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Translation - English CMMU Showcase 2014: Sharing Knowledge for Greater Public Good
The College of Management, Mahidol University held the 2014 CMMU Showcase at its campus in Bangkok on Sunday, September 21, 2014. More than 200 alumni, faculty members, students and invited guests were in attendance at the event that underlines the CMMU’s commitment to quality of business education, breadth of knowledge and variety of student interests. Business, Knowledge and Variety were the operative words.
A lot of effort must have gone into organizing this academic conference, which featured top-notch industry speakers, who shared insightful comments and valuable insider perspective on key strategic planning and management issues. Outstanding academic works by alumni were also highlighted alongside thought-provoking presentations on a wide range of topics by Master’s students.
Knowledge sharing as public service
In his opening remarks, Associate Professor Dr. Annop Tanlamai, Dean of the CMMU, said the Showcase event was consistent with the founding principle of the CMMU, which stays true to the vision of Mahidol University’s namesake, Prince Mahidol, who eloquently asserted that “True success is not in the learning, but in its application to the benefit of mankind”.
“The aim of CMMU Showcase is to share in-house knowledge generated by our faculty members, staff researchers and Master’s students to the wider society,” Dr. Annop said, adding that this knowledge takes the forms of research/consulting works, student theses, dissertations and degree projects, which add up to about 500 each year.
Music industry at digital crossroads
CMMU Showcase kicked off with industrial leaders’ talk on “The Future of Music Media Management”, which proved to be a crowd-pleaser. As Mr. Supachai Nilawan, Senior Vice President of RS Public Company Limited, and Ms. Pornthip Kongchun, Head of Marketing of Google and Youtube in Thailand, took the stage, it became obvious to members of the audience that this was going to be an excellent opportunity for learning on so many levels.
When the full impact of digitization on the music industry triggered the nightmare scenario, the question on everybody’s mind was not whether consumers would eventually stop buying cassette tape and CD albums – but when. There wasn’t any element of surprise to it when that finally happened, recalled Mr. Supachai.
The writing had been on the wall. For several years leading up to around 2005, consumers had increasingly been drawn to downloadable, shareable digitized music widely available on the Internet instead of going to record shops to buy music in cumbersome physical formats.
“It was mostly with bitterness that we in the music industry first reacted to what happened,” Mr. Supachai said, referring to the passing of an era in Thailand’s music industry when, in management parlance, a disruptive technological innovation unleashed a radical change in consumer behavior and expectations.
It was a game changer. Consumers no longer rely on record companies to produce, promote and then ship music to them in physical formats. The likes of Google search engine and Youtube video-sharing platform have made it easy for consumers to discover and enjoy music, video and other contents on the computer screen, smartphone or any other connected electronic devices, in addition to the traditional channels, like the radio and TV.
Rethinking business model
“RS made a 360-degree turn after a thorough rethink of our business model,” Mr. Supachai said.
The record company has since been transformed into a full-fledged entertainment powerhouse, comprising music, show business and media, supplying contents on digital, satellite and cable television channels, on radio and online.
For a time, Mr. Supachai said Youtube continued to be seen by the music industry as one of the biggest threats.
All this has changed. With the recent launch of Youtube Partner Program in Thailand, Ms. Pornthip said Youtube had emerged as a potential partner to original content creators, from big corporations, like RS, to talented individuals.
“Original content providers should find our transparent revenue-sharing schemes attractive as they will enable them to monetize their intellectual properties – knowledge, skills and abilities,” she said.
New value network
Popular Youtube videos are now supported by a pre-roll ad that users can opt to skip after a few seconds. The advertisers are charged only when someone chooses to watch their ads.
“Without advertisements, there is no incentive for original content creators to continue to be creative, and Youtube users will not get to watch quality contents,” the chief marketer of Youtube Thailand said.
Mr. Supachai couldn’t agree more. Under the new business model, RS generates less revenue from music sales in physical and digital formats of any given artist, “But that shortfall is more than made up by our share of advertising income on Youtube, ticket sales from concert tours, fees from celebrity endorsement deals and proceeds from paid-for contents for TV.”
That summed up the industry speakers’ talk, which was illuminating and entertaining in equal measure.
Next up, CMMU alumni and current Master’s students competed among themselves to attract audience members to their presentation sessions that took place simultaneously in separate meeting rooms. More than 20 works, representing a wide cross section of studies, academic exercises and practical solutions undertaken by the students, were highlighted. Each of them reflected the youthful enthusiasm and creative mind of a budding manager or entrepreneur.
A global perspective on entrepreneurship
Notable among Master’s student presentations was “Global Entrepreneurship: Lei Jun and Xiaomi Tech”. Tawan Chumintarachak and Akaradesh Chootrakool offered an engaging analytical account of how Lei Jun and his four-year-old mobile handset company beat mighty Samsung to become the best-selling smartphone brand in China.
The Chinese entrepreneur’s core ideas revolve around his determination to offer a range of smartphones with higher-end specifications at the most attractive price points. Lei Jun took advantage of the void left in the Android platform by Google’s exit from China market by substituting the world’s most popular search engine and other apps with homegrown third-party ones that provide his company extra incomes to offset thin margins on Xiaomi handset sales.
The use of guerrilla tactics to cultivate a dedicated and loyal fan base also helped in his unusual marketing and publicity stunts, the students concluded.
Spotlight on local hair salon business
“Successful Salon Business Model” was an interesting fact-finding exercise by a group of students to try to pinpoint factors contributing to success of Bangkok’s top hair salons. The group chose Grounded Theory method, starting with collecting and analyzing data to identify a set of keywords from which categories were then formed.
The study was based on interviews of salon managers, customers, hair styling experts and an entrepreneur who helped build up a successful hairstyling salon franchise as well a broad survey of published articles in popular magazines and relevant video clips shared on the Internet.
The end result was a business model, complete with guideline on required personnel with desirable skill-sets, management tools and brand-building strategy that hopefully will help improve hair salon startups’ chance of success.
Fail-proof organic herb farm business plan
The current trends in beauty, personal care and dietary supplement products indicate that today’s health-conscious consumers look for products with organic herbs as key ingredients as alternative to synthetic materials. According to industry estimates, the combined value of domestic sales and exports to the international market for beauty, personal care and dietary supplement products in Thailand amounted to almost THB300 billion.
The Thai Herbs House business plan was drawn up to capitalize on sustained high growth in demand for organic herbs as raw materials to supply herbal product manufacturers which continue to face shortages of high-quality organic herbs. The immediate aim is to produce herbs that yield high concentration of active ingredients as required by manufacturers of beauty, personal care and dietary supplement products.
The business plan envisions business and corporate strategies to enable the new entrant to achieve leadership status as supplier of high quality organic herbs within five years through product and process innovation. The plan has a built-in risk management strategy to deal with fluctuation in prices and demand for herbs by taking advantage of its core competency as an organic grower to quickly switch to high-value, fast-growing vegetables, such as asparagus and baby corn.
Overcoming cultural barrier to trade
The findings from the study, “Effects of Cultural Differences on Trading Business Between Thai & Japanese Companies”, emphasizes the need to cultivate cultural sensitivity among Thai traders and their Japanese counterparts in Japanese trading firms to overcome cultural barrier to trade and improve working relationships.
The ability to identify cultural differences, including national character traits and behavior pattern, is an important first step towards better understanding of factors, positive or negative, affecting business between Thai and Japanese traders. Pachara Worawutrangsan applied Hofstede’s cross cultural dimensions theory in this study.
Although Thais and Japanese belong to social hierarchical structure typical of Asian culture, there are cultural differences, real or perceived, that can potentially impede rather than facilitate trade. Based on the findings, Japanese traders in general are more risk-averse and organizational-oriented than their Thai counterparts, who are seen as less loyal to trading partners and lacking in clear, consistent communication skills.
The advice for Thais doing business with Japanese is to build on positive Thai cultural factors, including friendliness and intuitive personal skills, while avoiding negative ones, such as tendency to miscommunicate and low consistency in business dealings.
A rare glimpse into insider trading in Thai stock market
“Insider Trading Behavior and News Announcement: Evidence from the Stock Exchange of Thailand” by graduate student, Weerawan Laoniramai, won the 2012 Capital Market Research Scholarship for Graduate Students Award for her outstanding research paper, which offers a rare glimpse into the illegal practice in Thai capital market, characterized by low efficiency and transparency.
The financial management study, based on exhaustive research of Stock Exchange of Thailand’s information base spanning 2000-2008, involving 490 listed companies, offers some obvious results as well as some very interesting, counterintuitive ones.
The more obvious facts include: the greater time lapse between a government’s or a company’s key decision affecting a company’s performance or prospects and the public disclosure of news, the more likely that insider information can be misused by unscrupulous corporate or individual traders.
Some of the more surprising findings include the fact that position of the insider trader within the hierarchy of the company had no bearing on the rate of the abnormal returns. The same was true with the different types of insider traders, corporate or individual, who reaped about the same rate of ill-gotten gains.
The study also says insider traders bought and accumulated a stock based on privileged information before news disclosure but usually did not sell at the highest prices perhaps to avoid raising suspicion.
A successful conclusion to academic seminar
The inaugural CMMU Showcase, which featured many more thought-provoking research works, succeeded in what it set out to do in providing a wealth of multi-disciplinary knowledge borne of problem-based learning and real-world solutions by students, faculty members and research staff.
“The CMMU takes pride in its unique privilege of being a leading institute of higher learning to share knowledge that is timely, relevant and actionable,” said Associate Professor Dr. Nathasit Gerdsri, Deputy Dean for Academic Programs.
Thai to English: Road safety in Thailand General field: Other Detailed field: Safety
Source text - Thai ศปถ. บูรณาการทุกภาคส่วนสร้างการสัญจรปลอดภัย
Translation - English Road Safety Directing Center launches
holistic transport safety campaign
The Songkran Festival is associated with increased incidence of road accidents due to a sharp rise in number of vehicles on the road. People travel to and from their hometowns and tourist destinations while participating in traditional Songkran water throwing. The Royal Thai Government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) are concerned about public safety. The Road Safety Directing Center (RSDC) under the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the Ministry of Interior, has been instructed to coordinate with relevant government agencies to ensure road safety and facilitate traffic flow during the upcoming 2016 Songkran Festival.
According to road traffic statistics compiled by the Road Safety Directing Center (RSDC), reckless behaviors on the part of motorists, including speeding, drink driving and cutting in front of others, were major causes of road casualties. Key contributing risk factors included failure to use safety equipment. The type of vehicles that featured in the highest number of road accidents was the motorcycle. Most road deaths involved local residents who died where accidents occurred. Moreover, accident severity indexes pointed to increasing incidence of excessive speeding.
As for the campaign to lower road accidents during the 2016 Songkran Festival, the Road Safety Directing Center has stressed the importance of prevention, problem solving and reduction of road casualties under the Area Approach. This approach is coupled with reduction of road accident risk factors, encompassing motorists, vehicles, road conditions and the environment as well as promotion of civic responsibility and road safety culture. All these measures are designed to achieve the objectives to “minimize fatalities from road accidents during the 2016 Songkran Festival and promote a road safety culture in the Thai society” under the slogan: “Play Safe Songkran, Promote Thai Culture, Drive Responsibly”.
The campaign is being implemented into two phases:
Promotion of public awareness and responsible driving phase (from 15 February to 17 April, 2016 and through the rest of 2016) under a comprehensive road safety management with emphasis on fixing accident-prone spots and strict enforcement of traffic rules along with promotion of road safety culture.
Tight control of road safety phase (11-17 April 2016) through a holistic approach involving all relevant agencies to implement road safety measures strictly and consistently during the 2016 Songkran Festival under the supervision of the Road Safety Directing Center at the national and local levels.
There are five measures designed to prevent and reduce incidence of road accidents:
Road safety management measure The Road Safety Directing Center takes the lead at the national level while its regional and local mechanisms are in charge of implementing Area Approach to road safety management relevant to local risk factors to reduce road accidents. The emphasis is on the “public-private collaboration” mechanisms with local public participation, such as the initiative to set up “One Community, One Village, One Road Safety Checkpoint”. Others activities to promote road safety include encouraging local communities to draw up rules on how to deter motorists in their communities from reckless, unsafe driving behaviors. Water-throwing zones should also be identified and designated so that people can safely engage in merry-making activities according to traditional customs in an alcohol-free environment to preserve Thai culture.
Road conditioning and traffic facilitation measure Relevant government agencies must examine and fix accident-prone spots, block unauthorized railway crossings and U-turns and ensure physical improvement of roads and parameters, complete with road signs and lighting fixtures for maximum road safety. Road construction or maintenance contractors must restore as much traffic surface as possible in anticipation of increased road traffic during the festival while contractors of ongoing road construction sites must provide warning signs to alert motorists at a safe distance. Signs must be put up to inform motorists of road diversions, alternative routes, shortcuts or ring roads while local traffic lights should be adjusted to accommodate sharp increase in number of vehicles at different times during the festival. Local police and volunteers must be mobilized to facilitate traffic flow and safe travel. Rest areas should be set up at regular intervals on all major roads to allow motorists to take a break as part of the effort to prevent accidents caused by motorists falling asleep at the wheel.
Vehicle roadworthiness measure Relevant government agencies must strictly enforce vehicle roadworthiness rules and regulations, particularly those governing public transport vehicles like scheduled or chartered buses and coaches. Public transport vehicles are required to install mandatory safety equipment and GPS tracking system. The authorities also ask freight and trucking companies to consider suspending their operations or avoid the use of heavy trucks during the 2016 Songkran Festival to minimize major road accidents.
Safe and responsible driving measure The emphasis will be on strict enforcement of traffic laws to control reckless, accident-prone motorists, particularly those who commit offenses, such as speeding, drink driving and failure to use safety equipment. This will be reinforced by tight restriction on the time and place of sale of and access to alcoholic drinks of members of the general public as well as underage youths. The authorities will focus their attention on illegal roadside sale of alcoholic drinks and places where merry-makers gather. The aim is to enforce an alcohol-free environment for water-throwing custom as part of activities to preserve traditional Thai culture. The use of pickup trucks by water throwers on the streets or roadsides will be better regulated along with the use of motorcycles in designated water-throwing areas. A sustained, full-fledged public awareness campaign will be launched through all media channels to promote road safety awareness. Motorists must be engaged to become part of the road safety solution.
Post-crash response measure All healthcare establishments will be put on standby for post-crash medical emergencies. Teams of medical doctors, nurses, emergency medical services personnel and civil defense volunteers will be able to respond to road accidents quickly to provide assistance. Communication systems will be put in place to ensure well-coordinated and timely response to road accidents wherever they happen. Information regarding coverage of various types of vehicle and road accident victim insurance policies will be provided to ensure all road accident victims have access to medical treatment and assistance.
The Road Safety Directing Center, in coordination with the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and its partnership networks, is determined to implement a holistic road safety campaign during the 2016 Songkran Festival. To achieve the objective, priorities must be given to strict traffic law enforcement along with promotion of road safety awareness under the “public-private collaboration” mechanisms. Other priorities include physical improvement of road conditions, fixing accident-prone spots, complete with establishment of emergency medical services that meet required standards. All these measures are designed to ensure efficient road safety management that covers the whole range of risk factors to make the objective of reducing road accident fatalities achievable. Last but not least, the campaign to “Promote Thai Culture, Responsible Driving” is a national agenda to build up a sustainable culture of road safety in the Thai society.
“Play Safe Songkran, Preserve Thai Culture, Drive Responsibly”
Thai to English: TPP and Asian transformation General field: Social Sciences Detailed field: International Org/Dev/Coop
Translation - English The Rise of TPP and Asian Transformation
By Dr. Anusorn Tamajai
The global economic center of gravity has shifted from the western world to Asia Pacific. Having spotted this trend, the United States is reorienting itself to exploit new opportunities and grapple with new challenges. The US pivot to Asia Pacific and the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement are part of this strategy.
TPP presents a daunting challenge to Asia, in addition to a plethora of other challenges, such as the post-QE world, inexorable technological advance that transformed industries, onward march of democracy, change in demographical structures and flow of human migration.
The proposal to set up the TPP was first broached in 2008 and took several years of negotiation before it came into fruition recently. TPP is the most ambitious trade agreement that is expected to account for 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. At present, TPP consists of the United States, Japan, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. Thailand has for now missed the TPP train.
The TPP trade pact opens up opportunities for members to boost exports, promote investment and generally enhance economic strength. For example, Malaysia, which previous has had no free trade agreements with the US and Canada, can through TPP dramatically increase key export items, such as electronic parts and components, natural rubber and palm oil. Moreover, the TPP also offers trade dispute resolution mechanisms between member states and foreign investors. The trade pact will level the playing fields to prevent products and services to prevent bias in favor of homegrown ones. This is expected to encourage foreign investors to give priority to TPP member countries. TPP is also widely seen as an effective tool to stimulate trade and investment, creating new jobs, raising standard of living as well as enhancing cooperation across regions to cushion against the disruptive fluctuations of the world economy.
The ASEAN Economic Community is being challenged by the TPP in terms of connectivity of markets and production networks/value chains. Not to mention new benchmark in trade and investment as today’s investors seek not only production bases with cheap raw materials and low production costs but also connectivity in production networks/value chains as well as targeted markets at the regional level. In this regard, the AEC as a regional economic bloc faces a major challenge from the TPP, which is able to connect markets and raw material sources in Asia Pacific and the Americas. This should put pressure on ASEAN to accelerate negotiations to expand free trade agreements at both multilateral and bilateral levels. One notable multilateral agreement that is crucial for ASEAN is the RCEP (comprising ASEAN, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand). As for ASEAN member countries that have already joined the TPP – Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam – they are in the process of adjusting to live up to obligations and standards stipulated by the TPP.
Even if Thailand wanted to join the TPP in order to further its economic interests, the road to TPP membership is long and ridden with stumbling blocks. A return to democratic rule, cessation of human rights violations and eradication of human trafficking are prerequisites. Thailand has been assigned Tier 3, the lowest level, in annual US report on Trafficking in Persons. The US law forbids the government to enter into agreement with a country assigned Tier 3 on TIP report. To join the TPP club, Thailand is required to solve its human trafficking problem, especially slave labor in fisheries industry.
On the other hand, the delay may provide Thailand with a breathing room to carefully consider the pros and cons. The TPP imposes strict obligations that could seriously affect certain aspects of the national interest. Current TPP members already have to contend with enforcement of pharmaceutical patent protection. The US demanded 12-year standard of data protection for new biopharmaceutical products. But the TPP is expected to cut data protection period to eight years. The move could lead to increase in prices of and limit access to certain generic pharmaceutical products in countries which previously had not offered such provision. What’s more, Malaysia is now under tremendous pressure to solve its human trafficking problem. At the same time, Canada, the United States and Japan are now required to lower trade barriers to dairy products from Australia and New Zealand.
This writer believes that a decision to join the TPP could result in significant negative impacts on Thailand’s industrial sectors. The country should not jump in and be bound by restrictive obligations. But Thailand also cannot afford to completely miss out on opportunities promised by the TPP either. Short-term impacts on trade and investment or relocation of production bases are still unclear. A return to democratic rule as scheduled may enable Thailand to enter negotiation to join the TPP in time. Fear of negative effects from a delay in joining the TPP, such as possible shift of production bases into Vietnam and Malaysia, may be premature. Real and damaging impacts may happen in one or two years if Thailand is caught unprepared or is prevented from joining at the right time. A decision whether to join the TPP should not be taken on a whim. The decision on the TPP must be based on comprehensive research and discussion participated in by the cross-section of the society. The TPP covers a wide range of sensitive and controversial issues, from intellectual property rights, pharmaceutical patent protection, plant genetic resources, biodiversity safeguards and geographical indicators. Even after TPP member countries agree to the trade agreement, there are several steps to be taken before actual implementation can begin. It takes the 12 founding members of the TPP at least 3-6 months to ratify the trade agreement. In the United States, after formally signing the TPP trade pact, President Obama is required to get a bill passed by the US Congress to implement the agreement, which will also serve as US ratification of the international trade deal. In Japan, the international trade agreement must be vetted by both houses of the Diet. If such agreement calls for legal amendments, the process may take longer.
The TPP will likely set a new benchmark for international trade agreement for the 21st Century. The trade and economic partnership pact covers Comprehensive Market Access, Fully Regional Agreement, Cross-cutting Trade Issues, New Trade Challenges and Flexible Provisions. Negotiations on the TPP agreement began in 2011. Thailand made known its intention to join in the negotiations in November 2013. The 12 TPP signatories together accounts for one fourth of the global trade, and a large and fast-growing portion of Thailand’s external trade. The TPP 12 also is among biggest investors in Thailand, accounting for 55-60 per cent of FDI in Thailand. The US encourages negotiations on bilateral basis. But if and when Thailand decides to enter in a new round of negotiations, it should do on a regional basis to make full use of the ASEAN Economic Community.
The TPP negotiation framework imposes more restrictions to members than other free trade agreements. There are sensitive issues that call for caution. Moreover, as a latecomer, Thailand is in no position to set the agenda in the negotiations to join the TPP. That leaves Thailand in a vulnerable position as several key sectors, such as financial services, investment and domestic pharmaceutical industry, are ill-prepared and lack competitiveness. For example, Thailand is incapable of using clinical trial data to register new pharmaceutical products. Generally speaking, the high standards of doing business and strict rules on trade liberalization as well as product quality standards and environmental and social protection of the TPP have been developed to counterbalance the rise of China as an economic superpower. China on its part wields great influence within the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Thailand as a member of ASEAN is already part of the RCEP. Thailand needs to develop a sound strategy to make the best of the RCEP and TPP. Both of these international trade agreements have the potential to be transformed into Asia Pacific FTA. Thailand cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to join the TPP. But it must exercise great caution in entering the negotiations, particularly in areas of intellectual property rights, pharmaceutical patents, which are more stringent than those provided under the TRIPs of the World Trade Organization. Opposition against these provisions among members of the civil society is expected to be fierce as is what is happening in Vietnam and Malaysia as well as countries which already have strong domestic patent protection regimes in place, like Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, in pushing for the liberalization of the financial and insurance sectors, the US insists on Negative List Approach, which reflects its demand for fully-fledged liberalization of the financial sector. It is worth noting that the TPP agreement requires all signatories to conform to the same labor and environmental standards regardless of difference in level of developmental attainment.
If Thailand decided to opt out of the TPP, it stands to lose its market share in a number of key sectors. For example, Japan is expected to gradually raise the quota of rice imports from the US and Australia at Thailand’s expense. In addition, Japan will be granted duty-free export of auto parts into the US, which will make Thailand as a major production base of auto parts less attractive in the eye of Japanese automakers. Many investors will begin to see Vietnam and Malaysia as more competitive as production bases for goods destined for TPP member countries. That could persuade multinationals with existing production base in Thailand to relocate to Vietnam and Malaysia.
EIC Outlook 2016, Economic Intelligence Center – SCB
Anusorn Tamajai, interview on Impacts of TPP on Thailand’s International Trade 2015.
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