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​​​KASIKORNBANK (KBank) has set up KASIKORN BUSINESS-TECHNOLOGY GROUP (KBTG), which will act as a developer and also work in partnership with FinTech FIRMS and tech-startups to explore FINANCIAL innovations, aimed at enhancing competitiveness amid changes in global FINANCIAL technology. KBank has also set aside THB5 billion annually to develop new information technologies in the hope of offering more comprehensive FINANCIAL services to customers. The company has projected that its digital banking transactions will increase to the tune of 7,900 million per year, valued at around THB30 trillion.


Mr. Banthoon Lamsam, Chairman and Chief Executive OFFICER of KBank said that changes in the digital world have been rapid, especially the proliferation of smartphones, which allows people to conduct various transactions more conveniently than ever before. Based on the data compiled by KBank, the number of its digital banking transactions via mobile phones and internet leapfrogged from 168 million in 2011 to 1,135 million in 2015 and the FIGURE is projected to reach 7,900 million over the next FIVE

years, or 2020. Additionally, the number of financial transactions at KBank branches increased from 166 million in 2011 to 188 million in 2015; but the figure may decline to perhaps 153 million in 2020. The value of digital banking transactions surged from THB900 billion in 2011 to some THB 4 trillion in 2015, and the figure is projected to grow 10 folds to THB30 trillion by 2020. 


The rapid growth in global digital banking transactions has necessitated FINANCIAL institutions and other sectors to develop FINANCIAL technology (FinTech) that will offer the most cost-effective FINANCIAL services. Therefore, changes in FINANCIAL technology along with the emergence of FINTECH FIRMS and tech startups, which incorporate the latest innovations in financial services, will offer improved convenience for customers. This will be an important factor helping spur innovations in the global FINANCIAL market. These FINANCIAL innovations should be able to facilitate rapidly changing customer needs and increasingly rising expectations of FINANCIAL services in the global digital world. These factors will inevitably shape the business sector overall.


KBank, as the digital banking leader with a market share of around 50 percent, is readying for future changes and challenges by establishing KBTG, with the aim of boosting IT management and service EFFICIENCY, enhancing competitiveness amid global FinTech transitions, while maintaining business leadership. Each year, the Bank allocates approximately 10 percent of its net PROFITS, or 4 billion Baht, to the IT budget, of which 1-2 percent, or 1 billion Baht, is earmarked for innovative developments.


Mr. Teeranun Srihong, KBank President, has been appointed Chairman of KBTG for synergy in management with the Bank’s Board of Directors, maintaining EFFICIENT and seamless teamwork with KBank’s internal business units and IT partners, while Mr. Somkid Jiranuntarat, KBank Executive Vice President, has been appointed Vice Chairman. The group comprises FIVE wholly-owned companies of KBank, as follows:


KASIKORN TECHNOLOGY GROUP SECRETARIAT provides FINANCIAL and human resource planning, monitoring and support for KBTG, while facilitating team cooperation between KBTG and KBank. KASIKORN LABS innovates new business technologies and platforms useful for the digital banking and economy, including building and testing exemplary systems for streamlining KBank products.


KASIKORN SOFT designs and creates IT systems that match business demand and promote innovation use at KBank, to maintain quality operations which meet the requirements of a fast changing digital environment. KASIKORN PRO ensures that the Bank uses modern and EFFICIENT IT infrastructures and systems. Lastly, KASIKORN SERVE operates to support the entire group, in terms of IT system development, systems testing and operations.


Strategic direction of KBTG comprises technology utilization in order to improve the Bank’s EFFICIENCY and effectiveness, while improving customer service and increasing customer satisfaction, e.g. developing mobile banking and introducing an omni-channel model. Moreover, technology must be deployed to reduce operating time and costs and to provide end-to-end services that would create a disruptive force within the industry. There is also IT usage in FINANCIAL services in order to expand to new markets, and to jump into NON-FINANCIAL services, e.g. digital marketing. In addition, FINANCIAL and NON-FINANCIAL services are offered to support startups.


Over the next FIVE years, KBTG plans to focus on the following areas: 1. Internet of Things (IoT) – technology that enhances connection and communication between devices and tools, e.g., mobile phones, cars, fridges, etc., via the internet; 2. World-class Design – product and service design in the new era based on the User Experience Design (UXD) concept; 3. Application Programming Interface (API) – programs, instructions or channels enabling connection between two different software, as well as connecting applications with websites and operating systems, for the purposes of accessing information or exchanging information between applications.


4. Advanced mobile programming - a future technological trend that can maximize convenience for users; 5. Blockchain - a technology that is widely popular in the FINANCIAL business because it is not only an important foundation for digital money, e.g., Bitcoin, which has already been used extensively, but blockchain is also believed by many FINANCIAL and NON-FINANCIAL companies as a technology that offers other BENEFITS, e.g., reducing costs and increasing cross-border settlement EFFICIENCY that can be VERIFIED; and 6. Machine learning - a computer programming that evolved from pattern recognition or previous actions based on ARTIFICIAL intelligence or learning from example or analogy.


Through laboratory work, KBTG will cooperate with Tech Giant – a major IT FIRM - to initiate innovations, while playing a major role in response to FinTech business and tech startups, with fertile grounds for new ideas and innovative development capability. Technological enhancement and joint ventures will be offered up for technology-based business expansions. BENEFICIAL innovations, created by these high-tech FIRMS will also be applied to KBank’s product and service development wing for improved customer service. With KBTG, customers will be afforded opportunities to access more funding sources and broader markets, such as the Bank’s SME and retail customers.  Moreover, KBank possesses provides a SIGNIFICANT element supportive to tech startups' business operations, which is offering solid IT Infrastructure that provides ensures exceptional security, so that they have greater potential to rapidly develop and broaden their innovations rapidly in the future.


Mr. Banthoon added that the management approach and characteristics of human resources in the banking and IT industries are quite different. Therefore, KBTG was established independently for swift management, ensuring that the group will be able to cultivate its own environment and unique organizational culture so that it attracts IT-savvy personnel to join the organization. Once recruited, KBTG employees will be stationed at KBTG Building—KBank's new        11-storey building with OFFICE space designs, aimed at accommodating operations that require creativity and innovative ideas.


KBTG is determined to be a key mechanism in in developing Thailand's digital economy, and driving KBank to become the market leader in providing comprehensive digital banking solutions, as well as facilitating tech startups' operations. This means that KBTG will act as a strategic partner, investor, and customer, depending on innovations required to FULFILL existing gaps, which will lead to enhancing startups' sustainable growth and success. Additionally, KBTG is eager to support the government and the Bank of Thailand's National e-Payment Master Plan policy, which enables should enable Thais to adapt integrated electronics systems to their everyday reality. Besides more convenient and speedy services, consumers will be able to cut costs associated with carrying cash and enjoy lower fees from electric bill payment schemes. At the same time, vendors will be able to save up on costs from cash and cheque management, and also in printing and delivering tax invoices. New technology and innovations will SIGNIFICANTLY bring down FINANCIAL management costs SIGNIFICANTLY, while increasingly facilitating increasingly more convenient services for customers in the digital world.