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depa Hails Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 A Great Success. Attracting more than 500,000 visitors, generating over 1 billion baht.

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) held a press conference to announce an amazing accomplishment of 'Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019' held recently on October 28–31, 2019. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha presided over the opening ceremony. It generated 1.082 billion baht. Representatives from foreign embassies in Thailand attended the event, which helped strengthen the reputation of the country. Smart City certificates were presented to 27 districts. It is regarded as a springboard for moving forward the smart city development in Thailand. The event welcomed 584,417 visitors during the four-day event.

Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President/CEO of depa, said this year’s Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 created new phenomenon in several aspects as the depa took pride in welcoming the prime minister to preside over the opening of the event, suggesting that the event is a national priority. In the international front, the event also welcomed representatives from 24 foreign embassies in Thailand during the opening ceremony. The depa received an overwhelming response and collaboration from more than 300 partners, business operators, academics and the world-renowned speakers and influencers through The Next Web and Creative Talk. There was a diverse range of digital-driven exhibition booths and a wide variety of digital-related activities from around 500 companies and organizations in Thailand and abroad. Participants showcased advanced technologies to provide all visitors with a redefined digital experience and digitally creative activities and competitions such as coding games “MOO-PHA” for improving digital skills and E-Edutainmen, Hebocon robotic competition and ASEAN Startup Hackathon for brainstorming solutions to Smart City initiative. The event also highlighted three digitally proactive zones, comprising Digital Economy, Digital Society and Creativity. Visitors had a chance to enjoy drone riding and hands-on experience in Hyperloop as they were entertained by Robot KUKA and artists from Smallroom musical label.

“This year’s event aimed to create new moments of digital engagement and a more optimal digital experience along with seminars by famous speakers from around the world, making the number of event visitors surpassed previous years’ figures. Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 welcomed 584,417 visitors, which beat the target and generated 1.082 billion baht. The event also generated 514 million baht worth of investment value among 500 participating business operators and achieved 838 business partnership deals,” said the director.

Mr. Chatchai Khunpitiluck, Senior Executive Vice President/COO of depa, said Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 culminated in a wide range of international collaborations in digital economic and social development between thedepa and international organizations. Nine MOUs with both local and international organizations and an MOU with CAT Telecom and the Ministry of Public Health were signed during the event. The prime minister also attended the signing ceremony of those MOUs. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan attended the closing ceremony of the event. Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 also highlighted a collaboration with the private sector to host ASEAN startup development and competition called 'ASEAN Startup Hackathon', where startups can present framework and solutions to smart city development, which is beneficial to ASEAN countries.

In terms of education, Dr.Ratthasart Korrasud, Senior Executive Vice President/COO, depa, said the event attracted the attention of students and personnel in the field of education. There were exhibition booths that showcased digital technologies developed by undergraduates, including the coding garden, which was created in collaboration with a group of makerspace schools. This is where students can demonstrate their understanding about coding and rational thinking to create more than 50 digital-enhanced creative masterpieces. There were nearly 4,000 students from across the country attended the event. This is a reflection that Thailand’s educational institutions give priority to raising awareness about digital technology and digital skills development.

Dr.Passakon Prathombute, Senior Executive Vice President/CTO, depa, said Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 also announced Thailand’s smart city development zones and presented smart city certificates to 27 smart city zones in 22 provinces in five regions. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan also attended the smart city certificate presentation ceremony. Smart city zones are divided into seven zones in the North, five zones in the Northeast, one zone in the Central Plains and the West, six zones in the East and eight zones in the South. Those 27 zones in 22 provinces have the potential and readiness to be developed as the smart city after they submitted their applications to receive an approval from Thailand's National Smart City Steering Committee. The announcement on smart city development zones will be a good starting point in steering the development of smart city in Thailand in a sustainable and constructive manner.

Moreover, Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 is significantly important to Thailand to show the country’s transformation at the upcoming World Expo 2020 Dubai.Dr.Kasititorn Pooparadai, Senior Executive Vice President/CSO, depa, said exhibition booths at the World Expo 2020 Dubai will attract the attention of the public. Several people have followed up on the latest development of the construction of Thailand Pavilion at the world expo amid high temperature in Dubai. There is a large number of Thai people wanting to visit Thailand Pavilion by themselves. Thailand Pavilion is among those that saw good progress in construction and Thailand is one of the three countries in Asia that began the construction of the pavilion and the construction is progressing according to the plan.

The one-year countdown to the World Expo 2020 Dubai has begun under the “One Year to Go” campaign to maximize public engagement and participatory environment in Thailand Pavilion. All stakeholders and people at all levels, including students and the elderly, are encouraged to participate in the “One Year to Go” campaign. There is a wide variety of activities and contests such as Thai costume contest for Thai officials to wear at the expo as well as the application for Thai youth volunteers to station at Thailand Pavilion. Thai quality products are also welcomed for a chance to exhibit at the world expo and open new markets in the Middle East.

Dr. Nuttapon added that Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 achieved a great accomplishment with an overwhelming response from all stakeholders. It created a new phenomenon, gathering world-class digital gurus and famous speakers in the digital world. It was held under the concept of ASEAN Connectivity, so it is the starting point for sharing the experience in digital development with a goal to make use of the advantages of digitization and digital technologies among ASEAN member states. It will lead to the digital economic development in ASEAN. The digital development can turn challenges into opportunities to achieve a seamless connectivity in ASEAN. Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 is part of the effort to drive the growth of digital startups, agricultural sector and digital-related businesses, which will help enhance the development of the country, especially the elderly farmers and SMEs in smart city development zones in 22 provinces and will expand to other provinces in the near future.

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