Thailand to regulate digital platform service businesses to protect public

Thailand digital services
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: People visit shopping center to celebrate New Year Eve during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/File Photo/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s cabinet on Monday approved a draft decree to regulate digital platform service businesses to maintain financial and commercial stability and to prevent damage to the public, a government spokesman said.

Such businesses, both in and outside of Thailand, will need to notify the government before operating, spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said in a statement.

Thanakorn is a prominent politician from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, the 48-year-old has regularly defended Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, against attacks by opposition politicians and government critics, especially over the third wave of infections and stumbling vaccine rollout.

Thanakorn’s June 10 appointment was endorsed by Prayut on the same day. The new CESA spokesman is also secretary to PM’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai.

The law will apply to various digital platform services including online marketplaces, social commerce, food delivery, space sharing, ride/car sharing and online search engines, he said.

“They are all increasingly important to the economy and society, so there is a need to oversee them,” Thanakorn said.

Last month, the government said it would start collecting value-added tax (VAT) from foreign technology companies including Facebook and Google, intermediaries such as ride-hailing app Grab and streaming services such as Netflix.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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