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How to Start a Business in Thailand

How to Start and Run a Business in Thailand - old thai market

Thailand is a different kind of business environment from what you may be used to.

Today’s article comes courtesy of Flowers Thailand

A lot of people want to set up a business abroad. Because Thailand is such a beautiful country, they consider Thailand a good location. However, it is important to know plus understand the Thai culture and business, not in the least because it is actually quite hard to set up a legal business in Thailand. [Editor's note: Check out our article on the most profitable Thai imports] A lot of people have the feeling that foreign investors are not particularly welcome in Thai culture and business. This isn’t entirely true, but there are certainly a lot of hoops you have to go through if you want to set up a business in Thailand and do it legally. Let’s take a look.


Firstly, you need quite a lot of cash behind you. You must have at least 2 million baht, which is around US $60,000, if you want to open a legal and registered company. Also, you will only be able to have a single work permit for every four Thai members of staff. Before you apply for a work permit, you must have a business visa as well. Strangely enough, this means you have to travel out of the country and then come back in. It’s complicated, but that is simply part of the Thai culture and business rules.

Work Permits 

The immigration department deals with visa and work permit applications and this department is very badly organized, so be prepared for some headaches. You also have to be able to meet a minimum wage. Strangely enough, the minimum wage depends on your nationality. The hardest part, however, is that as an investor, you cannot own more than 49% of the shares in the company. This means you have to work together with a local investor, who will own 51% of the company. Basically, the process can be challenging, but in fairness, it is to protect their own local economy.

Florist, Bars and Tours

Most foreigners head to the Thai tourist areas and start a bar or a restaurant. Most bars in Thailand fail due to the local culture of corruption. There are many bribes required, or the police will hound you till you give up. After saying that there are many successful examples–from tour companies that conduct tours to the tiger temples, war memorials, and botanical gardens to night clubs, and in the capital, lawyers and florists in Bangkok which have great websites that you can check out as examples.

For many, Thailand has a very bad name in terms of starting up businesses. The problem with this is that it is based on a misunderstanding of Thai culture and business processes. As a result, however, foreign companies may be reluctant to work with you, based solely on the fact that you are located in Thailand. Hence, it is very important that you are also heavily involved in marketing your company and you must consider trading with companies within Thailand or other parts of South East Asia if you want to have a successful business. It can certainly be done and if you manage, you will find it a very rewarding experience. You must, however, enter into this type of agreement with both feet planted firmly on the ground to avoid disappointment and unnecessary stress. Do your research and have a good business plan in place.

Many people come undone when investing in businesses abroad as they do not understand the local culture of the destination country. You need more than a good lawyer to set up your new company in Thailand, you need personal understanding of Thai-ness.

About the Author

Flowers Thailand understands the level of service international clients expect. Ordering flowers online with Flowers Thailand lets you send flowers anywhere in Thailand. The company has flower shops and florists in all cities throughout Thailand.


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Author:Globial International Business Team

The Globial International Business Team researches, analyzes, and reports on all things related to global trade and business.


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