The Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham)

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Member News provides news about AustCham member achievements and announcements
  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 12:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Forest Rescue: 'Saving trees is our way of life'

    Khun Vasanai Pakapongpan, VP of Corporate Marketing and Communications, led an MQDC media group interview on the Forest Rescue campaign, run by The Forestias, at J. Walter Thompson Bangkok, FYI Center.

    "The Forestias has developed a project under the 'Imagine Happiness' concept, which aims to create 30 rai of natural forests with residents living harmoniously in the ecosystem. It shows that we greatly value nature and the environment. It is the motive and challenge for creating Forest Rescue campaign," he said

    "Within a month of running the campaign, the team has been notified of more than 50 trees that have been growing for a long time but now face being cut down. The owners also want to save their lives and have chosen The Forestias as these trees' permanent home. We expect the team to save hundreds of tree lives this year. We need to point out to people that trees are living beings. Saving trees is our way of life. The Forest Rescue campaign is committed to providing a voice and building social activities in the future."

    Forest Rescue gives the public a chance to save urban trees. If you know of a tree at risk of being cut down, simply post a photo and the tree's location along with #ForestRescue. The Forest Rescue team of experts will then come with a truck and crane to relocate the tree to a safe new home. To follow the team's work and find out how to save your local tree, go to

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 11:32 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WHA Group Holds First English Boot Camp for Community School Students

    As a staunch supporter of education for children, WHA Group has been proactively attending to the various needs of schools, teachers and students in neighboring communities through different activities to enhance the educational experience. Aside from providing material and financial support, the company aims to give students and teachers alike the opportunity to expand their horizons and knowledge.

    Developing the communication skills of the children in English has been a priority for WHA from the start, engaging in activities and programs such as Adopt-a-School, Teachers’ Camp, etc., which help ensure the youth today with the right tools to seek fresh opportunities and get good jobs in the future.

    Young teachers bring language skills through English Bootcamp for Students

    Through the initiative of Ms. Siyaphas Chantachairoj, Director – Corporate Marketing, WHA Corporation PCL, the English Boot Camp was born in August this year, bringing a fresh approach of learning the language outside the classroom. This year, Ms. Grace and Ms Frang, two young volunteer teachers on school break in Thailand, contributed their English skills and made learning fun at the Ban Khao Hin School in Chonburi province. During the 2-day activity, the WHA team and the young teachers accepted the challenge to host the Boot Camp for approximately 150 students a day from P 5 and P 6, divided into different groups. They organized a series of practical games and educational activities that effortlessly merged fun with learning.

    The games and activities were light and enjoyable, making the children learn the vocabulary in a practical way that they can relate to daily situations. Among the main themes were “cooking” where the names of food and ingredients were learned while the children prepared sandwiches and other snacks. The “shopping” activity consisted of enriching their vocabulary by purchasing everyday items such as fruits, food and school materials, using the correct phrases and sentences. Another exercise was “My Dream,” where the children were asked to match pictures that focused on different jobs and occupations such as teacher, nurse, doctor and others. They were also encouraged to express themselves verbally while playing games to enhance their cognitive skills. In all the activities, vocabulary and grammar were emphasized, as well as self-expression and basic cognitive skills.

    One of the most fun-filled activities involved learning to give and follow directions in English. The children were divided into groups and asked to "guide" their blindfolded teammates by giving instructions to reach the "finish line".

    Each student received a booklet prepared by WHA Team containing the English vocabulary that they could short note and review of their learned that day.

    "Being able to communicate in English, even at a basic level, can lead to opportunities as it gives one an edge over others. The aim of this WHA English Bootcamp is to make the children feel comfortable in English, so that they learn to express themselves. The teachers motivated them by organizing interesting activities in a fun atmosphere, to enrich their vocabulary, improve their grammar and support their communicative skill development.” Ms. Siyaphas commented. “WHA would like to see them get better opportunities in life if they can communicate in English. Education is an important factor in our daily lives and one that is particularly important in helping children from neighboring communities."

    Learning beyond the classroom is a great way to impart listening, reading and writing skills to the young. With the goal of creating sustainable relationships with local stakeholders, WHA has been playing a proactive role to become an essential partner for schools located near its industrial estates, and to support learning so that the students can achieve more and enjoy their learning experience at the same time.

  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 11:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    McConnell Dowell has received a number of industry awards over the years, in recognition of the complex, innovative projects we undertake in collaboration with our partners and customers.  

    We are excited to announce that this year the Mangere Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Upgrade Project for Watercare has won the Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards 2018 for Category 4 – Projects with a value greater than NZ$100M.

    Other awards that this impressive project has already won include:  

    • 2018 Hynds Construction Award for Projects greater than NZ$25M
    • 2018 IPWEA New Zealand, Best Public Works Project greater than $5M
    • 2016 Risk New Zealand, Excellence in Building Risk Management 

    Mangere BNR delivered by the McConnell Dowell/HEB JV competed against one other contender in this category, the SH1 Russley Road Upgrade in Christchurch, another one of our projects, this time delivered by the McConnell Dowell / Downer Joint Venture. 

    The Glen Eden Storage Tank Sewer Upgrade also received a Highly Commended certification in its category for projects between NZ$5-20M, in recognition for the highly innovative approach we took to the project by constructing a tank using an innovative caisson method to minimise disruption to the community.

    At McConnell Dowell our purpose is “Providing a Better Life”. Our Vision is to be a leader in the delivery of infrastructure. Our Values are a complete commitment to safety and care, honesty and integrity, customer focus, working together, and performance excellence. We believe that these projects exemplify these values and would like to thank our customers, partners and all our staff that worked on these projects for a job well done.

     To view the Mangere BNR project video click  here.

    0L1A1082  Glen Eden Official Photo

  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018 11:59 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Darwin and Gold Coast top performers edging out Cairns, as revenue per room grows

    Gold Coast and Darwin shone as Australia’s best performing hotel markets over the last 12 months, edging Cairns from the top spot – a position that the far North Queensland destination has held for a number of years.  

    This was a key outtake from CBRE’s latest Hotels MarketView report for Q2 2018, which found the Commonwealth Games had significantly contributed to raising RevPAR (revenue per available room) on the Gold Coast by 49% in April 2018, when compared to the previous year. RevPAR highs continued throughout May and June, putting the sparkle back into the Gold Coast economy. 

    CBRE Senior Research Manager Danny Lee said the Gold Coast had been an extremely strong performing during the Commonwealth Games and this continued even after the Games, across all major indicators (ADR, RevPAR and occupancy) – suggesting that the market was back on its feet after a turbulent 2017.   

    “Tourism is experiencing a surge, and the Gold Coast is popular with domestic and international tourists. Growth in visitor nights by international travellers is forecast to increase by 6.8% per annum over the next five years, which is one of the strongest forecasts across all markets,” Mr Lee said.

    “Infrastructure development in the Gold Coast including the $1 billion light rail network, expansion of the Gold Coast Airport, and an emerging health, wellness and knowledge precinct are factors which are attractive for business, population migration and tourists.”

    CBRE Hotels National Director Wayne Bunz added; “The Commonwealth Games has put the Gold Coast on the world stage. You cannot beat that kind of worldwide exposure, and this is expected to lead to strong hotel market performance, off the back of growth in tourist arrivals.”

    CBRE’s MarketView shows that Darwin was the best performing market over the past 12 months, achieving the highest RevPAR increase across major Australian cities. Hotel operators deployed a strategy of cutting room rates substantially to encourage guests to book room nights. This is a turn-around for Darwin as it has struggled since 2014 with a severe economic downturn.
    The report states Darwin registered an annual RevPAR increase of 8.2% to $113, while occupancy grew by 7.8% to 75.2% and ADR was up by 0.3% to $150. Comparably, the Gold Coast RevPAR increased by 7.1% off the back of a 2% increase (to 72.8%) in occupancy and a 5% increase in ADR to $197. 

    Cairns also performed strongly and posted increases across all major indicators. Occupancy grew 0.7% to 84.6%, whilst ADR rose 5.0% to $152 per night, which resulted in RevPAR posting an increase of 5.7% to $128. 

    The strength of the market, which has not seen a new hotel open in almost 20 years, is attracting interest from developers, with Rydges Tradewinds Cairns currently being redeveloped and is scheduled to open its refurbished doors in September this year. Two new hotels, Abbott Street Hotel that is scheduled to open in 2019 and a Bellview site scheduled for opening in 2020 will see more than 600 new rooms come to market.

    On a national level, CBRE’s MarketView shows that international visitor arrivals reached a record high of 8.3 million, up 7.5% on 2017. Annual RevPAR for the year ending June 2018 jumped 3.2% to $144, ADR grew by 1.7% to reach $188 and occupancy recorded 1.4% growth to 76.4%.

    The report also highlights that the national supply pipeline in markets such as Hobart, Perth and Melbourne could have a detrimental effect on the performance of those markets as they struggle to cope with a large influx of rooms. 

    On the investment front, the MarketView highlighted that notable transactions included the sale of Bell City Hotel in Melbourne’s Preston to Gaw Capital for $157 million, following the sale of Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel to Ovolo, for $38 million and Metro Hotel Tower Mill was sold to Interstay Holdings Pty Ltd for $10 million.

    Mr Bunz said; “Whilst buyers remain active in the market, the lack of quality stock available, especially at the top end of the market, is limiting transaction volumes. Foreign investors continue to see Australia as a core market and any large assets will generate considerable interest.”

    For Australian/international news or global stories, follow us on Twitter: @cbreaustralia

  • Friday, August 17, 2018 12:10 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    30 Years of Change in the Thai Retail Market

    Retail property is one of the most complicated types of real estate development because of the constantly changing tastes and needs of consumers.

    The Thai retail property market has changed hugely over the last 30 years since CBRE established an office in Bangkok and change continues at an even faster rate especially with the growth of E-commerce.

    30 years ago, the Bangkok retail property market was limited to a handful of department stores and a few shopping centres like CentralPlaza Ladprao completed in 1982, Amarin Plaza completed in 1985 and the original Siam Centre completed in 1973. The rest of the retail sector was shophouses and wet markets.

    CBRE Research shows that there is now almost 7.5 million square metres of modern retail property in Bangkok, split between shopping centre at 46.5%, big box store at 17.7%, department store at 15.1%, community mall at 14.5% and other formats at 6.1%. There has been rapid growth and change in the range of retail formats and types of tenant.

    Over the last 30 years, we have seen an increased move from traditional retail in wet markets and shophouses to modern retail formats ranging from convenience stores and community malls to giant regional shopping centres such as CentralPlaza Westgate.

    The modern retail format has spread throughout Thailand with many provincial cities now having modern shopping centres.

    The first 7-Eleven convenience store opened in Thailand in 1989 and there are now 10,268 stores in 2018.

    The first big box store was Makro Ladprao in Bangkapi district in 1989 and now Big C, Tesco Lotus and Makro have over 450 big box stores in Thailand.

    The Thai retail market is, like the rest of the world, facing the new challenge of E-commerce.

    In the UK, E-commerce sales are expected to account for 18% of total retail sales in 2018 and 9.5% in the USA.

    Currently, E-commerce sales account for less than 1% of total retail sales in Thailand, but this is expected to grow rapidly as E-commerce platforms and infrastructure, including payment systems and distribution have now been established.

    Retailers will have to adapt to best serve customers in stores and online. Retail developers will have to improve the customer experience through design, decoration, events, tenant mix and customer service.

    Retail landlords will have to create a unique environment that cannot be replicated online, for example by setting aside space for pop-up stores and sharing data with retail tenants to improve marketing.

    “Clicks” will not totally replace “bricks” but will mean that retailers and retail property developers will have to change.  “Simply building a nice glass box and filling it with brand names, will not work anymore, “said Ms. Jariya Thumtrongkitkul, Head of Advisory and Transaction Services - Retail at CBRE Thailand. “Many retailers are trying to pursue an omni-channel approach with both online and offline channels that are fully integrated whereby the digital and physical options complement each other.” 

    The continuous change in consumer behaviour means that retail property development is much more complicated than office development.  It requires hands on management and constant innovation and improvement.  Landlords need to speak to both consumers and tenants daily to understand rapidly changing trends and requirements.

    The level of commitment and expertise needed is very high and unlike hotels, it is rare to subcontract management to a third party in Thailand.

    Even though the economy is improving, retailers, retail landlords and developers face big challenges in adapting to the changing environment caused by E-commerce.

    “The shopping centre is one of the most successful business models and will not fade away, but competition from E-commerce means that the model will have to evolve to survive,” concluded Ms. Jariya.

  • Friday, August 10, 2018 11:40 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Alexandre Ricard

    Alexander Richard

    Having a famous surname did not mean Pernod Ricard rolled out the red carpet for a young Alexandre Ricard. So why was being rejected by the world's second-largest premium spirits and wine company the best thing that could have happened? Peter Crushfinds outs

    By his own admission, Alexandre Ricard would much rather talk about his business, Pernod Ricard , than himself. After all the Paris-based drinks producer owns a host of household brands from Absolut Vodka, Jameson whiskey, and Beefeater gin, to Mumm champagne. However his rise from rejection to running the third-generation drinks maker is an illustrative insight into the company’s culture.

    “I grew up having parents who told me I could do anything I wanted, as long as I did it well,” he recalls.

    And although he grew up imbued in the business (he tells a tale of visiting distributors with his grandfather when he was a child—and remembering everyone’s name) Ricard admits he was never actively encouraged to join it, even when he initially tried in the 1990s.

     “Did [my parents] want me to join? I don’t know, I’ve never asked them, but in 1996, after graduating, I wrote a letter and sent my resume to my uncle who transmitted it to [human resources (HR)] asking if I could join the company. However, the interview did not go well and I left the building and ended up walking into Andersen Consulting instead.”

    While some might think it’s a brave HR department member who grills the founder’s grandson, it proves the point that this is a business where sentimentality for the name won’t cut it on its own.

    “My uncle always told me my name isn’t an advantage, but nor should it be an inconvenience,” says Ricard.

    “So I spent eight years outside the business, ending up at Morgan Stanley, where I really learned about business. It was only after this that I resubmitted my CV—ironically to the very same [human resources director], as he was still there. The first thing I said when I got an interview was that my original, terrible, meeting was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

    Once in, it was ambition—rather than lineage—that saw Ricard rise quickly up the ranks, gaining experience in Hong Kong as managing director of Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free, before moving to Ireland in 2008 to head up the Jameson whiskey brand.

    “It was in 2011 that I got my big break,” he says.

    “That’s when Pierre Pringuet called me and asked me if I wanted to join his executive board.” By this point Ricard was still only 39.

    “The fact there have been other non-family CEOs reiterates the fact that what matters most is that the person with the top job has the capabilities,” says Ricard, when asked whether it is inevitable that family members will take control.

    “It’s certainly not set in stone that it goes to a family member, there’s no golden rule,” he repeats.

    But with this chief executive bearing the name of his grandfather, Paul Ricard, creator of the Ricard pastis aperitif in 1932—even Alexandre must accept that as long as he’s the head, which he has been since 2015, his bloodline is not something he can readily escape—despite what he might initially say.

    “All the people working for us are our family,” the debonair 45-year-old says with upmost sincerity. It’s quite a telling quip. For even though Pernod Ricard is the result of two family-run businesses joining forces—Pernod and Ricard in 1975—today it has quite a fluid definition of what ‘family-run’ actually means. It’s a business where family, genealogically at least, is neither required from a stewardship point of view, nor is it expected of the descendants of Ricard himself. The structure of the business is such that the Ricard family maintains control via a 14% shareholding—the largest single stake—and 20% of voting rights. This is also what Ricard calls a “reference shareholder”, ensuring the long-term value-creation and sustainability of the business.

    Chief executives have arrived from outside the Ricard family, such as Pierre Pringuet from 2008 to 2015. It could be purely happenstance that Pernod Ricard is back in family scion control and that it’s just as likely it won’t be so in the future.

    “There were many other talents in the running to be CEO,” says Ricard, recalling the sudden death of his uncle, and the company’s chairman, Patrick Ricard in 2012. That was the point when Alexandre was thrust unexpectedly into the limelight, though he was already managing director and had worked his way up the ranks and headed Irish Distillers, the makers of Jameson in Dublin.

    “That August I was interviewed by the board members and nominations committee, but while some might talk about succession as being my ‘duty’, no it wasn’t that,” he says.

    “It was a normal part of good governance and the role of the board was to ensure the right CEO was chosen—one who is up to the job. My surname might be cool, but if I hadn’t demonstrated any merit, I wouldn’t have got anywhere.”

    Ricard often mentions “not expecting” to be chief executive. In fact he even jokes that when the board asked him what his top three priorities would be, his reply was: “I can only think of two—grow our topline while performing well, and create a winning mindset.”

    Pringuet wasn’t due to retire (statutorily) as chief executive until 2015, so it was agreed Ricard could benefit from a rare set of circumstances, having three years to prepare for his eventual ascension to both chief executive and chairman (and possibly time to think of that third priority).

    “We [Pierre and I] really got along, and that time enabled me to think hard about the future,” Ricard says.

    Baring all

    Ricard’s arrival resulted in a strategic volte-face, re-aligning the company based on ‘moments of consumption’ rather than specific categories, and identifying ‘moments of conviviality’ that are cross-generational, like parties or ‘hanging out’, with the mantra that when it comes to alcohol, quality should be the focus, not quantity.

    There’s also been realignment of people and marketing efforts around where a specific sub-brand ‘lives’—with brand marketing run by staff local to where production actually happens.

    Pernod Ricard is almost unique in the fact that its brands are only made in their original locations (like Beefeater in London), and recipes are not copied and remade elsewhere in the world.

    Strategic acquisitions have occurred in the first years of Ricard’s tenure, including the purchasing a majority stake in West Virginia-based whiskey maker Smooth Ambler. The young chief executive has also not shied away from offloading brands deemed to be underperforming. These include a number of Mexican brandies early this year.

    A culture of innovation is also vigorously pursued, one which has seen several big hits. Absolut Lime was launched after research found one in four cocktails had a citrus-based element to it. This spring-summer also sees Beefeater’s first foray into flavoured gin, with the launch of the strawberry-infused Beefeater Pink.

    He stripped naked with Absolut employees for a new ad campaign for the “vodka with nothing to hide”.

    “What I think makes a difference is mindset,” says Ricard.

    “It’s like having two opposing sports teams. Nine times out of 10, the technique, or the skills of these athletes will be the same, so to me the only factor that differentiates winning ones from losing ones is mindset.

    “As a business we need to have capacity to embrace change and spot, or be ahead of trends. We need our people to have mindset where opportunity doesn’t make them anxious.”

    “In the same way my parents empowered me to make decisions, I want our own people to feel empowered too. I’d rather people ask for forgiveness for when things go wrong than permission to do something in the first place. I don’t care about failure per se, I care about the cost of failure, but if someone fails quickly, through having tried something, at least the cost of failure will be low. I want to challenge people to take risks.”

    Ricard accepts he’s making these big cultural changes, while still being the custodian of the family’s fortune—something which requires a steady hand. But it’s in these instances, he argues, where the Ricard name does actually help.

    “On the one hand, it grounds me, it ensures I always take decisions that have a long-term view in mind,” he says.

    “But on the other, it gives investors the confidence that decisions I take will have been carefully thought through.”

    And the results suggest this approach has been a success. The latest year-end financials show the Paris-based premium drinks producer, is enjoying exceptional results. Organic growth was up 3.6% in 2017 with revenues topping €9 billion ($10.7 billion), profit is up 5.7%, while in the United Kingdom, the firm is riding the crest of a recent resurgence in gin—sales are up 52% against a global average of 36%. Sales of Beefeater are up 52% in the UK, while Plymouth Gin is up 47%.

    Heritage plays a big part here. Ricard often talks about the DNA of the business being about passion and excitement, and wanting to take advantage of new opportunities.

    Learning curve

    Ricard literally is the DNA, but despite all he’s already done, he is still coy about taking personal credit, preferring to talk-up the culture-creating foundations set out by his grandfather. When pressed though, he does yield—a little.

    “Bearing the name brings responsibility. If I didn't feel capable I wouldn’t have taken it [the CEO job] on.

    “But does a man know everything? No, of course not, I’m on a learning curve. But what gets me going is the people side of the business.”

    For the immediate future, taking advantage of new growth areas is his main agenda and his outlook is in part eastward. It’s not hard to see why. Asia has quickly grown to comprise 40% of Pernod Ricard’s business, and it’s growing at 7% according to the company’s latest published figures, with India growing 9% and China 8%.

    “In India there are 17 to 20 million new consumers entering into the market every year,” Ricard says.

    “We have a lot of clarity in the business about how we leverage these markets more.”

    If it’s the people in the business that really excite him, they’re definitely following his lead. Ricard’s latest employee engagement scores show satisfaction rates in the high 90th percentile. In fact, a small percentage of the business—2%—is actually employee owned.

    The of course comes the inevitable question: What of his own succession? Will the business continue to be a Ricard-run one?

    “I have people in mind,” he says.

    “But obviously, this is the extent of information I can divulge to shareholders. It’s the essential role of a CEO to ensure their own succession is smooth, and for shareholders to know there is a plan in place.”

    Changing tactic then, will there be a change in leadership anytime soon? Ricard is once more pleasantly non-committal, although this time more personal.

    “The moment I don’t enjoy my job, I’ll step down,” he says.

    “Or, I’d step down if the board didn’t think I was doing the right thing. Life’s too short not to have fun.”

    Pernod Ricard is an empire where family can mean staff, but also lineage—and not just the Ricards. There are members of the Pernod family also in the business, as well as several generations of family members from brands it owns, like Jameson. It feels like shareholders wouldn’t mind either way which pool of people their next CEO comes from.

    In the meantime though—and aged just 45—you sense there’s plenty of years ahead in this superbly able third generation Ricard.

    As the man himself put it: “My grandfather once told me the reason we are so successful is not just because we’ve got a great brand, but because we smile when we do business with people. That’s my mantra. As long as I’m smiling I’ll still be here.”


  • Thursday, August 09, 2018 13:46 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Minor International & The St. Regis Bangkok Raise Over THB 7 Million for The Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation

    Minor International PCL. and The St. Regis Bangkok, led by Kathleen Heinecke and Klaus Christandl, recently presented a check to representatives of The Maka Chaki Sirindhorn Foundation. A total of THB 7,015,000 was raised from The St. Regis Bangkok Annual Charity Gala 2018, and will be donated in its entirety towards to the Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation for the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, under auspices of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

    Photo Caption (from left): Klaus Christandl, GM of The St. Regis Bangkok; Ardhawadee Jiramaneekul, Director of Corporate Affairs & PR of Minor International PCL; Kathleen E. Heinecke, Minor International PCL; Assistant Professor Prapod Assavavirulhakarn Ph.D., Vice President of the Foundation; Pasinee Limatibul and Dr.Tepee Jaratjarungkait, Foundation Representative; and Sam Chia, Director of Sales and Marketing of The St. Regis Bangkok

  • Thursday, August 09, 2018 13:41 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The St. Regis Bangkok, in collaboration with Dr. Paye Srinarong, launches The St. Regis Rising Talents 2018, a competition to discover and showcase Thailand’s new musical talents; now accepting applications until end of August 2018.

    Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday 5th July 2018 – The St. Regis Bangkok, together with famed Thai violinist Dr. Paye Srinarong, have officially launched the start of the applications process for the first Thai Rising Stars competition in 2018. The St. Regis Rising Talents 2018 is poised to discover and showcase Thailand’s upcoming talents in music, also offering the chance to win 2-night stay in a luxury Tropical Pool Villa at The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, inclusive of daily breakfast and speedboat transfers upon arrival and departure.

    This search for new talent will feature aspiring, young, local professional level music acts, carefully selected from the entry submissions. Entries are expected from students of the VIEMUS International School of Music, but all institutions and entrants under the age of 26 are welcome, provided there are a maximum of three per group.

    Solos, duos and trios will have to submit VDO clips of their acts of no longer than two-minute duration, by uploading their demo auditions to Youtube, and then supplying a link via private message to the Facebook page of VIEMUS (, before 20th  August 2018 for consideration. The main casting period will take place from 21st to 30th   August, and auditions results will be on 31 August 2018.

    Guests at The St. Regis Bangkok can expect a series of exquisite musical concert performances on series of evening sessions, from 8:00pm-10:00pm, as the rounds of the competition progress. The competition sessions will take place at The Drawing Room, in The St. Regis Bangkok, on the hotel’s 12th floor on the last Friday of September, October and November.

    The Regis RisingTalents 2018 schedule runs as follows:

    Application Period: 4th July – 31st August

    Audition Results: 31st  August

    Battle Group 1: 28th September

    Battle Group 2: 26th October

    Finals: 30th November

    Announcements will be made via The St. Regis Bangkok social media page on Facebook ( Conditions for entry include that groups must not exceed three players, and must be based in Thailand. Although applicants must be under the age of 26, there is no minimum age requirement, and anyone can enter, from any institution.

    Scoring will be based on the criteria of Technical Merit, Artistic Approach and Originality. Esteemed judges, with a wealth of experience and musical genius will sit on the panel, ranging from publishers, composers, musicians, professors and award-winning music instructors, including Dr. Paye Srinarong, as well as Mr. Klaus Christandl, General Manager of The St. Regis Bangkok.

    As well as offering a platform and exposure for young, talented musicians, enviable prizes will be awarded to the final top three, who will see the competition through until 30th November 2018. Competition sessions will be open to the public, with spectator tickets available for advance purchase, at a later date, to be advised.

    For further information, call 02-662-6295 or 084-927-5272 and visit

  • Tuesday, August 07, 2018 13:58 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Vejthani Hospital Accredited By GHA With Excellence Validating Its Premier Medical Travel Care Continuum

    The Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA) Program awarded its “Accreditation with Excellence” to Vejthani Hospital reaffirming it as one of the pioneers among internationally recognized healthcare providers. The hospital received the accreditation for a three-year term with an overall score of 100% against the GHA Program’s 10 Critical Success Factors.

    The GHA Program based in the United States of America honors the healthcare organizations with highly competent medical travelers’ services. GHA, the first of its kind, aims to optimize the Medical Travel Care Continuum and support healthcare providers like Vejthani Hospital in validating the quality and patient experience, increasing transparency, and implementing sustainable corporate practices for medical travelers.

    According to Dr. Charkrit Soucksakit, Chief Executive Officer at Vejthani Hospital, “As an international hospital, we provide high-quality care and a superior customer experience based on international standards. We have validated our clinical expertise by previously achieving Joint Commission International accreditation, including certifications for five Clinical Care Programs. Most recently, we had the distinction of achieving “Accreditation with Excellence” by Global Healthcare Accreditation, which focuses on enhancing the medical travel care continuum for traveling patients. GHA accreditation was the missing piece which affirms our pride to be an exceptional care provider to all medical travelers along their journey.”

    Established in 1994, Vejthani Hospital is a JCI accredited private quaternary care hospital that serves over 300,000 patients from over 100 countries annually with 263 inpatient beds and over 300 specialists with international certifications across multiple specialties. The hospital has surfaced as one of the best global medical traveler’s destination especially among the patients from Arabic speaking countries and South-East Asia. Most international patients come to the hospital for elective procedures like knee replacement, spinal surgery, cancer treatment, plastic surgery and assisted reproduction treatment.

    An exemplary collaborative care, driven by the prime objective to ensure the highest quality and safety is delivered to the patients at Vejthani Hospital. The use of medical technologies at the forefront of innovation along with authentic Thai hospitality further enhances the medical treatment outcomes and patient experiences. Patients can rest assured that the medical programs at Vejthani Hospital encompass the strict standards of patient safety, clinical care delivery and patient support.

    To cater the ever-increasing needs of medical travelers, Vejthani Hospital provides a comprehensive continuum of medical travel facilities for international patients. These facilities include V-Flight one-stop air ambulance service, airport meeting point booth, multilingual team of patient coordinators, prompt e-mail correspondence, International Insurance Coordinators, service apartment, ground transportation, visa assistance, embassy liaisons, 24-hour hotlines and international restaurants.

    The Patients’ Advocacy teams at Vejthani Hospital, which consists of International Customer Service and Arabic Customer Service, provide one-stop medical travelers’ services and multilingual interpretation in over 20 languages. The teams diligently coordinate pre-appointment services, airport pickup, advance accommodation booking, and visa extension assistance. In addition, the clinical coordinators ensure personalized care for all patients.

    If you are searching for the internationally certified world-class healthcare providers whether for elective procedures or surgery, you can consider Vejthani Hospital as one of your top destinations for medical travel. Just get in touch with the hospital’s clinical correspondence team and then the hospital’s specialists and staff will provide you with the full assistance needed throughout your medical travel journey.

  • Tuesday, August 07, 2018 10:45 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It all gets PERSONAL as marketers navigate rules

    Mark McDowell

    EU’s online privacy laws are a challenge, but creative solutions are there

    The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is raising the cost of digital marketing and presenting a challenge to companies engaged in this field, a digital marketing agency says.

    The GDPR, which is aimed at protecting consumers’ privacy on the Internet, affects organisations that have customers in the EU or collect data on people living with the bloc.

    It affects digital marketing because it requires people to give their consent to companies to use their information. Digital marketing relies on the use of vast amounts of personal data in order to deliver targeted campaigns.

    Mark McDowell, managing director of Primal, a digital marketing agency, said that digital marketers would want to ensure that the data providers that digital marketing companies work with comply with the new regulations.

    “GDPR is very good for the industry overall for the long term as it will improve protections for consumer rights," said McDowell.

    He said he always tries to target advertising or content to the right people at the right time with the right message, with the right products and services. 

    “And having data to do that helps us to correctly achieve that,” he said. 

    “What is happening right now is that people are downloading apps or subscribing to services from companies without reading the fine print in the terms and conditions, so the change will result in the cost of data increasing because if people do not consent to give their 

    information, the supply of data will be reduced.

    “This means that the costs to obtain quality data will rise. Since the regulations require customers to re-opt-in, the 

    companies need to notify customers in order to get them to agree to give their consent.”

    McDowell said that while the GDPR was announced two years ago, giving people plenty of time to make adjustments, it has only been in recent months that some online providers have swung into action.

    The moved quickly to update their privacy policies and consent forms.

    McDowell said companies can still take steps to ensure they can protect their businesses with the help of a legal adviser. 

    He said companies need not be overly worried, as it is not too difficult to ensure compliance with the GDPR.

    “When we run campaigns on Facebook, we have the option to take the existing customers’ data, like their names and email addresses, and then upload the details onto Facebook,” said McDowell. “We can then target these people through their information on Facebook. We can also create what we call 'look alike' audiences. 

    “With this, we can take customer profiles and information on their online behaviour and through Facebook data on these people, we can create another audience who behaves online in the same way as existing audiences.

    “If these audiences are primarily people from the EU, it means that we potentially have brands that have not obtained consent from these people to do targeted marketing at them on Facebook.

     “So, an alternative for us as a digital marketer, is to rely on information drawn from non-behaviour aspects. This is called contextual advertising.”

    McDowell said that an example of this could be that if someone is browsing on the Web for cameras, “we want to display ads on the websites that relate to what the website is about, such as a website that has news about cameras”.

    “If I am a customer, I can then see ads about cameras related to the pages that we are on. 

    “This does not involve using the customer's personal information. It is not about who we are targeting, but rather it is about where and what,” he said.

    Coming under the net

    Dhiraphol Suwanprateep, the head of the telecommunications, media and technology practice group of Baker Mckenzie's Bangkok office, said that in the case of the processing of personal data of people in the EU related to the sale of goods or services of Thai companies available in the EU, such companies could be subject to the GDPR. This is also the case for Thai companies that track the behaviour or locations of individuals in the EU.

    McDowell said the impact of the GDPR on customer engagement becomes more challenging because such engagement requires an understanding of the touch points of the customer journey before they buy something from a company. People may rely on third party data that they buy to understand or to map the customer journey. It becomes more difficult with the new regulatory regime.

    However, because the quality of data should be improved, that information becomes much more actual, McDowell said.

    “It may be not amount to much in volume or size, but if the quality improves, we could build more active actuals about their journey and we can reach and engage with them at the different touch points.

    “People will see less 'spray and pray' advertising.”

    Expenditure on digital marketing in Thailand is around US$430 million in 2018, according to KantasTNS Research. The market has an average growth rate of 45 per cent. 

    But the segment accounts for only 1 per cent of all advertising expenditure, even though digital consumption is very high.

    Globally, consumer behaviour is changing, with people spending more time on mobile devices and online generally. Thailand is growing rapidly in terms of the way that people engage. 

    Thailand has also seen a big shift in TV advertising moving over to digital, because people everyone now has a mobile phone. When they watch TV they also use their phones at the same time. This represents a shift in behaviour.

    To address problem of the big gap between digital consumption and digital marketing expenditure, education is required to promote consumer engagement in order to better use marketing investments.

    Primal was established two and a half years ago to help Thai brands to grow their presence online through digital media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Google.

    “We saw the gap in the market with regard to helping companies and businesses improve the way they engage the customers online. 

    “We started with four people and have now grown to about 30 people," said McDowell.

    Primal has been growing at about 250 per cent year on year, having customers across 80 brands. 

    "We do not deal with any offline media. We focus only online media,” McDowell said. “We have different services that can help our customers. We help them to produce content, email marketing, display advertising, SEO, and social media as well as help them to develop websites, We are fully integrated as we handle the entire spectrum.

    “Primal's big focus is on Thailand and Thai consumers because Thai consumer are not like the rest of Asia. They love video, love social media - it is very unique in the way they behave. We integrate different services. We partner with Facebook and Google as well.”

    Source: The Nation

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