The key part that a combination of regional integration and digitisation is playing in helping Thailand’s banks to reach new customers was highlighted by Tan Choon Hin, CEO, United Overseas Bank (UOB) Thailand, in a video interview he gave recently to Oxford Business Group’s online broadcasting channel, Global Platform.
Hin told licence holders that regional integration would bring more opportunities for banks looking to expand into other ASEAN markets in an increasingly competitive operating environment.
“Better integration basically fuels more efficient capital investment flows across the region,” he said. “So with the advancement of technology and with all the countries pursuing Industry 4.0 to digitise their own economy, I believe that with better integration the banks will be able to serve our customers and connect our customers regionally in a more efficient manner.”
Hin said efforts to digitise the national economy as part Thailand’s 4.0 were already enabling banks to reach new customers living in areas that weren’t served by a local branch, but could now access online banking.
“In fact they have laid fibre optics in some 25,000 villages in remote areas, trying to get everybody connected to the network,” he noted. “I think this is one very good example of how digitisation can bring about broader financial inclusion and reach the broader community.”
He told OBG that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are expected to account for 50% of Thailand’s GDP by 2025, can also expected to benefit from new digital tools and tailored, tech solutions, with smart business transformation programmes like the one offered by UOB Thailand already adding value to their operations.
Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of PR and Video Content, said the filmed interview with Hin highlighted the raft of opportunities that technological advancements were producing for banks and their customers, including those able to access services for the first time, in Thailand and throughout the ASEAN region.
“ASEAN is keen to improve digital integration, having recognised that developing its digital economy is key to increasing regional growth,” he said. “Our video reaffirms the key role earmarked for the banking industry in driving the digital economy forward, particularly in the SME segment, which accounts for more than 50% of ASEAN’s GDP.”