools to adjust their businesses smoothly.

"To enter an e-commerce market effectively businesses must learn and prepare themselves in many aspects, including conducting product research, product development, finding the right offline and online distribution channels, as well as overcoming trade barriers, particularly those relating to the environment, with many regulations not being clear until 2025. These are some of the things that entrepreneurs need to be aware of and be ready to cope with. However, many entrepreneurs do not know where to start. This is why the Bank intends to connect businesses with experts to provide the most appropriate advice while equipping them with capabilities to cope with challenges including marketing, brand building, online promotional activities, the promotion of technology skills for workers, and access to capital," said Mr. Rachot.

The Bank has previously launched Bualuang Transformation Loan, a special interest rate loan to help SME customers with a total credit of 20 billion baht and a fixed interest rate of 5% per year and a 5-year term. With a maximum credit line of 10 million baht per SME, the loan aims to support the business sector to adjust and enhance their competitiveness to be able grow sustainably. Interested entrepreneurs, both current or new customers, can apply for the Bualuang Transformation Loan from February 1, 2024 - January 31, 2025 (or until a total credit is fully taken).

Miss Raykha Srisomboon, Director of Economic Analysis and Risk Warning Department, The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion, said Thailand currently has approximately 3.2 million SME operators, of whom 1.34 million are in trading sector, followed by 1.30 million in the service sector and 515,000 in the manufacturing sector. In 2023 only 22,429 SME exported their products overseas, mainly electronic devices and parts, gems and jewelry, sugar and fruit. ASEAN is an important market for SME operators while the US and Chinese markets are expanding due to Thailand's exports benefitting from the US-China trade block.

"Although SME constitutes the largest group of business operators in Thailand, only 0.7% of them export. This is a result of the lack of access to information and funding sources to develop their businesses so they can export. Meanwhile, existing exporters also face challenges such as the lack of updates on trade trends, shortage of labor with technology skills to leverage production or trade platforms, evolving regulations related to exporting goods, and funding sources needed to improve their business," said Miss Raykha.

In 2023, the export value of the SME expanded by 26.3%, and over the 5 years from 2019 to 2023, Thailand's SME export value increased by 5.2%. The growth was supported by collaborations between the public and private sectors and financial institutions who helped entrepreneurs improve their business capabilities amidst a challenging competitive environment. SME export value in 2024 is expected to increase by 8-10%

Source: Bangkok Bank