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Tips for Starting a New Business in Thailand

November 28, 2013 | Valerie Wong

You may have visited Thailand, or live there permanently and may have thought about starting a business. This is definitely possible, as under Thai law, foreigners may now own most kinds of businesses. 

In fact, many foreigners have come to South East Asian countries, including Thailand, and set up businesses that have prospered over the years. You will just need to have the right information before you start your project. Just like anywhere else in the world, research and careful planning related to your new enterprise can mean the difference between a business that is just getting by and one that is highly profitable and expanding at a fast rate. 

Here are a couple of things to consider for anybody who wants to start a new business in the country: 

Be Aware of All the Regulations 

Starting a business in Thailand involves procedures that may vary from what you have experienced in your country of origin. There are specific documents that would need to be submitted, along with certain fees paid to various government agencies before you can start operating your business. Once the business starts, you will also have certain requirements to comply with, such as filing a corporate income tax return and keeping detailed balance sheets. For some categories of businesses, you may need additional permits issued by the government before you can begin your operations. 

As a business owner, you should do the required research to ensure that your business will comply with all applicable regulations. Contrary to what you might think, navigating the bureaucratic requirements isn't that complicated once you have gotten used to it. 

The Business Landscape May Change, So Think About the Future 

One of the greatest qualities that a business leader can have is the ability to predict how things will go for their company several years down the road, and what actions they can take to keep their business competitive despite a changing landscape. 

Having this quality is quite important, especially in the “newer” industries, such as technology solutions or online marketing services. While the type of product or service that you're selling now may be quite popular, a rapidly evolving industry means that this could change in the future. You must have the capability to stay ahead of the curve and implement changes that will keep your company profitable in the long run. 

Know Your Target Market

Will your business be mainly selling its products to foreign visitors, such as tourists, or to locals? In both cases, you should do some research to find out who your target market is composed of and what these people would expect from a business in your category. 

Selling your products to locals may seem like a challenge, but it is quite easy once you get some local business partners and knowledge of the market. Remember that Thailand has a growing middle class and that the country's economy has significantly improved in the last decade, which has led to growing local demand for items such as electronics and brand-name clothing items. Furthermore, as local entrepreneurship is on the rise, you can find a larger demand for business to business services, such as IT consulting, corporate finance and online marketing services. 

If you're interested in starting a business in Thailand, Servcorp can help you register your company. Take a look at their Thailand business registration website found here. For more information on the registration process, as well as many other services that Servcorp provides to expat entrepreneurs coming to do business in South East Asia.