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From hawkers to hackers, Phuket has opportunities galore.

Where There's a Web, There's a Way

Tuesday, December 18, 2007
TALK to just about anyone on Phuket and they are likely to tell you that when it comes to jobs, ICT is the place to be.

In Thailand's computer screen world, Bangkok attracts the brightest and the best because it's so much bigger. So is the demand in industries across the board.

But Phuket is probably the second or third most important stop for ICT in Thailand, especially if the number of foreigners involved is taken into to consideration.

Local success stories include hoteltravel.com, the creation of Canadian Blair Speers. The company grew from small beginnings and now employs 230 people around the world from its island base.

When asked ''Why Pucket?'' Mr Speers recently told the magazine 'My Phuket':

''Why not Phuket? We're here for the fantastic lifestyle Phuket affords. An internet company can be run from anywhere in the world, so why not pick the best place?''

Internet businesses with a connection to the tourism industry are the island's ICT pioneers. And there are other Internet-based businesses doing well now.

Building and maintaining data bases is big, too. The improvement in banking services in the past five years has been an indication of how the whole island is gaining steadily in tech know-how.

While there may still be piles of paperwork on the desks of plenty of government officers, computers are gradually taking up the burden.

One hands-on freelance farang web designer on Phuket with a small company told Phuketwan that a lot has improved in the past five years.

While there are still plenty of complaints about the Internet speed on the island when compared to Singapore or Malaysia, the speeds on Phuket were improving.

It wasn't easy, he said, for foreigners to get work permits in ICT on Phuket. Thai workers still lacked the same polish as foreigners in the business, but prices were lower.

The ICT center at Saphan Hin, which opened in December, was an opportunity to boost local skills among the young especially.

A Thai ICT instructor said that it was difficult to gauge numbers working within the industry because many people worked freelance, without registering as companies.

But the number of jobs in computer-related skills was increasing rapidly, he said, with good jobs and good salaries available.

Many colleges also ran courses in computers.

The Software Industry Promotion Agency is surveying development needs on the island.

At least one Thai development and design company gained a contract from a property business at a SIPA seminar.

The property person who did the hiring said the Thai firm seemed very capable but quoted a much lower price than other companies.

One company recently advertised for staff to fill five positions: web master, localization developer, modules developer, themes designer and manual book writer.

Tourism and property may still be the big ticket items for jobs on Phuket, but ICT is coming along nicely, too.

For details about SIPA courses, telephone 076 379111-2

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