Thailand dreams of 100 smart cities

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As a part of its Thailand 4.0 initiative – a plan to transform Thailand’s economy into a digitally powered ecosystem – the country has set itself the target of creating no less than 100 smart cities within its borders over the next two decades. At least this is what Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Jungtong said when he was promoting the Thailand 4.0 initiative in autumn last year.

Meanwhile, the Thai government has lifted its target of creating three smart cities by 2018, namely Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Phuket City, to seven by including industrial centers on the eastern seaboard, Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao. In addition, Bangkok should begin transforming into a smart city this year, at least partly.

A budget of 300 million baht ($9.6 million) has been earmarked for the smart city initiative in 2018. It is understood that it will not be a full transformation at a time, but there will be set focuses depending on each city’s characteristics.

While the implementation of Phuket as a smart city highlights its potential of becoming an international tourism hub, the smart city initiative in Chiang Mai focuses more on promoting smart agriculture. Khon Kaen, in turn, is geared towards becoming a medical hub, a transportation hub and a MICE (meeting, incentives, convention and exhibition) center. The eastern seaboard cities would be spiced up with smart industrial and logistics services in accordance with the Eastern Economic Corridor initiative of the Thai government.

Bangkok is up for a guess. The capital of over eight million people is facing many infrastructural problems, lack of maintenance and modernisation, while the administration remains very bureaucratic and ineffective. There is not much of a roadmap for Bangkok to become  a smart city, and certainly there is not enough skilled staff around to hire, let alone engineers to plan it.

To circumvent this, the Thai government is now inviting foreign investors to enter private public partnerships to bring things forward. It said it would incentivise such PPPs and promote long-term investment in accordance with its National Smart City master plan, which has, however, yet to materialize.

PPPs are sought for Bangkok and pother potential smart Thai cities in the sectors of smart governance, smart building and environment, smart mobility, smart safety, smart power, smart education, smart tourism, smart digital media and smart healthcare, the government said.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

As a part of its Thailand 4.0 initiative – a plan to transform Thailand’s economy into a digitally powered ecosystem – the country has set itself the target of creating no less than 100 smart cities within its borders over the next two decades. At least this is what Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Jungtong said when he was promoting the Thailand 4.0 initiative in autumn last year.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As a part of its Thailand 4.0 initiative – a plan to transform Thailand’s economy into a digitally powered ecosystem – the country has set itself the target of creating no less than 100 smart cities within its borders over the next two decades. At least this is what Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Jungtong said when he was promoting the Thailand 4.0 initiative in autumn last year.

Meanwhile, the Thai government has lifted its target of creating three smart cities by 2018, namely Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Phuket City, to seven by including industrial centers on the eastern seaboard, Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao. In addition, Bangkok should begin transforming into a smart city this year, at least partly.

A budget of 300 million baht ($9.6 million) has been earmarked for the smart city initiative in 2018. It is understood that it will not be a full transformation at a time, but there will be set focuses depending on each city’s characteristics.

While the implementation of Phuket as a smart city highlights its potential of becoming an international tourism hub, the smart city initiative in Chiang Mai focuses more on promoting smart agriculture. Khon Kaen, in turn, is geared towards becoming a medical hub, a transportation hub and a MICE (meeting, incentives, convention and exhibition) center. The eastern seaboard cities would be spiced up with smart industrial and logistics services in accordance with the Eastern Economic Corridor initiative of the Thai government.

Bangkok is up for a guess. The capital of over eight million people is facing many infrastructural problems, lack of maintenance and modernisation, while the administration remains very bureaucratic and ineffective. There is not much of a roadmap for Bangkok to become  a smart city, and certainly there is not enough skilled staff around to hire, let alone engineers to plan it.

To circumvent this, the Thai government is now inviting foreign investors to enter private public partnerships to bring things forward. It said it would incentivise such PPPs and promote long-term investment in accordance with its National Smart City master plan, which has, however, yet to materialize.

PPPs are sought for Bangkok and pother potential smart Thai cities in the sectors of smart governance, smart building and environment, smart mobility, smart safety, smart power, smart education, smart tourism, smart digital media and smart healthcare, the government said.

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