CommunicAsia: A platform for show and tell

Asian companies are increasingly using Asia's largest ICT show as the platform to boost their aim of expanding into regional markets.

COMMUNICASIA, SINGAPORE--Asia's largest ICT exhibition is increasingly becoming a hotbed for governments and companies in the region to fulfill the ambitious plans of gaining traction overseas.

"One of our main targets to come here is to show [delegates at CommunicAsia] that there are a lot of opportunities in the ICT market in Thailand," said Kraisorn Pornsutee, Permanent Secretary of Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, in an interview with ZDNet Asia on Thursday.

The four-day CommunicAsia2006, along with EnterpriseIT2006, comes to a close today.

Kraisorn noted that the nation is aiming to become the new ICT hub of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) by 2008. Thailand's ICT market value is estimated to grow an average of 20 percent year-on-year, from some US$8.4 billion in 2006 to US$12.6 billion in 2008, he said.

Besides promoting Thailand's ICT brand to the region at CommunicAsia, the MCIT has another item on its agenda--marketing its Bangkok International ICT Expo 2006 in August, noted Kraisorn.

He added that the homegrown exhibition has doubled in size since its inception in 2004, and is expected to attract some 400,000 visitors later this year.

The Thai delegation hopes to encourage businesses across the region to showcase their technologies and products in Bangkok, particularly small and midsize companies in Singapore which he knows are "keen" to expand to the country's ICT industry, said Kraisorn.

To beef up its ICT capabilities, Thailand will focus on its two strongest markets--software development and communications. Software is the fastest growing ICT industry in Thailand, expanding at an average of 23 percent between 2005 and 2008, he said. His ministry offers tax rebates of up to eight years to software development companies, which currently number no fewer than 1,200 of the over 4,000 ICT businesses in the country.

According to Kraisorn, the communications market in Thailand is expected to grow at an average of 22 percent over the same period, as the country strives to ramp up the number of broadband users from the current 1 percent, to 10 percent of its population of 62 million within the next two years.

Show and grow
Other Asian countries are following the footsteps of Thailand to increasingly take advantage of CommunicAsia to create awareness of their businesses, and expand to new markets.

Leading the charge at this year's exhibition is Korea, which booked four individual pavilions at this year's exhibition to showcase products from the country.

According to organizer Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), the number of booths occupied by Korean enterprises has grown 61.4 percent from 57 in 2005, to 92 this year.

One Korean company making its debut at CommunicAsia2006 is CC Media, which offers software to analyze online customer behavior.

According to Alfred Chee, international business development manager for CC Media, the company intends to tap on the show to expand into Southeast Asia.

In a telephone interview, Chee told ZDNet Asia that the software vendor expects to firm up plans to appoint a distributor to represent its WebNibbler product in Singapore. He added that "several potential partners" here are currently in the process of evaluating the software.

Headquartered in Seoul, CC Media has offices in Taipei and Beijing, and is also looking to expand its business to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Korea's northern neighbor China has also increased its participation in the show. According to SES, Chinese companies occupied 78 booths this year, compared to 54 last year. Major exhibitors from the country include Huawei and ZTE.

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