Setting Up a Business in Thailand? What you Need to Know

Many westerners come to the Land of Smiles for a holiday and are instantly smitten and who could blame them? Thailand has it all; tropical beaches, a bounty of fruit and vegetables, yet it is the colourful and unique Thai culture that captivates most travellers and if you are planning to set up a business in Thailand, here are a few tips.

  • Business Registration – Of course, you must comply with local laws when opening a business; there are some sectors that foreigners are prohibited from entering, such as rice farming and fishing, so you are advised to contact a Bangkok-based law firm that facilitates foreign business registration and they can advise you accordingly.
  • Thai Partner – In order to register a limited company, you must have a Thai (or Thais) that own at least 51% of the company. If you have a Thai partner, they would be the obvious person for this, otherwise the law firm can find a suitable nominee.
  • Insurances – Check out the amazing packages with Pacific Cross health insurance, where you can get instant cover and while on the subject of insurance, every business should have some public liability insurance.
  • English Speaking Lawyer – This is an absolute must for any foreigner who is contemplating setting up a business in Thailand and the lawyer can advise you on the type of business to register, can facilitate working visas and also check any property lease contracts. If you’re planning to hire local people, you also need to be aware of the Thai labour laws, which are very complex.
  • Thai Board of Investment – The BOI offers many incentives to the foreign investor and you are advised to read through the information to determine whether or not your business qualifies. It all depends on how much capital you are willing to invest in Thailand and your lawyer can certainly help in this regard.
  • Understanding Thai Culture – This might be a real eye opener, especially for a westerner who is used to speaking their mind and adopting a direct approach. The Thais have their own way of doing things and while it might not be ideal, there are times when a little lubrication is needed to oil the machine, if you get my drift! Paying under the table to speed up a process is pretty much the norm in most Asian countries and Thailand is no exception. Going to school to learn about the culture will be beneficial to you and your business.
  • Learn to Speak Thai – If you are planning to settle in Thailand, learning the language is a must! It can be difficult for a westerner to master (Thai is a phonetic language) but you will gain a valuable insight into Thai people if you can speak the language. One of the important aspects of learning a new language is free practice and in Thailand, that is never an issue; you can strike up a conversation with the Thais you meet and this always is received warmly by the locals.

While there is a lot of red tape when setting up a business in Thailand, with the help of an English-speaking lawyer, everything can be arranged and you can launch your new business.