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Thailand’s Royal Decree on digital platforms.

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The Royal Decree on Operational Digital Platforms, released on 22 December 2022 in the Royal Gazette and governed by the Electronic Transactions Act of 2001, is now fully in effect. The new regulations and sub-regulations in the decree are administered and enforced by the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA). Existing and upcoming digital platform operators are required to review the regulations and provide the ETDA with either of the following, based on the size of their operations:

  1. Notification in full-form submitted by 18 November 2023, or
  2. Notification in short-form submitted by 20 August 2024

Details of these requirements are provided in the following sections:

  1. Definitions outlined in the Royal Decree
  2. Obligations for digital platform operators
  3. Breaches of compliance
  4. How to notify the ETDA
  5. Key takeaways

1. Definitions

According to the Royal Decree, “digital platform” (DP) refers to the provision of an electronic intermediary network that manages the information of and creates connections between “merchants”, “consumers”, and “users” in order to facilitate electronic transactions, regardless of whether payment is made to the digital platform operator or an affiliated company acting as its representative, and regardless of whether the goods or services are offered to third parties or to affiliated companies.

The regulations specify categories of DP services, and DP operators must determine theirs:

  • Online marketing
  • Sharing economy
  • Online communication
  • Social media
  • Advertising services
  • Audio-visual sharing
  • Search tools
  • News aggregation
  • Maps
  • Web browsing
  • Virtual assistants
  • Operating systems
  • Hosting services
  • Cloud services
  • Internet services

2. Obligations imposed on DP service operators

2.1 Notifications

DP service operators under the Royal Decree are subject to either of the following notification requirements:

  • Full-form notification: Operators with a gross income of more than THB 50,000,000 per year or more than 5,000 monthly active users in Thailand must submit the full-form notification to the ETDA by 18 November 2023.
  • Short-form notification: Operators that do not meet the criteria above must submit the short-form notification to the ETDA by 20 August 2024.

2.2 Information required by the ETDA

The notifications require the following information:

1. Details of the DP service operator

  • Company name, or operator name + surname
  • Company registration number or operator personal identification number
  • Accounting period
  • Contact information

2. Details of the DP service

  • Name of the DP service
  • Type of DP service (in case the operator has more than one type of DP in the Kingdom of Thailand, they must identify all types operated)
  • Service channel, i.e., URL or application
  • Value of transactions performed on the DP (if any)
  • Total revenue before deduction of the expenses from providing the DP services (if any)
  • Revenue proportion of each DP operated by the service provider in the Kingdom of Thailand (if any)

3. User information (if any)

  • User type, i.e., entrepreneur, consumer, or user of DP for work
  • Total number of DP users and totals from each DP service (if operator has more than one)
  • Type of relevant service providers, i.e., logistics warehouse
  • Total relevant service providers and number of each relevant service provider type

4. Details of complaint management

  • Number and type of complaints (if any)
  • Complaint management and dispute resolution measures

5. Details for the contact person in the Kingdom of Thailand (for DP service operators based outside the Kingdom of Thailand)

6. Consent letter allowing the ETDA access to the information specified herein

2.3 Annual reports

DP operators are required to submit an annual report to the ETDA. Natural persons must report on the final day of the calendar year; juristic entities report six days prior to the close of their financial year.

Any modifications to the details listed above must be included in the report to the ETDA.

2.4 Review and disclosure of terms and conditions

A further key stipulation of the Royal Decree is that the ETDA has the authority to mandate DP service operators to disclose specific information related to their services to ensure transparency. This might necessitate those affected operators to amend their terms and conditions.

2.5 Overseas operators

The Royal Decree on Operational Digital Platforms provides for extraterritorial scope where an overseas DP service operator intends to provide services to residents of Thailand.

If an overseas DP service meets any of the following conditions, it will be deemed as providing services in Thailand:

  1. The DP is displayed wholly or partially in the Thai language.
  2. The DP uses a Thai internet domain.
  3. The DP accepts Thai currency.
  4. Thai laws govern transactions on the DP, or there is a requirement that transactions be under the jurisdiction of a Thai court.
  5. The overseas DP service employs search engine optimisation so that the platform will be found specifically by residents of Thailand.
  6. The overseas DP service has a customer support centre in Thailand (in the form of either an office, entity, or personnel).
  7. Other criteria as prescribed by ETDA

Appointment of domestic liaison

An overseas DP service operator who meets any of the criteria listed above must appoint an agent based in Thailand that can represent it without limitation of liability.

3. Breaches of compliance

If a DP operator fails to comply with the regulations outlined in the Royal Decree, the following penalties may apply:

3.1 Suspension of business

The ETDA has the authority to mandate a halt in operations until any discrepancies are rectified. If the issues are not addressed within 90 days from the issuance of this directive, it can result in the withdrawal of the business operator’s notification.

3.2 Criminal liability

Failure to inform the ETDA about the functions of a DP service or not adhering to a suspension order from the ETDA can lead to criminal penalties of imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to THB 100,000, or both. If the offending party is a corporate entity, its board members, managerial staff, and any other individuals accountable for the breach may also face penalties.

4. How to notify the ETDA

There are two ways for DP service operators to notify the ETDA and comply with the regulations: in person and online.

The ETDA’s website hosts the online notification system for DP service operators. The system includes a directory of DP services that fall under the notification obligations of the Royal Decree, and it is advisable to review this directory to confirm how platforms are defined. Additionally, the system provides representative case examples of both domestic and international regulated digital platforms.

5. Key takeaways

As the 18 November deadline for full-form notification is approaching, qualifying DP operators should immediately begin to prepare the information for the ETDA. Given that this Royal Decree is the inaugural legislation targeting the management of both domestic and international DP services, it is safe to assume the Thai authorities will be especially diligent. It is, therefore, imperative for platform operators to vigilantly track the legislation’s interpretation and application.

For more information or assistance with completing your notification, please contact us.

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About Acclime Thailand.

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