KBank in US 2.7 billion drive to expand banking

KBank in US 2.7 billion drive to expand banking

KASINKORNBANK (KBank) has announced a US$ 2.7 billion strategic programme aimed at boosting access to banking services among Thailand's unbanked and underbanked population as well as very small businesses and the self-employed. The programme includes accelerated investments in technology, technology-related acquisitions, commercial partnerships, organisational development, as well as adopting other technology-driven methods to boost access to banking services among a broader range of the public.

Ms. Kattiya Indaravijaya, Chief Executive Officer, KASIKORNBANK, said, "We're taking a bold step, and, through technological leadership, aim to transform banking in Thailand in ways that can help more people enter the banking system and benefit from banking products and services.

"We're already a bank that has the great strengths and reliability of a traditional bank serving a wide range of customers. What we're now doing is to fuse on to that successful core the disruptive DNA of a 'challenger bank'."

Challenger banks have been a disruptive phenomenon in many countries 'challenging' legacy banks by using new technology to make banking products more accessible. Challenger banks have also appealed to traditional bank customers by eliminating cumbersome processes and providing faster services that are easy to use, available everywhere, and always-on.

"By fusing the DNA of a 'challenger bank', we want to be a bank that empowers a whole new generation of Thais, who are rich with ability and energy, to gain access to banking products and advice.

"We want to give more loans without collateral and based on a borrower's real ability and intention to repay. We want to make it easier for everyone to apply from the privacy of their homes or offices. We want to remove processes and paperwork and to make things really simple. And we want it all to happen for the customer much, much faster."

Ms. Indaravijaya said, "We have embarked on our strategic programme to fully harness emerging technologies to conduct more complete evaluations of a customer's ability and willingness to pay back a loan.

"These more sophisticated evaluations of a small customer's potential to be a responsible borrower will enable millions more individuals, the self-employed, and very small businesses to enter the banking system as well as free many from the debt trap of loan sharks who charge interest, often at over 200% a year."

During this and the next two years, KBank is investing around US$ 610 million in new technology and systems, in addition to US$ 350 million invested during the last two years.

KBank disclosed that it also expects to complete, in the next 12 months, between two to five acquisitions and commercial collaborations with technology-related enterprises with investments of up to US$ 840 million.

KBank is now piloting specialised buy-now-pay-later loans for those who are self-employed or have no documents to prove their income, by evaluating their credit-worthiness on alternative data.

KBank is now piloting specialised buy-now-pay-later loans for those who are self-employed or have no documents to prove their income, by evaluating their credit-worthiness on alternative data. In the last several months, KBank has been approving an average of 1,600 loan applications, daily, using this method, and the loan amount is usually at around US$ 40, with some cases going up to US$ 560.

"We are the only bank to do this, and are very encouraged that many of these people are likely to have never been given a loan by a bank and are probably among the most vulnerable victims of loan-sharks. This first small loan becomes a bridge that helps them cross into the banking system. And, as they gain self-confidence in managing these loans and repay, they can gradually increase their loan size based on their performance, as well as be empowered with other, more specialised products," Ms. Indaravijaya said.

KBank is also working with a major retail group to give upcountry mom-and-pop store operators easier access to loans without collateral, as well as providing loans to the stores' customers.

As at 31 March 2022, KBank and its subsidiaries' total assets were Baht 4,133,248 million, an increase of Baht 29,849 million or 0.73% over the end of 2021, ranking it the second in Thailand based on loan market share.

2022 Global Summit of Women

2022 Global Summit of Women

Thailand will welcome over 1,000 participants from more than 60 countries at the high-profile 2022 Global Summit of Women, scheduled from 23–25 June 2022 in Bangkok. The event is becoming the first large-scale international convention held face-to-face in 2 years. It will shine the spotlight on Thailand's MICE industry as the country reopens and prepares for a rapid rebound in international business events.

The announcement was made jointly by Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), led by Mrs. Nichapa Yoswee, Senior Vice President, together with the President of the Global Summit of Women, Ms. Irene Natividad, the Thailand Host Committee Chair, Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, and Mr. Siripakorn Chiosamut, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications and Marketing Director at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Originally scheduled for 2020, the event is the first large-scale in-person global convention that Thailand will host after a two-year gap. The event is also seen as a timely opportunity for Thailand to present itself as a "World Destination" for international events as the country has gradually introduced relaxation measures for incoming travel and events during the past three months. On 1 April 2022 onwards, requirement of negative pre-arrival RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel was abolished. From 1 May, Test and Go arrangement which required test upon arrival has been no more in effect and from 1 June, simplified version of Thailand Pass was introduced for overseas travellers for enhanced facilitation. The removal of these requirements has given MICE organisers freedom to plan larger in-person gatherings as long as the relevant COVID-19 safety measures are in place.

Mrs. Nichapa Yoswee, Senior Vice President of TCEB, said: "Thailand is back and we are again ready to woo the world with our commitment, capability, and creativity. And the Global Summit of Women is the perfect platform to do that. With its values of gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness, the Summit not only mirrors our national aspirations as set out under Thailand's 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan but also reflects the resilience and economic contribution of our MICE industry. We are expecting 1,000 participants and women leaders from 60 countries and an income of 80 million baht from this much-anticipated world-class convention."

Mrs. Nichapa added that Thailand's MICE industry is putting behind the setbacks caused by COVID-19 and is gearing up for a strong rebound. According to TCEB, although Thailand has been continually impacted by the COVID-19 situation, the MICE industry in Thailand could generate income of over 33.2 billion baht, creating over 46,000 jobs last year. Apart from 23 TCEB-supported international events announced for 2022, the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting scheduled for 18-19 November 2022 in Bangkok will be a highlight attracting world's attention to Thailand.

Ms. Natividad said: "As Summit President, I am looking forward to bringing this renowned Summit to Thailand, a country where women rank high in economic participation in business and government. The 2022 theme – 'Women: Creating Opportunities in the New Reality' – will focus on driving post-pandemic economy. Male and female senior executives of multinational corporations are expected from countries as diverse as South Africa, Vietnam, France, Spain, Mexico, Germany, and Kazakhstan. There is genuine excitement in being able to meet in person for the first time in over two years since the COVID-19 pandemic."

Ms. Kobkarn said: "The Global Summit of Women is the biggest stage for international women leaders in the world. The 2022 Summit will confirm our capabilities to host conferences and generate confidence in the Thai economy, focusing on continued economic development and promoting new investment. I am sure the Summit will empower women and encourage cooperation between every sector to build a new generation for economic recovery."

Mr. Siripakorn said: "This world-level convention is an important step to build confidence internationally that Thailand is ready to welcome tourists after the long slowdown during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It is also an opportunity to provide an impressive tourist experience to the women leaders who are delegates at the 2022 Global Summit of Women. Women currently have a key role in driving the economy because of their capabilities for increased income. They are also one of the major market segments with high tourism potential because of their confidence and courage in deciding to travel."

Other than being an indicator of the upswing in market sentiment, the 2022 Global Summit of Women in Thailand will also be noted for its "Carbon Neutral" format. All meetings and activities at the Summit will be monitored for their carbon footprint, and emissions from energy use, participant's travel, catering, and waste management will be offset with purchase of carbon credits from the Project to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Thailand. The Summit will also showcase community products from throughout Thailand to promote local enterprises.

Top Sporting Legends

Top Sporting Legends

Thai people are inherently sports-minded individuals. Most Thai children start their career in physical education as early as first grade, as it's compulsory for students to take part in PE classes. Thai students take part in a wide variety of sports, ranging from character-forming sports such as volleyball and basketball to more extreme sports such as free climbing and rock climbing.

Thailand's legendary athletes have represented their country at both national and international events. While the Thais are not particularly good at team sports, the country has many sports personalities who are recognized worldwide. Many of these athletes were trained with western coaches and have been recognized for their exceptional skills in solo sports. Thailand has many sporting legends who've gained fame over the decade, making it to the list of the world's best sportsmen.

Consider Sakmongkol Sittchuchoke. Sakmongkol is a legendary Thai kickboxer. He was a regular fixture at Lumpinee stadium in the early nineties, holding the coveted Lumpinee belt throughout his career. Sakmongkol was famously known as "Jade Face Left Kicker" due to his reputation for delivering some of the hardest left kicks in the biz. Looking back, his best kicks came against champion players like Sangtiennoi Sor Rungroj, Orono Por Muang Ubon, and Jongsanan Fairtex.

One of the greatest sporting legends in Thailand, Sakmongkol Sittchuchokes, was born on 4 November 1969 in Breda, Holland. The athlete was 12 years old when he started training in martial arts. He first learned judo and later boks. Soon after, the legend began training in Muay Thai, and zakocha matka for his first games.

Sakmongkol Sittchuchoke earned fame and became known as the "Sakmongkol Sittchuchoke of Thailand." Sakmongkol Sittchuchok was a previous Thai kickboxing champion. He made the world's top ten lists of all-time boxers, winning more than 50 medals. He became an undisputed world champion and remains one of the greatest Thai boxers of all time. His career peaked at the end of the decade, and the legend retired from professional sport in the 1990s.

The boxer was a technical fighter who rose quickly through the ranks during his successful career. His trademark spinning elbows were highly effective in scoring knockdowns, a technique that's hard to execute against world-class competition. However, despite his lack of power, he never showed signs of fading as the years passed; he remained a legend for many years.

Another famous athlete in Thailand is Tamarine Radchatakriengkai. Tamarine, a female athlete, is a national ice hockey player who has represented her country in multiple leagues in Thailand and abroad. She was the first Thai woman to win an Olympic medal in the sport. She later married Chinese legend, Feng Kun, winning a world championship in women's ice hockey. Hideki also received the prestigious "Best Female Athlete" award at the 2019 National Sports Day Awards Ceremony.

Next is the Thai athlete, Paradorn. The athlete was quite renowned for her politeness on the sporting court. To welcome her fans, she performed the wai, a traditional Thai greeting that involves clasping hands together. She also bowed to the corners of the stadium to thank fans, an action that has become synonymous with her trademark etiquette. Paradorn's success has greatly boosted the tennis sport in Thailand. In 2002, she was named the "Thai Sportswoman of the Year" by the Nation newspaper. She was also featured in Time magazine's article that covered the most outstanding Asian sporting heroes.

In the 21st century, we've seen many athletes and sporting legends emerge. This has been a great time to follow sport in Thailand and the world as we have seen new talents being discovered, rising to the top of their respective sports. It was difficult to pick just three sporting legends. The trio we have chosen are all Thai-born and have achieved a great deal at an international level. They have all represented Thailand with pride on the world stage and have made a significant contribution to their respective sports.

With the great information explosion, we have more access to the events happening around the world today than ever before. We have seen a few Thai athletes make their mark on the world stage, but we are still waiting for Thailand to produce a few more sporting legends. Over the years, Thailand's sporting world has undergone drastic changes, with many of its most famous sporting heroes retiring or stepping away from the public eye. This is a celebration of the most successful Thai athletes of the 21st century.

Bangkok to host ICCA Congress 2023

Bangkok to host ICCA Congress 2023

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has chosen Bangkok as the host city of its annual general meeting next year. The 62nd ICCA Congress will be held from November 12-15, 2023. A major event in the global MICE calendar, the ICCA Congress is attended by members who represent more than 1,000 private and public organisations from over 100 countries.

ICCA's decision reflects the association meeting industry's confidence in Bangkok and the interest among ICCA members to get reacquainted with Thailand after a two-year break. Supported by Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the 2023 congress also promises to be an especially memorable one as it will take place at a time when Bangkok will be showcasing its achievements from the first half of its 20-year Strategic Development Plan (2013–2032) to transform itself into the "Metropolitan City of Asia".

By hosting the ICCA Congress, TCEB hopes to impress upon association meeting executives not only Bangkok's exceptional credentials but also the many MICE destinations to be found throughout Thailand. Having developed their business events infrastructure over the years with input from TCEB, Thailand's other MICE Cities – Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Songkhla, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani and Surat Thani – are now more ready than ever to host international meetings.

TCEB President, Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, said: "We thank ICCA for this great opportunity to host the 62nd ICCA Congress in Bangkok. Thailand has been a member of ICCA since 1974 and we are absolutely confident that it will continue to play an exemplary leadership role in promoting international association meetings. We look forward to welcoming ICCA delegates to the city of Bangkok as we celebrate an important milestone in the city's transformation to become the "Metropolitan City of Asia" – a safe, green, and economically and culturally vibrant city – under its 20-year Strategic Development Plan (2013-2032).

"Hosting the ICCA Congress 2023 will generate substantial economic returns and uncover countless new business opportunities for our MICE community. With more than 1,000 overseas and 200 Thai delegates expected, we estimate the congress itself will generate 3 million USD in revenue and other positive impacts, such as job creation, tax revenue and added values to the economy."

Mr. Chiruit pointed out that one segment of the congress programme is particularly important for Thailand's MICE professionals. The ICCA Business Exchange – the session where ICCA members share commercially important information on the bidding process, selection criteria and budgets of their recent events – can provide essential guidance for Thai MICE players in crafting winning bids. With more than 30 executives of international associations participating in the session, this is also a golden opportunity for local associations and regional stakeholders to form network and drive business development.

The ICCA Congress 2023 will also be a tremendous learning opportunity for Thailand's MICE Cities and local associations. TCEB has invited the governors of all Thailand's MICE Cities to participate in dialogue sessions alongside experts on international academic conventions. Their exchange of ideas and experiences will help each city further refine its MICE strategy. TCEB will also invite at least 20 local associations to attend ICCA's Incredible Impacts Programme meeting where the spotlight will be on how international conventions have helped bring positive change to societies around the world, while leaving behind inspiring legacy for local communities and the next generations. TCEB hopes that the local attendees will be inspired to create similarly impactful programmes following their interaction with at least 30 of their overseas counterparts.

"2023 will be the year of economic revival for Thailand. Our country will open to the world again and we will join hands with the world and ICCA to reimagine a new future for business events," said Mr. Chiruit.

Mr. Senthil Gopinath, CEO of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) said, "I thank TCEB and Thailand for the ambition to host the ICCA Congress 2023. TCEB clearly demonstrated structured planning, support from crucial partners in the region, and offering a beautiful setting for guests to come together. There is no doubt that the ICCA Congress in Bangkok will showcase how business events can contribute to socio-economic development, enhance the intellectuality of the meetings industry, and be prepared for the future. I am sure ICCA delegates will be able to experience memorable Thai hospitality and professionalism at ICCA Congress 2023."

Established in 2004, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (Public Organization) or TCEB – the government agency under the supervision of the Prime Minister – has been assigned a role to promote, support and develop business events industry – corporate meetings, incentive trips, conventions, exhibitions, mega events and world festivals. Serving as a strategic partner, TCEB helps deliver creative ideas and solutions to bring success and fulfill the requirements of business events. The overarching goal is to drive Thailand to become a global MICE and mega events destination that can drive the country's strategic industries and national economy.