Thai culture and cultural products responding to government policy

Garena Online (Thailand), a digital entertainment business under Sea (Thailand), together with the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Nakhon Ratchasima Chamber of Commerce, have collaboratively launched a new fashion item on Free Fire called the “Korat Cat Pants.” Starting from the Korat Monogram design contest, the “Korat Cats” monogram was turned into actual pants by local SMEs. The pants are now entering a digital realm as the latest in-game fashion item on Free Fire, a famous battle royale mobile game from Garena which is operating in over 160 markets across the globe. Today, the Korat Cat Pants in-game fashion item is launched on Free Fire’s Thai server and will be available worldwide within 2024.

On this occasion, to seek a common approach to deploy digital content development and utilization for Thai culture, cultural products, and Thailand promotion on the global stage, a discussion between the government representatives Sea (Thailand) and Garena Online (Thailand) was arranged and joined by Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee – the Member and Secretary of the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, Mr. Prasert Jantararuangtong – the Minister of Digital Economy and Society, Mr. Sermsak Pongpanit – the Minister of Culture, Ms. Sudawan Wangsuphakitkosol – the Minister of Tourism and Sports, and Mr. Jirapisit Rutcharoen – the President of the Young Entrepreneur Chamber of Commerce (YEC), Nakhon Ratchasima Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Maneerut Anulomsombut – the Chief Executive Officer of Sea (Thailand),  Dr. Sarut Vanichpun – Senior Director, Sea (Thailand), and Mr. Krit Pattanateacha – Senior Director, Head of Garena Online (Thailand).

Dr. Surapong Suebwonglee, the Member and Secretary of the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, said, “Game is considered one of the elements driven by the creativity of the younger generations that contributes to a nation’s soft power. Therefore, it’s a medium that can blend Thailand’s contemporary culture into the lives of people around the world.”

Mr. Prasert Jantararuangtong, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society, further added, “In the new world in which technology plays vital roles, a profound integration of culture, local identity, and creativity is needed to enhance the promotion of cultural products through digital content. This will lead to an increase of value and awareness for cultural products, supporting the products to take their stand in the global market and creating economic and social value for the country.”

Mr. Sermsak Pongpanit, the Minister of Culture, added, “This integration of cultural heritages and digital content successfully shows the capability and potential of Thai people. It also emphasizes that Thai culture has value and power to create more opportunities, generate more income, and drive soft power for Thailand.”

Ms. Sudawan Wangsuphakitkosol, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, added, “Supporting the development of soft power is a catalyst for empowering the new generation. Additionally, it can stimulate the economy and sustainably distribute income among local communities.”

Ms. Maneerut Anulomsombut – the Chief Executive Officer of Sea (Thailand) which is a  provider of leading internet platforms such as Garena, Shopee, and SeaMoney, added, “Games and esports are currently a form of digital entertainment with an ability to reach new generation across Thailand and oversea markets, effectively. Free Fire, meanwhile, is a globally popular battle royale mobile game which highly accessible and well-known for its diverse in-game fashion items that players can enjoy and choose from.

“To promote Thailand, Thai culture, and cultural products through digital content, we have selected a product from local SMEs, such as ‘Korat Cat Pants,’ and developed it into the latest in-game fashion item. Releasing it through Free Fire, the ‘Korat Cat Pants’ item can reach more than 568 million quarterly active users across 160 markets around the world. This collaboration creates unique content that excites players and enhances their experience by introducing them to local charms and we expect to receive a good response from players. The Korat Cat Pants in-game fashion item is available on the Free Fire’s Thai server starting from 10th January, and will be internationally launched throughout 2024.”

The collaborative cultural presentation involving the Korat Cat Pants item represents an advancement in the application of digital content, leveraging the thriving games and esports industry. This initiative supports the country’s efforts to enhance soft power by creatively integrating fresh perspectives of our local charms and stories into digital entertainment content. Garena Online (Thailand) has been paying attention to the subject. During 2018 – 2023, the company launched numerous Thai skins on Arena of Valor (RoV), a MOBA game published by Garena, such as Aor Jao Skin Phi Ta Khon Skin, Ratchaphruek Flower Skin, and Tom Yum Kung Skin. Extending Thai skin development to Free Fire will help enhance awareness of Thainess on the global level.