(April 8th, 2016) At last week’s Thailand Startup Summit 2016 in Bangkok where 500 entrepreneurs, investors and community builders connected over the one-day event of keynotes, panels and networking.
Binh Nguyen, Senior Director at Topica Edtech Group, spoke on a diverse panel alongside iflix, HappyFresh, Lalamove and Sephora Digital. The topic at hand? Dissecting the challenges and opportunities of launching in Thailand when you’re already running your company abroad.
Nguyen has been running the Southeast Asian online education provider’s operations in Thailand for the past year, which include products ‘Topica Uni,’ which offers online degrees and ‘Topica Native,’ online Engish speech tutoring courses. The eight-year-old company has also just launched Edumall, a marketplace for any short online courses (from cooking to music lessons).
Nguyen shared on the panel why Topica has chosen Thailand as their current focus: “Thailand is a big market -- they have nearly 70 million people, 35% of them are working people who are our target customers. As a country focused on tourism, the demand for learning English is high and people with a proficiency in English tend to be able to get a better job,” he said.
According to Nguyen, the Topica Thailand team has faced two challenges when expanding into the new market which includes educating new users on the benefits of online learning and also building up a local brand to attract talent.
“Online education is still new to most in Thailand and so they don’t quite believe it works. So we need to spend some time educating them on the benefits of online learning. Second, Thailand has many talented people that we’d like to recruit, but we’re still working on building our brand up locally in order to attract talent,” he said.
After entering Thailand in March 2015, Nguyen has already built a team of 180 employees in their first year. Although they have already hired on 50 Thai employees, they’re looking to localize their products and are currently recruiting another 50 locals to join the Topica Thailand team in the next six months.
About Topica Edtech Group
Topica Edtech Group is a leading online education provider in Southeast Asia, with 1,000 full-time staff and 1,800 instructors in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Topica Uni cooperates with 11 universities including top-tier institutions in the Philippines and Vietnam to operate high-quality online degree programs. Topica Native provides online English speech tutoring courses in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and was the first in the world to launch an English speech tutoring app on an Augmented Reality platform. Topica Edumall is a leading distribution platform for Topica's short and long courses and third-party products.
Topica also manages the Thailand and Vietnam chapters of the Silicon-Valley accelerator Founder Institute, whose grads have raised million dollars funding rounds.
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