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Thailand BOI Says 2023 Investment Applications up 43% to USD 24 Billion as Large FDI Projects Soar

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BANGKOK, Feb. 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) announced today that applications for investment promotion in 2023 reached a five-year high of 848.3 billion baht in combined value (ca. USD 24 billion), an increase of 43% from the previous year’s adjusted number, led by large foreign investments in the five priority sectors in the BOI’s new Investment Promotion Strategy, which represented more than half of the combined pledges.

The relocation trend in key industrial sectors driven by ongoing geopolitical issues and the Thai Government’s aggressive investment promotion policy accelerated a huge growth of Thailand’s FDI to 663.2 billion baht, representing a 72% increase in the FDI value compared to 2022.

Thailand’s potential and readiness, together with the new 5-year investment promotion strategy and measures, have attracted large investment by companies seeking to relocate to a safe and resilient long-term base for their investments. Moreover, the fact that the Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, himself, led several investment promotion roadshows, has significantly raised investors’ confidence and put Thailand on the radars of key investment communities.” Mr. Narit Therdsteerasukdi, Secretary General of the BOI, told reporters at a press conference held after a Board meeting at Government House in Bangkok. “Looking forward to 2024, it is predicted that the Thai economy will expand, supported by the expansion of exports and tourism revenue. We also believe investments are likely to grow due to the continued flow of FDI, especially in our priority sectors.”

The Board meeting, chaired by H.E. Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the BOI, also approved four investment promotion applications worth a combined 29.7 billion baht for projects comprising two data centers, the production of steel wire for the tyre industry, and the production of steam for industrial use.

2023 Investment Pledges up 43%

The total number of applications for investment promotion filed last year by investors, both local and foreign, increased 16% to 2,307 projects, worth a combined 848.3 billion baht investment, up 43% from a revised 591.5 billion baht in 2022. The rise in total value reflects the growing number of large projects, mostly from overseas.

The five priority sectors defined by the new strategy the BOI enacted last year, namely BCG (Bio-Circular-Green), electric vehicles (EV), smart electronics, digital and creative, together attracted 759 applications, worth a combined 492.5 billion baht of investment, or 58% of the total value of investment pledges.

FDI Applications

The year 2023 saw foreign investors file a total of 1,394 applications for investment promotion, an increase of 38% from the previous year, and an increase of 72% in combined investment value to 663.24 million baht, due to a significant number of large projects.

Like in the previous year, investment applications from the People’s Republic of China came first in the ranking of FDI sources by investment value, with 430 projects worth a combined investment of 159.39 billion baht, or 24% of the total value of FDI applications in the period, boosted by Chinese investments in the electronics industry, and the automotive supply chain, including EV.

Singapore came in second with 194 projects worth a combined 123.39 billion baht of investment, boosted by large projects applications from Singapore-based affiliates of international companies in sectors including solar cells and electronics.

Investments from the U.S. ranked third with 40 projects worth a combined 83.95 billion baht.

Japan came in fourth with 264 projects representing a combined value of 79.15 billion baht, a 60% increase from the previous year.

Taiwan ranked in fifth position with 54.6 billion baht from a total of 94 projects.

In terms of the regional distribution of investment, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand’s prime industrial area comprising Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao provinces, again led the ranking with 460.5 billion baht worth of investment, accounting for 54% of the total pledges. It was followed by the country’s central region which attracted around 262 billion baht worth of investment, or 31% of the total.

Project Approvals

The investment applications approved by the board include the following projects:

  • NextDC, a leading Australian data center operator, received approval for a 13.76 billion baht investment in a new hyperscale data center which will be located in Bangkok.
  • CtrlS Datacentres (Thailand) Co., Ltd., a unit of CtrlS Datacenters LTD, a global data center operator based in India, received approval for a 5.04 billion baht investment in a new hyperscale data center which will be located in the Digital Industry and Innovation Promotion Zone (EECd) in Chonburi province.
  • Xingda Steel Cord (Thailand) Co., Ltd. received approval for a 6.66 billion baht investment in a new factory to produce steel cord, bead wire and steel wire mainly for use in the manufacturing of tyres, with an annual production capacity of 260,000 tons. The plant, which will be located in Chonburi province, is expected to export 50% of its output, and will further strengthen Thailand’s automotive sector supply chain.
  • TPI Polene Power PCL received approval for a 4.24 billion baht investment in the production of steam for distribution to power and cement production plants. The facility, to be located in Saraburi province, will have a production capacity of 480 tons of steam per hour, and will run on power generated from waste (refuse-derived fuel, or RDF).

For more information, please contact:

Thailand Board of Investment
Tel. +66 (0) 2553 8111
Website: www.boi.go.th
YouTube: Think Asia, Invest Thailand

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Validation Cloud Secures $5.8 Million in Inaugural Funding to Propel Web3 Infrastructure

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ZUG, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a significant stride towards revolutionizing Web3 infrastructure, Validation Cloud has proudly announced the successful closure of its first external investment round, amassing $5.8 million. Spearheaded by San Francisco-based Cadenza Ventures, this funding round exceeded expectations with contributions from an impressive roster of international investors, including Blockchain Founders Fund, Bloccelerate, Blockwall, Side Door Ventures, Metamatic, GS Futures, and AP Capital.

Alex Nwaka, Co-Founder of Validation Cloud, expressed enthusiasm about the funding, “This investment marks a pivotal moment for Validation Cloud as we aim to address the urgent demand for scalable and compliant Web3 infrastructure. We’re honored to collaborate with our investors who are instrumental in propelling the global adoption of our platform among cutting-edge networks, developers, and asset managers.”

Validation Cloud is at the forefront of Web3 technology, having developed an innovative system architecture that paves the way for significant advancements in the sector. Known as the “Cloudflare of Web3,” the company offers a robust, scalable, and intelligent platform providing Staking, Node API, and Data services, drawing inspiration from Cloudflare’s transformative impact on Web2 infrastructure.

Founded by veterans in the Proof-of-Stake domain, Validation Cloud boasts a team of highly experienced professionals from renowned organizations such as Uber, Workday, Deloitte, Citadel, Morgan Stanley, Binance, Crypto.com, Figure, R3, and more, emphasizing a talent-first approach with a worldwide workforce.

Kumar Dandapani, Managing Partner at Cadenza Ventures, highlighted the strategic vision behind their investment, “At Cadenza, we do not invest in just any company; we invest in the future of transformative technologies. Validation Cloud’s pioneering role in Proof-of-Stake and their relentless pursuit of next-generation Web3 infrastructure have set them apart as leaders in the Web3 space.”

Aly Madhavji, Managing Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund, shared his thoughts on the investment, “We believe in the transformative power of Web3 and its ability to redefine how businesses operate. Investing in Validation Cloud aligns perfectly with our vision of supporting innovative platforms that are ready to lead the next wave of digital transformation.”

Validation Cloud has earned a reputation for its close partnerships with networks from their nascent stages, supporting a wide array of ecosystems from established ones like Chainlink, Hedera, and Stellar to emerging networks such as Aptos, Eigenlayer, and Berachain. Their platform lays the groundwork for the enterprise adoption of networks, positioning Validation Cloud as a key player in the Web3 infrastructure landscape.

For further details on Validation Cloud and its offerings, please visit www.validationcloud.io.

Please contact: Kelly Clark, Director of Communications | [email protected] 

Funding Announcement for Validation Cloud by Alex Nwaka

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Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people

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The Swedish fintech, which was criticized for its handling of a dramatic staff reduction in 2022, is touting new efficiencies powered by OpenAI.

Klarna is bullish on bots.

One month after taking its OpenAI-powered virtual assistant global, the Swedish buy-now, pay-later company has released new data touting its ability to handle customer communications, make shoppers happier, and even drive better financial results.

The app-based AI chatbot already handles two-thirds of all customer service chats, the company said Tuesday—some 2.3 million conversations so far—with the virtual assistant earning customer satisfaction ratings at the same level as human agents. Klarna, which is expected to go public this year and will need all the hype it can get at a time when investors have been generally frosty toward IPOs, estimates that the chatbot could help improve its profits by $40 million in 2024.

Announcing a partnership with OpenAI early last year, Klarna said it was one of the first companies to integrate the firm’s groundbreaking ChatGPT technology into a plug-in for shopping. The natural-language interface initially helped customers choose items and make other shopping-related decisions based on personalized queries, a feature Klarna described as “smooth shopping.”

The company has continued to build out its AI offerings since then. Its app-based assistants are now available to customers worldwide and handle a variety of tasks including refunds, cancellations, and even disputes.

Klarna boasted in its announcement on Tuesday that the AI assistant “is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents.”

That statement may raise eyebrows for anyone who remembers the middle of 2022, when the company laid off roughly the same number of employees, then about 10% of its staff. At the time, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski cited economic uncertainty, inflation, and the likelihood of a recession as reasons for the cuts. He was criticized for his handling of the staff reduction after he shared a public spreadsheet on LinkedIn that contained the names of many of the laid-off workers.

Fast Company asked Klarna how the company arrived at its calculation for its AI assistant’s human-equivalent productivity. The company said the number of equivalent jobs the AI could perform wasn’t related to the layoffs. In a statement, a spokesperson said the company’s customer service is supported by four to five large third-parties that collectively have over 650,000 employees, and that it offers customers the option to speak with human agents if that’s what they prefer.

“This is in no way connected to the workforce reductions in May 2022, and making that conclusion would be incorrect,” the statement read. “We chose to share the figure of 700 to indicate the more long-term consequences of AI technology, where we believe it is important to be transparent in order to create an understanding in society. We think [it’s] important to proactively address these issues and encourage a thoughtful discussion around how society can meet and navigate this transformation.”

Companies have used chatbots for years to handle low-level customer queries and other interactions, although these tools are expected to become more versatile in the wake of advancements in artificial intellegence.

Source: Fast Company

The post Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people appeared first on HIPTHER Alerts.

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KAPSARC Launches Saudi Arabia’s First School of Public Policy

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  • Inspired by His Royal Highness, the Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud’s passion for education, human capital development and innovation, the KAPSARC School of Public Policy (KSPP) was founded as the first institution in Saudi Arabia dedicated to graduate studies and executive education in public policy.
  • Through its academic offerings, KSPP empowers individuals to tackle pressing public policy challenges and embrace the promising opportunities shaping the future.
  • KSPP’s facilities will run on 100% renewable energy, setting a precedent as one of the first net-zero facilities in the Saudi educational sector.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has been granted an establishment license for its School of Public Policy (KSPP) after the recent approval by the Council of Ministers, and which was announced during the Human Capability Initiative (HCI) on February 28, 2024, conducted under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and the Chairman of the Human Capability Development Program Committee, one of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Realization Programs.

Aiming to set new standards in policy studies, the school offers a two-year master’s degree and executive education programs designed to enable and empower future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and globally to address the most pressing domestic and international public policy challenges in the public, non-profit and private sectors.

This significant achievement was announced by His Royal Highness, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, the Minister of Energy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAPSARC: “The vision for KAPSARC School of Public Policy is to develop the knowledge and skills that the new generation needs to shape public policy both locally and globally. Our mission is to empower and equip future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and internationally to make informed socio-economic decisions.”

In a statement on the sidelines of the school’s launch, Fahad Alajlan, President of KAPSARC, stressed the Center’s mission to impact public policy on national, regional, and global levels. “Our new School of Public Policy will equip future leaders with the right skills to create data-driven and evidence-based public policy in line with Vision 2030 goals.”

Dr. Ghadah Alarifi, Founding Dean of KSPP, stated that, “Public policy serves as the foundation of societal progress. At KSPP, we aim to be a catalyst for collaboration, building a robust ecosystem that bridges academia, industry, and government in the public policy arena.”

By leveraging KAPSARC’s network, KSPP provides a platform for global engagement and career growth opportunities, offering practical application and flexible courses tailored to empower policymakers in different tracks including energy policy.

The school is committed to achieving high sustainability standards in the Saudi educational sector, including the goal of running on 100% renewable energy. This dedication ensures that KSPP meets its annual energy needs through on-site renewable resources, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

For more information about KSPP, visit https://www.kapsarc.org/about-the-school/.

Follow KSPP on social media:

  • X: @KAPSARC_SPP
  • LinkedIn: @ KAPSARC School of Public Policy

About KAPSARC:

KAPSARC is a leading think tank dedicated to advancing knowledge on energy, environment, and regional economic issues. Accredited observer of UNFCCC, KAPSARC actively contributes to global climate action. The mission of KAPSARC is to advance Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and inform global policies through evidence-based advice and applied research. For more information about the center please visit: https://www.kapsarc.org/

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