General Manager; Strategic Partnerships, Andy Higgs traveled to Bangkok to take part in an intensive week of meetings, partnership negotiations and opportunity seeking for Centrality, as we further cement our status into APAC.
Andy kicked off the week by visiting RISE Corporate Innovation Powerhouse who are leading the way in Thailand for corporate VC’s. However, we’ve got a bit of work to do with these guys! In their lobby they have a huge map of the world to showcase their international presence, but New Zealand is missing! We’ve made it our mission to get on the map and we’ll be working closely with RISE to ensure we’re not forgotten!
On Tuesday evening Andy hosted a Centrality meetup in partnership with HUBBA, Thailands technology-driven co-working space chain and corporate innovator.
We had some high quality enthusiasts attend the meetup, and was the perfect way to lead into the NZ ASEAN Business Alliance inaugural conference.
The ABA (ASEAN Business Alliance) is a network consisting of New Zealand Chambers and business associations in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand, Philippines and Myanmar.
The New Zealand ASEAN Business Alliance conference is designed to bring together NZ businesses from across ASEAN and NZ in one place, to experience workshops, keynote speakers, site visits and more. This year ABA announced they are working with MFAT, NZTE, the Southeast Asia CAPE and others in Thailand, which is an exciting opportunity for us to support business growth and economic development.
At the conference, we were given the opportunity to showcase Centrality to a diverse and influential audience, connect with other kiwis and entrepreneurs on the ground who are building businesses in Asia, network with international business leaders from across ASEAN and overall get a greater understanding of business operations in this part of the world, in addition to presenting on the future of smart cities.
Andy finished off his week on a high, attending the Dtac Accelerator batch 7 demo day. Dtac are a local telecommunications provider in Thailand and their accelerator is known as the largest demo day in Asia, like the Oscars for startups!
Demo Day lived up to all expectations, featuring rappers and performances and was MC’d by EH Fellow, Amarit (Aim) Charoenphan. Fourteen startups, who had been on Dtac’s structured accelerator programme were vying for the prize, and this was their final big pitch.
Attending demo day gave us fantastic insight to the current landscape of Thai startups. There is still a lot of education that needs to happen with regards to blockchain technology vs cryptocurrency, but this is a market with high potential.
After a successful week in Bangkok, one of the overwhelming takeaways was that kiwis helping kiwis is a big thing. Andy found connecting with pioneering kiwis on the ground in ASEAN hugely valuable as businesses are eager to create links with organisations like ours, and are open to sharing their knowledge.
Thailand presents a world of opportunity for us. It’s considered the gateway for ASEAN. Interestingly, Thai people are huge consumers of data. The average monthly consumption per person is 11 gigs, which is 3x the consumption in Europe. As 5G services start rolling out, consumers are looking to the start up tech community to step up with services that can be delivered on this new infrastructure. The startup world is thriving, and we’re looking for opportunities where we can support them as they scale their businesses.