BANGKOK (ANN/THE NATION) – In a bold statement, Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, the CEO and founder of Tarad.com, has called upon the Thai government to prioritise the enforcement of accurate transaction reporting by platforms like Google and TikTok.
Rather than solely encouraging these digital giants to invest in Thailand, Pongvitayapanu argues that addressing the issue of underreported transactions should take precedence.
Backing his claims with data from the Thai Business Development Department (BDD) and the Digital Advertising Association (Thailand) (DAAT), Pawoot contends that the prevalent practice of underreporting transactions provides an unjust advantage to global digital giants.
According to him, this puts them in a more favourable position compared to local digital platforms that conduct their businesses transparently.
Pawoot’s assertions echo a global trend, as other countries have also raised concerns and accusations against major digital corporations for allegedly avoiding taxes, thus gaining an unfair competitive edge in the market.
The Business Development Department (BDD) has released financial figures for four major foreign digital platforms operating in Thailand for the previous year. According to the data TikTok reported a revenue of 786 million and a profit of THB46.9 million; Facebook disclosed a revenue of THB463 million with a profit of THB5 million; Google recorded a revenue of THB1.336 billion and a profit of THB59 million; and Line, another significant player, reported a substantial revenue of THB6.396 billion and a profit of THB268 million.
Pawoot emphasized that the reported revenues were significantly lower than the estimates provided by the Digital Advertising Association (DAAT). He highlighted that the DAAT had commissioned market research firm Kantar (Thailand) Ltd to analyze advertising spending in Thailand for the previous year. According to their findings, the four major foreign social networks garnered substantial advertising revenues.
As per the DAAT/Kantar estimates, digital advertising revenues were as follows – TikTok, estimated at THB840 million; Facebook, projected at THB8.691 billion; Google, anticipated to be THB5.435 billion; and Line, estimated at THB1.633 billion.
Pawoot suggested that foreign digital platforms might be avoiding the accurate reporting of transactions in Thailand due to the common practice of clients making credit card payments to their Singapore headquarters.
The Electronic Transactions Development Agency reported that, as of September this year, a total of 835 digital platforms across 15 business categories had been registered in Thailand.