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Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank to launch online travel app

BANGKOK, May 24 (Reuters) - Thailand’s oldest lender, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB), said on Monday it plans to launch a hotel booking application next year that does not charge hospitality operators a gross profit fee.

The bank said it would launch the app, “Zero GP OTA”, to assist small and medium-sized hotel entrepreneurs to reduce their online travel agency (OTA) costs.

“The new platform is scheduled to roll out early next year when the COVID-19 situation begins to abate and tourism rebounds,” SCB said in a statement.

The move comes after SCB, the country’s fourth-largest lender by assets, announced a joint venture with Indonesian travel startup, Traveloka, last month to offer financial services to Thai customers.

Thai banks have been investing in new digital technologies and services as they face growing competition from financial technology and payment startups like ride-hailer, Grab.

SCB’s “Zero GP OTA” will build on its food delivery service, Robinhood, which was launched last year amid a surge in demand for food deliveries amid lockdowns triggered by the pandemic.

Robinhood has 90,000 merchants and 15,000 delivery drives, SCB says.

“The platform and the support of more than one million Robinhood users will help hoteliers,” said Thana Thienachariya, chairman of Purple Ventures, the bank’s e-marketplace unit. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng Editing by Ed Davies)

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