Japan, Thailand to jointly rev up SMEs with business matching

BANGKOK, NNA - Japan and Thailand have agreed to expand their collaboration for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises by mutually encouraging business-matching deals between SMEs of the two countries.

A memorandum of understanding on further synergy was inked last week between Japan's Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation and Thailand's Department of Industrial Promotion at the Ministry of Industry. The two organizations signed their first collaborative agreement in September 2014.

The latest pact is set to continually strengthen SMEs of the two countries, encouraging business-to-business matching and human resource development along with technology and innovation exchanges.

Hiroshi Takada, chairman of the Japanese organization known as SMRJ, said it is trying to expand collaboration with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations where the combined population is more than 600 million and Thailand is considered "the leader of technical and service industries in the region."

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said that under the MOU, SMRJ will assist the Thai side in providing guidance on the management of SME promotion projects, the SME Rescue Center, Business Service Center and a 20 billion baht ($580 million) SME development fund run by DIP to enhance the competitiveness of Thai SMEs.

"There are many Japanese SMEs currently located in Thailand. I agreed to encourage Thai SMEs to partner with them, and the 20 billion baht fund will be spent to help make business matchings," Uttama said.

He added J-GoodTech, the online business-matching platform led by SMRJ, is expected to be the channel that links Thai and Japanese enterprises, and that Thai SMEs with high potential will be encouraged to register on this website.

J-GoodTech, officially launched two years ago, contains information on 4,000 Japanese companies, ranging from huge to small firms, and 2,500 SMEs from other countries in the manufacturing, logistics and service sectors. Its main purpose is to help find appropriate business partners online and offline.

On the J-GoodTech site, Thailand accounts for a majority of registered enterprises with about 1,000 listed, followed by Vietnam with 30 percent, Indonesia 14 percent, Taiwan 6 percent, Myanmar 4 percent and Malaysia 1 percent.

Uttama said the ministry is also planning to develop its online database platform for connection to J-Goodtech, adding that the platform is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter this year but that the ministry needs to negotiate with relevant ministries -- such as the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Digital Economy -- for cooperation. (NNA/Kyodo)