Thailand Sees Big Investment in Animation

Thailand's fledgling animation industry is flying high in the hope that foreign animation companies will invest between one and two billion baht in the industry after taking part in the second Thailand Animation and Multimedia 2005 fair.

The investment may come in the form of outsourcing and joint production and ventures with local companies, according to Manoo Ordeedolchest, the president of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa). Sipa will act as a matchmaker and the investment would be spent over the next few years.

Manoo said Thailand lacked cash-rich animation studios, which would produce big-budget animated content, especially films for the big screen. Therefore, forging alliances with foreigners was a shortcut to help upgrade the industry and make inroads internationally.

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry and Sipa organized the event, which opened Jan. 5 and runs until Jan. 8. They have invited 18 companies from 11 nations such as the U.S., Denmark, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and some Southeast Asian countries.

Two hundred participants are expected from different nations, with150 booths of exhibitors to be installed to showcase their content and technology. The event was aimed at promoting the animation industry internationally, and not only its business potential but also human resources development in the field. The promotion was also in line with the government policy to promote Thailand as the Hollywood of Asia.

Thailand is open wide for every nation to promote its animation business, especially productions for the big screen, worldwide,'' Manoo said.

Animation production for the big screen in Thailand was the main target because local talent exhibited a high level of production values, he said. However, he said Thailand faced a shortage of skilled screenwriters. In addition, producers, especially of content aired on TV, suffered from uncertain airtime and advertising revenue, resulting in losses due to higher production costs.

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