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Apicta Awards to provide regional marketing

The Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (Apicta) Awards, which was held in Malaysia from Oct 13-16, has uplifted its activities to provide marketing channels in the region to boost the software trade. Meanwhile the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI) urged the government to set aside 22 million baht for Thailand to host the regional competition in 2011 to reflect the country's ICT capability.

Thailand won top awards in two categories: Sensor Service Grid from Geomove in the Tools and Infrastructure category, and Neotrace from Neo Invention in the e-Logistic and Supply Chain category, according to Suthi Satanasathaporn, Secretary General of ATCI and chairman of the executive committee of Apicta.

There were 162 works from 11 countries in 16 categories of competition this year. Thailand came fifth in the ranking of countries that received the highest honours, with two winners and four merit awards. Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia ranked first, second and third, respectively.

Over the past 10 years, Thailand has consistently ranked among the top five countries at the Apicta competition, which helped the country gain brand recognition in the IT field and helped Thai software companies who had a chance to compete at the regional level to open their windows of opportunity in the international market.

The ATCI spends 10 million baht to select the candidates through the Thailand ICT Awards and those candidates who win awards can explore marketing opportunities and sell their products. Some companies have gained revenues of at least a billion baht each year.

Next year Thailand will host the awards and the ATCI intends to use Phuket as the location to showcase the country's ICT capability.

Moreover, the second decade of Apicta, which is like Apicta 2.0, plans to strengthen the companies which have participated in the competition to go to market together in the region.

"This award contest has gained credentials in the region. So far an estimated 1,500 companies have been involved in the competition. Those award winning companies and the candidates will gain quality certified by both county and international judges which helps to increase confidence in the region," Suthi said. "Apicta will coordinate with Asocio Software Park Alliance to arrange the trade business visit in the region."

He also noticed that Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong dominate the top three spots in the competition. This is because their governments give research and development funds to potential companies.

From Thailand's perspective, apart from research funding grants, the government can support the use of Thai software by subsidising some of the software costs when SMEs buy Thai software. For instance, if the cost of software is 100,000 baht, when a business makes a purchase, they can pay 50 percent and the rest will be subsidised by the government.

The government can set a policy to allow those buying Thai software companies to use the investment costs of software for tax reduction as depreciation of expenses.

Meanwhile, Supachai Tangwongsan, chairman of the board of directors at the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) which arranged a reward of 1.1 million baht to the winners from Apicta, said the agency will promote the Thai software industry to increase its share from 24,000 million baht to 34,000 million baht of the overall estimated market value of software and services in Thailand.

The agency will focus more on policy, grants and promoting software including coordinating for promoting the industry rather than running or operating every project by itself. The board has no plans to reduce or downsize its 100-strong staff but will expand their scope to compensate for their reduction in work.

"We will eliminate the projects that are not in line with Sipa's mission. And we will quickly win projects to rebuild the trust of Sipa by cooperating with key stakeholders, especially associations and universities to promote and build human resources in the country as well as boost government procurements which spend 30,000 million baht each year to use more local software companies," Supachai said.

Source: Bangkok post

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