Like much of Southeast Asia, internet users in Thailand are mobile first. According to the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre, of the country’s 38 million internet users, 70 per cent of people used their phones more than desktops to get online.
However, this cultural trend has not translated to the SME sector. According to the Bangkok Post, about 270,000 companies in Thailand have websites (about 10 per cent of the 2.7 million SMEs in the country). Of those, they are designed with desktop in mind and not optimised for our devices.
This is the market Google hopes to target by offering subsidised mobile websites to Thai SMEs who sign up for Google’s marketing and advertising service.
“We will subsidize the cost of SMBs creating a mobile-friendly website, working with agencies who are certified as part of our Google Partner Program,” read a statement from Google sent to e27.
While the move certainly could help SMEs generate business through customer awareness, it also is chance for Google to get-in on the ground-floor of a mobile advertising market that appears primed for growth in the coming years.
Thailand is one of several countries that will move forward with Google’s programme to get traditional businesses on mobile.
Google is also offering a free online tool to help companies understand if their sites run fast enough. While having a mobile presence is important, it becomes irrelevant if the site takes forever to load.
“Google recognises the importance of the shift to mobile which is why we’re pleased to announce a new tool and a new program to help businesses of all sizes and budgets succeed on mobile,” read the statement.
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According to Google, it takes an average of 12 seconds to fully load a website in Thailand (the global average in developed countries is 10 seconds). Furthermore, the report said 53 per cent of people will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
The online tool being offered by Google will provide insights and analytics so SMEs can measure how the website is impacting their sales.
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