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Small Business Opportunities in Thailand

March 14, 2014 | Valerie Wong

Thailand is full of small business opportunities. If you wish to establish a moneymaking venture in the Kingdom of Thailand, the first thing you need to do in order to maximize your chances for success is localization. English is fine, but learning the language and culture is even better. Your business should also reflect some sort of panache to it that makes it both foreign and local at the same time. It's a difficult balancing act. Thais are willing to try out foreign food or goods for the novelty, but you also need to adapt to their specific tastes and sensibilities in order to win them over with whatever it is you're selling.

Other Issues to Consider

In order to find small business opportunities in Thailand, you need to take advantage of the fact that the Kingdom has a fair, prosperous lifestyle that enables foreigners like yourself to have their foot in the proverbial door when it comes to possible business ventures. There are chances galore here in Thailand, the recent political upheaval notwithstanding. You can either become a foreign entrepreneur or serve as an expatriate investor on one of Thailand's local brands. There are pros and cons for both options. As an entrepreneur, you're obviously the boss and more profits go to you. However, you'll still need to partner with a local business.

It's highly recommended for foreigners who intend to begin their own startup to setup shop with their VISA and paperwork taken care of. Legalities should be smoothened out. Marketing is best handled by locals and people who have experience when it comes to dealing with the people of Thailand, since who better to know what Thais want than their fellow Thais? The opportunities for small business in Thailand include textile and manufacturing, the food industry, and the burgeoning ecommerce field. Of the three, ecommerce is the most promising and cost-effective. You can now make a comfortable living selling goods and services online.

Things of Note that a Foreign Entrepreneur Must Go Through

You should abide by the laws set forth by the Kingdom. There are also quite a few caveats to take note of when jumpstarting your small business as a foreigner, chief among them the fact that if you're not American, you can't own your own company that you're setting up in Thailand. You must have a Thai business partner or be part of an already existing Thailand company in order to invest or become an entrepreneur in this ASEAN country. For Americans, thanks to the U.S. Treaty of Amity, their challenge instead is to set up shop that would penetrate deep into the Thailand market.

Regardless, having some sort of local partner (whether an individual or business entity), whether they're in charge of finances or marketing (third party or part of your company itself) is a must if you want to survive the conservative ins and outs of Thailand. Just as in the U.S., you need to observe cultural differences, correct Standards & Practices, and other issues (such as their attitude towards firearms or parodying religion), so too must you go through a crash course in Thailand culture (traditional beliefs in ancestral and natural spirits, a love for Muay Thai) in order for you to avoid faux pas that could have your business shut down in a heartbeat.

Do you wish to build a business in the Kingdom of Thailand? Servcorp can assist you out with that endeavor with its virtual office and corporate registration services. The company is one of the most dependable organizations out there in terms of Thai startups.