Thailand’s Kasikornbank partners Vietnam incubator to grow regional startups

Wed Jun 26, 2019 - 6:06am GMT+0000

Kasikornbank - BSSC

26/6/2019 – Thailand’s second-largest lender Kasikornbank is partnering with Vietnam’s Business Startup Support Center (BSSC) to aid Thai and Vietnamese startups with their regional expansion plans.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed in May, the government-backed BSSC will support Thai companies to expand in Vietnam where entrepreneurship and startups are booming, especially in the area of fintech and ecommerce.

“We will help Thai startups understand Vietnamese traditions, politics, and business practices,” said deputy director of BSSC Hang Nguyen, adding that the center would also support in other areas, including finding local partners and navigating the legal landscape.

Thailand has yet to have a unicorn, while Vietnam is only home to one: online game operator and e-tailer VNG Corporation. Answering that, Hang Nguyen added that, “BSSC is ready to help create new Thai and Vietnamese unicorns.”

Pattarapong Kanhasuwan, the chairman of Kasikornbank subsidiary KVision said the company has earmarked US$245 million to invest in Thai and foreign startups, with a particular focus in Vietnam.

“We plan not only to invest in Thai and Vietnamese startups but also want to use this framework as another step to find partners in Vietnam willing to invest in other businesses there,” said Pattarapong.

Since 2016, Vietnam has been actively nurturing and developing its startup ecosystem. The local government has been welcoming foreign investment in high tech and investing in the country’s communications infrastructure.

This has increased the country’s internet penetration rate to 52%, which is higher than Thailand at just 42% – setting up a welcoming environment for Vietnamese startups in fintech and other technologies.

Hang Nguyen of the BSSC said it is too early to name the Thai or Vietnamese startups with cross-border expansion plans. However, there are many companies that are good candidates and holds potential due to strong demand in certain sectors, she said.

“At this stage, we see strong potential in fintech, e-commerce, travel tech and edutech, as demand in these sectors is quite strong.”