Previously we discussed the basics of opening a business in Thailand for foreigners. The comments which followed were greatly received and hope they are answered in this article. This is an ongoing contribution that looks at the ups and downs of Business in Thailand for foreign startups and hopes to give insight into the working culture, economic landscape and investment with an eye for the tech industry specifically.
The best advice is to do your research as much as possible. What is it that you want to achieve? Invest in a startup? build your own online business? or create a concrete brick and mortar original business? The more specific you are in terms of the industry you choose, the easier it will be.
As an ecosystem, Thailand is strengthening considerably with government investment and entrepreneurial ventures being pursued. In terms of a foreigner coming into the country, it is more than welcomed and needed in this current climate. However, if you are looking for investment in terms of VC capital then the majority is still restricted to Thai's mainly, which makes sense. However, there is still a chance for foreigners.
If you are looking for tech talent or have a tech idea to bring to the table then Bangkok is the place. There is such a large Thai tech startup scene backed by government funding and increased global awareness, now is the time to bring your ideas, collaborations, time and energy to this exciting, developing market.
In terms of BOI in Thailand, complete foreign ownership is still not completely possible and consists of partnerships and limited companies that will require Thai collaborations.
The best businesses for foreigners to get involved in is Language schools, Marketing, Tech and online businesses, while tourism is always a safe industry, however slightly saturated) it can be very prosperous.
From personal experience, as someone who is in Thailand at the moment and has opened a private limited company with silent partners gained clients in Thailand and further afield in the area of marketing, it hasn't been easy. However, the culture is perfect for creativity, collaborations, and flourishing entrepreneurs as there is a more relaxed vibe here than in the west, where it is more of a fast-paced, rushed, extremely competitive and saturated market with more bureaucracy.
Please comment and give feedback on more information that you would like from this article series as we continue to look at foreign startups/ businesses in Thailand.
For more information on legalities please check out the Thailand Board of Investment page.