An article in the Bangkok Post has quoted industry figures in Thailand saying that the animation and graphics ‘industry’ needs government support.

”Policymakers should realise that animation and the CG industry could generate lucrative income to the country,”
”It is a value-creation industry, which needs only ideas and creativity. It is not harmful to anybody and does not cause global warming,”

….Santi Laohaburanakit, the vice-chairman of the Thailand Animation and Computer Graphics Association told investors and fund managers at the Thailand Focus 2007 investor conference yesterday.

Calls for government assistance come despite the fact that the industry has grown by 40 percent in the last year.

It may seem strange for a high growth industry to be asking for government support, but it not all that uncommon. Industries – particularly newer industries – lobbying for assistance generally first need to show politicians how ‘valuable’ their industry is in terms of how much it contributes to the economy (income and jobs), and what its growth potential is. The second prong is then to identify that growth could be much higher if certain policy provisions were implemented. Here, it is also important to mention the potential for increased exports. A common strategy is to point out a similar industry that is receiving favourable conditions and argue that one’s own industry is facing discrimination. Finally, lobbyists will invariably point to other nations in the region indicating to their own government that foreign states are providing more favourable environments and may well gain a competitive advantage over the home country.

”Unfortunately, many Thai policymakers have not seen this opportunity, unlike [those in] South Korea or Singapore,”

”Without a national policy, Thailand can lag behind Singapore and Malaysia.”

”I would say that the value could multiply by 10 times over the next five years if we receive a strong commitment from the government,” Mr Santi said.

…which is a monstrous target. Digital Content industry players in Australia were aiming to double industry size in 10 years (7% growth per year) but then that all is relative to the respective starting size and maturity of the industries.

Finally the author of the article has added some supporting statistics:

Based on a Kenan Institute report, South Korea’s online game industry is now worth more than $4 billion. The global market is estimated at $101 billion, more than 80% of which is controlled by American and Japanese companies.

According to the association, animation and computer graphics in Thailand can be categorised into three segments: animation for TV and cinemas, valued at $41 million last year; digital gaming worth $41 million; and visual effects and computer graphics worth $33 million.