Being a foreigner in Thailand is hard enough with such strong cultural barriers to navigate through, throw business in the mix and you have a real challenge on your hands.
However, it can be a lot of fun as it is such a forward-thinking and progressive nation. The development that which Thailand is progressing with government funding and foreign investment for start-ups specifically is increasing at an accelerated rate.
If you are considering opening a business in Thailand, you first need to scope out the landscape of your chosen industry.
Who are your competitors?
Is this service being provided already and what can you offer that is different?
Is it needed and will it be beneficial to the local and wider community?
It’s crucial to come to Thailand and immerse yourself in the country for a while to truly understand the working culture, how things operate and to make some valued friends (as they will be able to help you with the legalities of the whole process).
Finding a lawyer and accountant is also a tricky process to navigate through as you must make sure they don’t overcharge you or scam you in any way.
The best kind of lawyer is one that understands foreigners and foreign ways of doing business as the merging of cultures need to be incorporated well for everyone to be content and understood.
You will need trusted Thai friends to be part of the company as you will never own the full rights to the company. The ratio as it stands is 51% owned by Thai and 49% owned by the foreigner. This will likely not change and nor should it, however, it is something that a foreigner should take into consideration and fully understand.
There is a lot of paperwork to process which can be a headache, but it is so worth it if you want to experience the freedom, security and stability that it will give you here in Thailand.
A good accountant will make the whole process as painless as possible. Another upside is the tax you pay is considerably lower than that of any westernised country which is a bonus. You will take home the vast majority of your profits!
Working with Thai’s is a lot of fun and they are, contrary to popular belief a hardworking bunch, with 6-day work weeks being the norm, as well as pushing forward industries in innovative, creative ways.
Thailand is also a great base for the rest of Asia. This continent is very intertwined, with the emergence of ASEAN strengthening economic and business links, opening doors to endless amounts of opportunities and networks.
Keeping an open mind, the awareness that it may not work out and a ton of effort will ensure that your business can soar, while enjoying the gorgeous kingdom of Thailand.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of "The Trials and Tribulations"...