Business in Thailand: The Kingdom of Opportunity

On July 15, 2021, at 11 am GMT +3, the Worldwide Business Alliance of Russian-speaking Women held a discussion over a cup of morning coffee on topical issues of international partnership.

The central topic of the online meeting is "Thailand: The Kingdom of Opportunity", which was covered in detail by Evgeny Zhukovets, founder and CEO at the international technology company Trizeri, as well as head of foreign economic activity (FEA) in Thailand and business Education of the Worldwide Business Alliance.

Eastern Economic Corridor in Asia

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development lies at the heart of Thailand's 4.0 scheme. The EEC is an area-based development initiative, aiming to revitalize the well-known Eastern Seaboard where, for 30 years, numerous business developers have experienced a rewarding investment journey and exceptional achievements. The EEC project initially focused on the 3 Eastern provinces, namely Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao.

Economy Thai Overview 2021

Thailand’s GDP in 2020 registered a contraction of 6.1%, the worst since the 7.6% decline in the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis. In 2021, SCB EIC anticipates a growth of 2.2%. On June 24, 2021, The Bank of Thailand (BoT) slashed the country's economic growth forecast again for this year to 1.8%.

Think Resilience, Think Thailand ‧ BOI

Thailand Board of Investment is a government agency under the Office of the Prime Minister. Introduction to the BOI:
  • Grants Investment Incentives
  • Provides Business Support Services for Investors
  • Coordinates between the foreign business community and other public agencies
  • Provides comprehensive information and advice on establishing operations
  • in Thailand

BOI’s Investment Incentives

BOI offers investors highly competitive investment tax incentives and non-tax incentives.

Tax incentives:
  • Corporate income tax (CIT) exemption
  • 50% reduction of corporate income tax after the expiry of the tax exemption period
  • 50% CIT reduction within 10 years*
  • Investment Tax Allowance (ITA)*
  • Exemption of import duties on machinery
  • Exemption of import duties on raw materials (used in the manufacture of export and for R&D purposes)
*in case of no CIT exemption

Non-tax incentives:
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • Land ownership rights
  • Work permit & visa facilitation (for Top management and experts)
  • No restriction on foreign currency

BOI Investment Incentive Scheme

Standard incentives:
  • The Activity-based is under 8 years CIT exemption
  • The Technology-based - 10 years CIT exemption
Additional incentives:

  • Research & Development (R&D)
  • Support academic / research institutes, or technology and human resource development fund
  • IP licensing fee
  • Advanced technology training
  • Development of local suppliers
  • Product and packaging design
  • EEC 3 provinces
  • SEZ 10 provinces
  • Southern border provinces 20 provinces with the lowest income
  • Industrial Estates / Zones
  • Science and Technology Parks (Thailand Science Park, Food Innopolis, Space Renovation Park)
  • Investment Stimulation Measure
  • Productivity Enhancement Measure
  • Measures to support Grassroots Economy Development

Smart VISA in Thailand

Smart Visa is a new type of visa specially designed to attract highly skilled manpower, investors, executives, and startups entrepreneurs wishing to work or invest in the following targeted industries in the Kingdom of Thailand. Smart Visa holders will be granted a maximum of 4-year permission to stay, exemption from the work permit requirement, and entitled to additional privileges.

The following categories of Smart Visa will be allocated to Smart Visa applicants, depending on the purpose or activity that foreigners wish to conduct in the Kingdom of Thailand:
  • Smart T (Talent) is a highly qualified specialists in the target industries
  • Smart E (Executive) is a senior executives in technology-based companies in the targeted industries
  • Smart I (Investor) is an investors in the technology-based business in the targeted industries
  • Smart S (Startup) is a technology-based startup entrepreneurs in the targeted industries
  • Smart O (Other) is referring to the legal dependents, spouse,s and children of the main Smart Visa holders to live and work in Thailand equivalent to Smart Visa holders.
The most popular SMART Visa privileges ranking:
  • Permission to work without a permit
  • Exemption from 4:1 employment ratio
  • Maximum 4 years Visa to be collected in Thailand
  • The 90-day report becomes a 1-year report
  • Fast track service at international airports

The Magic Touch of the Unicorns

StartupThailand is the Thai government-supporting platform for startups under the policy of the National Startup Committee.

Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand

The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand is the umbrella body for various Thai- foreign chambers or business associations operating in Thailand. There are 34 chambers and business associations representing more than 9,000 companies in this wide membership.

Smart City Thailand

A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect data. Smart City Thailand include:
  • Smart Environment: minimizing environmental impacts from urban living.
  • Smart Economy: using digital technology to create added value to the economy.
  • Smart Mobility: developing connected and environment-friendly transportation systems.
  • Smart Energy: enhancing energy management efficiency.
  • Smart People: facilitating life-long learning opportunities for residents.
  • Smart Living: maximizing the health, safety, and quality of life of residents.
  • Smart Governance: improving people’s trust in public services.
To date, the Smart-City Development Steering Committee has received proposals for evaluation from 39 cities across the country, out of which ten cities have already been approved in seven provinces, namely Bangkok, Phuket, Kon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao. The DEPA targets achieving 100 smart cities spread across all of the country’s 76 provinces by 2022.

E-commerce and Banking in Thailand

  • 81.6% of Thais have an account in a financial institution
  • 83.6% buy goods online (any devices)
  • 9.08 billion dollars the total annual cost of consumer payments with digital technology support
  • 361 dollars the average cost of an annual transaction per user
Beginning with Project Inthanon, conducted during 2018- 2020 in collaboration with leading financial institutions, the Bank of Thailand created a proof-of-concept wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) prototype using distributed ledger technology in different use cases, ranging from enabling automated regulatory compliance processes to tackling high fees in cross- border payments. In late 2020, the CBDC work was extended to the corporate level to explore how CBDC can be used for innovative business applications, such as invoice financing and conditional payments.

5G in Thailand

Thailand, which has already made a significant investment in its digital ecosystem, including by taking the lead in ASEAN in building a 5G infrastructure, has long attracted investment from around the world in the electronics sector, with a promotion policy that covers the entire supply chain. Thailand is currently the 13th largest exporter in the world for electronic products and parts.

Green Cannabis Rush in Thailand

Thailand was the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize marijuana for medical use and research in 2017. Thailand's cannabis industry could be worth $682 million by 2024. For the foreign investor, his limitations and restrictions regarding Thai cannabis ventures are essential parameters. A cardinal issue is the maximum foreign participation which might be limited at 33%.

Crypto World and ICO in Thailand

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Friday the details of the country’s cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) regulations. The measures were approved at the regulator’s June 2018.

The SEC allows seven cryptocurrencies, used for initial coin offerings (ICOs), to be traded as trading pairs. They are bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, litecoin, ripple, and stellar.

Crypto accounts in Thailand have grown from 160,000 accounts last year (2020) to 700,000 this year (2021). As of April 26, Thailand has 12 licensed digital asset intermediaries in operation, including four ICO portals. There are currently a total of 697,780 digital trading accounts registered with the local exchanges.

Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) announced local digital exchanges must verify their customers' identities through a "dip-chip" machine that requires clients to be physically present. The dip-chip requirement comes into effect in September 2021.

Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) in Thailand

Effective on May 9, 2021, the Royal Thai Government Gazette has published the official postponement of the enforcement of the Thailand Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) (PDPA) to June 1, 2022.

Thailand’s PDPA was originally scheduled to come into effect on June 1, 2021. The PDPA is considered the first local law designed to govern data protection in the digital age. It is comparable to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Key aspects of the PDPA include data processing, data collection, data storage, and data consent protocols.

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