On October 9, 2023, the Trade Competition Commission of Thailand (“TCCT“) announced its plan for 2024 to focus primarily on competition, unfair trading, and antitrust policies for e-commerce businesses with a value of over THB 100 billion (approximately USD 2.87 million).
In light of the global digital business trends, more business operators are opting to expand their operations through online digital platforms. As e-commerce platforms exert increasing influence on global market trends, competition regulators face heightened challenges, particularly in addressing mergers in the digital market which can lead to dominant market control.
The pervasiveness of digital business has impacted Thailand’s commercial landscape through the burgeoning sectors of e-commerce, e-services, and e-logistics. The TCCT has focused its attention on the expansion of digital platform businesses in Thailand, including Shopee, Lazada, Line Shopping, and foreign platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. However, this growth has also led to numerous complaints being received by the TCCT. These complaints primarily relate to unfair service fees and commission charges, unfair pricing practices, the imposition of fixed logistics providers, and search engine manipulation favoring large merchants. Additionally, the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions among e-commerce players has raised concerns about potential monopolies and unfair competitive practices. Over the past five years (2019-2023), the total transaction value of these mergers and acquisitions has reached THB 4.27 trillion (approximately USD 120 billion.
Recently, the TCCT has been closely examining the relevant regulatory regime in other jurisdictions and collaborating with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency on the regulatory framework under the Royal Decree on the Operation of Digital Platform Service Businesses that are subject to prior notification, B.E. 2565 (2022). There is a plan to publish an e-commerce guideline in 2024, primarily focused on an ex-ante approach to proactively prevent unfair competition and reduce impediments to growth within Thailand’s e-commerce industry. We expect that the draft will be published for public hearing early next year. Additionally, the TCCT will intensify its oversight of mergers and acquisitions to safeguard against anti-competitive impacts.
The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.