ON the 1st of November, Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman of CP Group, shook hands with Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, over a collaboration deal between their subsidiaries to expand financial services in Southeast Asia.
After a buying of 20% in August, Alibaba’s Ant Financial may eventually invest up to 30% stake in Ascend Money, a financial technology company under CP Group (aka True Money).
Besides tapping the unbanked population, “We aim to become a key player in digital financial services in the region,” said Punnamas Vichitkulwongs, chief executive of Ascend Group while Eric Jing, chief executive of Ant Financial, said the deal was a win-win resolution to a more variety of financial services to serve micro companies and even individual consumers.
This will allow customers of both Ant Financial’s mobile payment application, Alipay, and CP Group’s True Money to combine and utilize their connected payment network. It simply means over 1.5 million Alipay POS terminals will accept TrueMoney and Alipay customers can pay at TrueMoney’s terminals which are, well, every 7-Eleven basically.
Top: CP Group boss Dhanin Chearavanont and Alibaba founder Jack Ma display an embossed portrait of His Majesty the late King after their subsidiaries linked up. Photo: Joyce Ho – Nikkei
National parks as ready as they could possibly be
FOLLOWING ThaiResidents.com’s last week report of Doi Inthanon National Park’s readiness for the high season, the Meteorological Department announced past Monday that winter has officially started.
Holidaymakers swiftly rushed in to book most of the national parks’ available accommodations via the Department of National Park’s online booking system, causing it to crash and stay down for at least several days.
Director-general Thanya Netithammakun of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said the popular national parks were already almost fully booked for December and January’s long holidays.
He said meetings were held to find ways to deal with overcrowding problems and tourists flow management.
It is believed that the cause of the craze, besides the announcement of the official start of this year’s winter, was also incited by the department’s forecast that Thailand’s lower Northeast would be colder than in the past two years from November to February.
Readers with faith and positive mindset can still go to nps.dnp.go.th or call 02-579-6666, ext 1743-1744 to try their luck on any dates apart from November 2 – December 28.
Inset: A holidaymaker perched on the edge of a cliff at a stunningly beautiful national park. Photo: Nps.dnp.go.th
Iodine deficiency still a big problem
THE government is set to solve lack of iodine problem in Thai children with a long-term plan as a carry-on of His Majesty the late King’s aspiration to help his people.
The Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) was concerned after its latest worrying test results of newborn babies’ iodine levels indicator (thyroid-stimulating hormone), and it has come up with a 2016-2021 control and prevention plan which includes more research and monitoring of the deficiency, said DMS director-general Sukhum Karnchanapimai.
The department found that the Northeastern provinces are the area that required most immediate action, in knowing that iodine deficiency is one of the causes of newborn baby with low IQ. Since the body does not make iodine, it should be consumed as part of a person’s diet.
It is going to try to tackle the problem by urging the public health network and the communities in the Northeast to promote the use of iodine in food production, for example spraying potassium iodate solution on vegetables or mixing chicken feed with high concentrations of potassium iodate to produce eggs with high iodine.
Below: A doctor examines a patient for possible thyroid problem which is linked to iodine deficiency. Photo: http://www.drfranklipman.com/
By Piboon Awasdaruharote