Thailand is not often considered a startup hub – but that could all be about to change.
Deal Street Asia report rumours that the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is currently in the process of setting up its first venture capital fund to be purely focused on tech startups raising Series A funding.
“The fund size will be around US$30-50 million,” a source close to the project advised the publication.
The fund is hoping to launch at some point before the end of this first quarter and is currently ironing out the kinks while seeking approval from the Bank of Thailand.
Thana Thienachariya, a former marketing executive at DTAC, has been hired to run the fund as well as an additional SCB subsidiary that will invest 1-1.5 percent of the bank’s profit into FinTech related research.
But while encouraging strides are being made in this corner of Thailand’s tech scene, it looks as though backward steps were nearly taken in another.
In a supposed leaked document from a meeting between Google legal executives and a governmental censorship committee, it’s documented that Thai officials asked the tech giant for additional powers relating to online censorship.
Khaosod English reports that the leaked document states the Thai committee asked Google to make an exception to their current censorship rules – which allows for online content to be removed only with possession of a court order – by taking down any content the government deems illegal without having to provide such an order.
“We would like Google to expedite the process of website removal once it is requested by qualified authorities to save from the possible damage of time, as it will not correct the situation if we wait for the court process,” the document is reported to read.
The executives from Google apparently refused to make any such exceptions.
The document was leaked on Wednesday evening by a group of activists opposed to the government stance on web intrusion, Khaosod say.
Featured image is by Heisenberg Media and used under a Creative Commons licence