THE NATION November 13, 2014 3:41
Service has about 2,600 customers, with healthy growth foreseen
Microsoft is supporting start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises with Azure, its cloud-computing platform, and the local unit says the service is taking off in Thailand.
Suchaluck Sarananusorn, leader of Microsoft (Thailand)'s cloud and enterprise business group, said the Azure cloud service now had around 2,600 customers, and expected double-digit growth in that number in 2015.
Microsoft Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables users quickly to build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of data centres. It serves businesses of all sizes in two categories, namely infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). It was introduced to the Thai market in 2012 and has since grown by more than 300 per cent.
"I think the cloud-computing market in Thailand is continuing to grow," Suchaluck said.
"It is a new trend in the IT industry as businesses transition to the cloud platform, which will help them reduce operating expenses.
"We provide cloud computing services with prices starting at US$10 per month, which are designed for small and medium-sized businesses with five to 10 employees."
She said the firm would provide Azure via three channels - online, retailers and corporate partners. It now has more than 200 business partners in Thailand.
Ekaraj Kongswangwongsa, software industry development manager of Microsoft (Thailand), said the firm provided its cloud-computing platform to support start-up businesses under BizSpark, a global programme that provides free software, support and visibility to help start-ups succeed. More than 50,000 start-ups have joined BizSpark in more than 100 countries; in Thailand, more than 300 start-ups have joined. The three-year programme is free of charge.
Kavin Asavanant, chief executive of Noonswoon, a Thai start-up offering a matchmaking application and other technology, took advantage of BizSpark. He said his firm utilised Microsoft's cloud-computing service to support its back end and operational infrastructure.
"We received a year's subscription to Microsoft Azure and funding support though the Microsoft BizSpark programme, which helped us develop our app quickly and cost-effectively," he said. "Azure also kept our app stable, and we were able to deploy it successfully.
"We expect that we will have between a million and 2 million subscriptions within the next six months and will expand our business base to Singapore and Hong Kong as the next step."
International Data Corporation has reported that the cloud-computing market in Thailand will be worth $425 million (Bt14 billion) this year, rising to $580 million next year and jumping to $737 million in 2016. More than 80 per cent of new apps in the next five years will be distributed or deployed on the cloud.