eXtensions - Tuesday 30 May 2017
Cassandra: Tuesday Review - The ASEAN Connection and Beyond
By Graham K. Rogers
120-foot glass facade of new Apple Store, Orchard Road, Singapore - Image courtesy of Apple
Before, marketing was run through a number of companies established here; and then there was a gap when Thailand seemed to have fallen off Apple's map even though there is an office here, currently based in Centara Towers. Nicely decked out in minimalist grey, it even smells like an Apple office, although the guardian of the door seems quite wary of westerners she doesn't recognise.
Distribution of Apple products here and the retail sales are run in a different way from other countries and, while Apple controls the pricing of its own products, accessories - availability and pricing - are up to the stores, each of which makes its order through mid-level distributors, who order from Apple. I am not sure how efficient this could ever be. Apple tends to let local outlets do their own thing, with a nudge in the right direction from time to time. They do have presence in other countries in the region, so a telephone query may be answered by someone in Malaysia or the Philippines and a call back may even come from someone in Australia, depending on the problem.
This week, it was reported that it is possible Apple will open an app development center in Jakarta, where there is to be a research and development center set up in conjunction with Foxconn (Christian Zibreg, iDownloadBlog). The new center is perhaps part of Apple's push to sell the iPhone in Indonesia, because the country has rules requiring phones sold in the country to use at least 30 percent locally procured components by 2017 (Christian Zibreg, iDownloadBlog).
As for ApplePay in Thailand, who knows? As with many things here, unless the right person is sufficiently interested and is able to press the right buttons without meeting too much resistance from those who represent opposing interests, maybe ApplePay will come here one day. There are already NFC terminals at some checkouts and automatic payment systems are possible here, it is just that the moment the spectre of the iPhone appears, someone may find a problem: real or imagined.
On Twitter today there was a link to an article in the Bangkok Post that claimed, as from 1 January all those wanting a SIM card would need to provide fingerprints. Thais do this as a matter of course as the service provider takes a copy of the national ID card. There is no mention of non-Thais, but the article seems to suggest that not only new SIMs, but those already in use will need the owner to register. That could mean a visit to a carrier's outlet. But again there is no information if those visiting as tourists will also need to provide fingerprints. That will not please some people.
There were some really funny parts, although some of my Thai friends may have missed the plays on words like astrology and asses, or horology and whores. Paul McCartney had a small scene as Sparrow's uncle, with some amusing lines, but he was not as memorable as Keith Richards as Jack Sparrow's father. When talking about the movie with a friend afterwards, I mentioned the appearance of Paul McCartney: blink, blink. The Beatles . . . Who? But then we would never have been able to imagine the iPhone or the Internet, except as a scene in some futuristic movie.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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