Invest in Thailand

What You Need to Know About? Setting up a Business in Thailand?

The following is an overview of establishing a business in Thailand.

As in most countries, there are three kinds of business organizations in Thailand: Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and limited companies. The most popular form of business organization among foreign investors is the private limited company.?

Private limited companies require a minimum of seven promoters and must file a memorandum of association, convene a statutory meeting, register the company, and obtain a company income tax identity card. They must also follow accounting procedures specified in the Civil and Commercial code,the Revenue Code and the Accounts Act. A balance sheet must be prepared once a year and filed with the Department of Revenue and Commercial Registration. In addition, companies are required to withhold income tax from the salary of all regular employees.?

The Ministry of Industry administers The Factory Act, which governs factory construction and operation, as well as safety and pollution-control requirements. In some cases, factories do not require licenses, in other instances the requirement is simply to notify officials in advance of start-up, and in some cases licenses are required prior to commencing operations. Licenses are valid for five years, and are renewable.?

Thailand recognizes three kinds of intellectual property rights: patents, trademarks, and copyrights.?

The Patent Act protects both inventions and product designs and pharmaceuticals.The Copyright Act protects literary, artistic works, and performance rights, by making it unlawful to reproduce or publish such works without the owner's permission. The Trademark Act governs registration of, and provides protection for, trademarks.?

The Alien Occupation Law requires all foreigners working in Thailand to obtain a Work Permit prior to starting work in the Kingdom, except when they are applying under the Investment Promotion Law, in which case they have 30 days to apply.?

Non-Immigrant visas provide the holder with eligibility to apply for a work permit, and allow the holder to work while the work permit application is being considered.?

Through the links below, you can learn more about topics such as industrial licensing, taxation, patents and trademarks, and the cost of doing business in Thailand. You can also find out about the status of Thai infrastructure, including facilities such as airports, deep sea ports, and highways, and the availability of power, water and telecommunications.?

In addition, there is a link to a page of statistics, which displays tables of utility, communications and labor costs, tax rates, information about air, sea, rail and road freight pricing, and information about availability and cost of land within industrial estates. Other charts and tables provide costs of establishing and running an office in Bangkok, and the results of a survey of expatriate living costs in Bangkok.?

This page also contains information about industrial production of selected products in Thailand, tables breaking down Thai imports and exports by product and a table displaying interest rate movements for the past 5 years.

By the time you have finished visiting all these pages, you will have a complete picture about the business climate in Thailand.

1. Procedures for Establishing a Company

1.1 Company Registration

1.1.1 Promoters

Company promoters are responsible for registering the company with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). The promoters must be individuals (not juristic persons) who are 20 years of age or older, and they must be available to sign documentation during the registration process. There must be a minimum of 3 promoters for a private limited company and at least 15 promoters for a public limited company.

Each of the promoters is required to hold a minimum of one share upon the company's registration. However, they are generally free to transfer those shares to existing shareholders or third parties, thereafter, if they wish. Promoters' potential legal liability is generally limited to the par value of the shares they will hold after registration is completed. The promoters are also responsible for paying expenses associated with the company's registration. After registration, however, the company may choose to reimburse the promoters for those expenses.

1.1.2 Timing

Registration of the company occurs at the MOC and can be accomplished on the same day as the registration of the memorandum of association provided that:

  1. All registered shares have been subscribed for;
  2. A statutory meeting is held to transact the business with the presence of all promoters and subscribers, and all promoters and subscribers have approved the transacted business;
  3. The promoters have handed over the business to the directors; and
  4. The payment of at least 25% of the total shares has been paid by the shareholders.

If the company falls under the definition of "foreign" (as defined in the Foreign Business Act (FBA)), it will normally be required to obtain Cabinet approval or a Foreign Business License prior to commencing operations.

Applying for and obtaining the company's tax ID card and VAT certificate (if required) takes place after registration with the MOC and can normally be accomplished within seven to 10 days of the date of providing all required information and documents to the Revenue Department.

1.1.3 Filings

All documents associated with the company's registration must be submitted to the registrar of the Department of Business Development of the MOC; or, if the company's office is to be located outside of Bangkok, they must be submitted to the filing office of the province where the office will be located.

All documents associated with the registration of the company's tax ID card and VAT certificate must be submitted to the Central Filing Office of the Revenue Department in Bangkok; or, if the company's office is to be located outside of Bangkok, documents must be submitted to the Revenue Office of the province where the office will be located.

1.2 Registration Process


1.2.1 Corporate Name Reservation

The first step of the company registration process is name reservation. To reserve a name, one of the promoters is required to submit a signed Name Reservation Form to the Department of Business Development of the MOC.


The promoter is required to supply the requested company name together with two alternative names. The registrar will then examine the application in order to ensure that:

a. No similar company names have previously been reserved; and

b. The names do not violate any ministerial rules.

If the applicant's intended name is in conflict with either of the above, that name will be rejected and the registrar will consider the alternative names submitted. This process can normally be completed within two to three days. If all three names submitted are rejected, the applicant will be required to re-submit the form with three new names.

The registrar has considerable discretion with regard to the matter of company names. Many times, the first name or even the first two names are rejected for violating one of the two rules stated above. Once the name is approved, the corporate name reservation is valid for 30 days, with no extensions.

1.2.2 Filing a Memorandum of Association

After the name reservation has been approved, the company's Memorandum of Association (MOA) must then be submitted. The MOA must include the name of the company, the province where the company will be located, the company's business objectives, the capital to be registered, and the names of the promoters. The capital information must include the number of shares and their par value. At the formation step, the authorized capital, although partly paid, must all be issued.
The memorandum registration fee is 50 baht per 100,000 baht of registered capital. The minimum fee is 500 baht and the maximum fee is 25,000 baht. Although there are no minimum capital requirements, the amount of capital should be respectable and adequate for the intended business operation. However, if the company falls under the definition of a foreign company, the following rules apply:

  • If the company engages in activities specified in the FBA, its minimum registered capital would be the greater of 25% of the company's average per year expenses for its first three years of operation and 3 million baht (exceptions apply) fully (100%) paid up.
  • If the company does not engage in activities specified in the FBA, its minimum registered capital would be 2 million baht fully (100%) paid up. If the company is to employ foreigners, other minimum registered capital requirements may also apply.
1.2.3 Convening a Statutory Meeting

Once the share structure has been defined, a statutory meeting is called, during which the articles of incorporation and bylaws are approved, the Board of Directors is elected, and an auditor is appointed. A minimum of 25% of the par value of each subscribed share must be paid for.

1.2.4 Registration

Within three months of the date of the statutory meeting, the directors must submit the application to establish the company. During the registration process, the promoters will be required to supply the name, license number, and remuneration of the auditor the company is planning to hire. The company registration fee is 500 baht per 100,000 baht of registered capital. The minimum fee is 5,000 baht and the maximum fee is 250,000 baht.

1.2.5 Registering for Tax Documents

Companies liable for income tax must obtain a tax ID card and number from the Revenue Department within 60 days of incorporation or the start of operations. Companies that have turnover in excess of 1.2 million baht must also register for VAT with the Revenue Department within 30 days of the date the annual turnover exceeded that threshold.

2. Accounting and Financial Reporting Requirements

2.1 Books of Accounts and Statutory Records

Companies must keep books and follow accounting procedures as specified in the Civil and Commercial Code, the Revenue Code, and the Accounts Act. Documents may be prepared in any language, provided that a Thai translation is attached. All accounting entries should be written in ink, typewritten, or printed. Specifically, Section 12 of the Accounts Act of 2000 provides rules on how accounts should be maintained:
"In keeping accounts, the person with the duty to keep accounts must hand over the documents required for making accounting entries to the bookkeeper correctly and completely, in order that the accounts so kept may show the results of operations, financial position according to facts and accounting standards."

2.2 Accounting Period

A newly established company should close accounts within 12 months of its registration. Thereafter, the accounts should be closed every 12 months. If a company wishes to change its accounting period, it must obtain written approval from the Director-General of the Revenue Department.

2.3 Reporting Requirements


All juristic companies, partnerships, branches of foreign companies, and joint ventures are required to prepare a financial statement for each accounting period. The financial statement must be audited by and subjected to the opinion of a certified auditor, with the exception of the financial statement of a registered partnership established under Thai law, whose total capital, assets, and income are not more than that prescribed in Ministerial Regulations. The performance record is to be certified by the company auditor, approved by shareholders, and filed with the Commercial Registration Department of the MOC and with the Revenue Department of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) within 150 days of the end of the fiscal year.

2.4 Accounting Principles

In general, the basic accounting principles practiced in the United States are accepted in Thailand, as are accounting methods and conventions sanctioned by law. The Institute of Certified Accountants and Auditors of Thailand is the authoritative group promoting the application of generally accepted accounting principles.

Any accounting method adopted by a company must be used consistently and may be changed only with approval of the Revenue Department. Certain accounting practices of note include:

Depreciation: The Revenue Code permits the use of varying depreciation rates according to the nature of the asset, which has the effect of depreciating the asset over a period that may be shorter than its estimated useful life. These maximum depreciation rates are not mandatory. A company may use a lower rate that approximates the estimated useful life of the asset. If a lower rate is used in the books of the accounts, the same rate must be used in the income tax return.

Accounting for Pension Plans: Contributions to a pension or provident fund are not deductible for tax purposes unless they are actually paid out to the employees, or if the fund is approved by the Revenue Department and managed by a licensed fund manager.

Consolidation: Local companies with either foreign or local subsidiaries are not required to consolidate their financial statements for tax and other government reporting purposes, except for listed companies, which must submit consolidated financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand .

Statutory Reserve: A statutory reserve of at least 5% of annual net profit arising from the business must be appropriated by the company at each distribution of dividends until the reserve reaches at least 10% of the company's authorized capital.

Stock Dividends: Stock dividends are taxable as ordinary dividends and may be declared only if there is an approved increase in authorized capital. The law requires the authorized capital to be subscribed in full by the shareholders.

2.5 Auditing Requirements and Standards

Audited financial statements of juristic entities (i.e. a limited company, registered partnership, branch, representative office, regional office of a foreign corporation, or joint venture) must be certified by an authorized auditor and be submitted to the Revenue Department and to the Commercial Registrar for each accounting year.

However, for a registered partnership with registered capital of less than five million baht, total revenue of no more than 30 million baht, and total assets of no more than 30 million baht, financial statements need only be submitted to the Revenue Department and not to the Commercial Registrar.
Auditing practices conforming to international standards are, for the most part, recognized and practiced by authorized auditors in Thailand.

3. Types of Business Organizations

Thailand recognizes three types of business organizations: partnerships, limited companies and joint ventures.

3.1 Partnerships

According to the Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), partnerships can be divided into 2 types:

  1. Ordinary Partnerships
  2. Limited Partnerships
3.1.1 Ordinary Partnership

In an ordinary partnership, all the partners are jointly and wholly liable for all obligations of the partnership. An ordinary partnership may or may not register as a juristic person. Therefore, an ordinary partnership can be divided into 2 types:

  1. Non-registered Ordinary Partnership - has no status as a juristic person and is treated, for tax purposes, as an individual.
  2. Registered Ordinary Partnership - is registered with the Commercial Registrar as a juristic person and is taxed as a corporate entity.


3.1.2 Limited Partnership

In a limited partnership, there are:


  1. One or more partners whose individual liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed to the partnership, or
  2. One or more partners who are jointly and wholly unlimitedly liable for all the obligations of the partnership.

Limited partnerships must be registered and are taxed as a corporate entity.

3.1.3 Partnership Registration

When two or more people agree to invest in one of the aforementioned types of partnership, the appointed managing partner is responsible for registering the partnership with the commercial registration office of the province that the head office of the partnership is located in. A limited partnership may only be managed by a partner with unlimited liability. The fee for registering a partnership is 1,000 baht for every 100,000 baht of registered capital. The minimum fee is 1,000 baht and the maximum fee is 5,000 baht.

3.2 Limited Companies

There are two types of limited companies: private limited companies and public limited companies. The first is governed by the Civil and Commercial Code and the second is governed by the Public Limited Company Act.

3.2.1 Private Limited Companies

Private Limited Companies in Thailand have basic characteristics similar to those of Western corporations. A private limited company is formed through a process that leads to the registration of a Memorandum of Association (Articles of Incorporation) and Articles of Association (By-laws) as its constitutive documents.

Shareholders enjoy limited liability, i.e. limited to the remaining unpaid amount, if any, of the par value of their shares. The liability of the directors, however, may be unlimited if stipulated as such in the company's MOA.

Limited companies are managed by a board of directors in accordance with the company's charter and by-laws. All shares must be subscribed to, and at least 25% of the subscribed shares must be paid up. Both common and preferred shares of stock may be issued, but all shares must have voting rights. Thai law prohibits the issuance of shares with a par value of less than five baht. Treasury shares are prohibited.

A minimum of three shareholders is required at all times. A private limited company may be wholly owned by foreigners. However, in those activities reserved for Thai nationals, foreigner participation is generally allowed up to a maximum of 49%. The registration fee for a private limited company is 5,500 baht per million baht of capital.

3.2.2 Public Limited Companies

Subject to compliance with the prospectus, approval, and other requirements, public limited companies registered in Thailand may offer shares, debentures, and warrants to the public and may apply to have their securities listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

Public limited companies are governed by the Public Limited Company Act B.E. 2535 (A.D. 1992), as amended by Public Limited Company Act No. 2 B.E. 2544 (A.D. 2001) and Public Limited Company Act No. 3 B.E. 2551 (A.D. 2008). The rules and regulations concerning the procedure of offering shares to the public is governed by the Securities and Exchange Act B.E. 2535 (A.D. 1992) and the amendments thereto, under the control of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All companies wishing to list their shares on the SET must obtain the approval of and file disclosure documents with the SEC, and then obtain SET approval to list their shares.

For public limited companies, there is no restriction on the transfer of shares (except to satisfy statutory or policy ceilings on foreign ownership); director's proxies are not allowed; circular board resolutions are not allowed; directors are elected by cumulative voting (unless the MOA provides otherwise); at least 50% of the directors must reside in Thailand; and board meetings must be held at least once every three months. Directors' liabilities are substantially increased.

A minimum of 15 promoters is required for the formation and registration of a public limited company, and the promoters must hold their shares for a minimum of two years before they can be transferred. The Board of Directors must have a minimum of five members, at least half of whom are Thai nationals. Shares must have a face value of at least five baht each and be fully paid up.

Restrictions on share transfers are unlawful, with the exception of those protecting the rights and benefits of the company as allowed by law and those maintaining the Thai/foreigner shareholder ratio. Debentures may only be issued with the approval of three quarters of the voting shareholders. The registration fee is 2,000 baht per million baht of registered capital.

3.2.3 Scrutinization of Thai Shareholders in Limited Companies

In 2006, the Commercial Registrar prescribed new rules for the registration of both public and private limited companies. The rules require that sources of investment by Thai nationals in the following two categories of new companies be scrutinized:

  1. A company in which foreigners hold between 40% and 50% of the shares.
  2. A company in which foreigners hold less than 40% of the shares but a foreigner is a director with the power to bind the company.

All Thai shareholders must disclose the source of their funds to the MOC.

An application for the incorporation of a limited company must now be accompanied by at least one of the following documents evidencing the source of funds of each Thai shareholder:

  • Copies of deposit passbooks or bank statements disclosing transactions over the past 6 months
  • A letter issued by a bank certifying the financial position of the shareholder
  • Copies of other documents evidencing the source of funds (i.e. loan documentation)
  • In addition, the MOC has issued internal guidelines in support of the rules, which set out the following matters:
  • The amounts shown in the documents of each Thai shareholder evidencing the source of funds must equal or exceed the amount of funds invested by that Thai shareholder.
  • The rules do not apply if a foreign national(s) has joint authority with a Thai national(s) to act on behalf of the limited company.

" Copies of deposit passbooks or bank statements disclosing transactions that are less than six months old may be submitted to the MOC provided that entries on at least one day identify a balance that is equal to or exceeds the funds invested by the relevant shareholder.
Thai shareholders must provide evidence of their sources of funds regardless of the value of their shares.

3.3 Other Forms of Corporate Presence

Branches of Foreign Companies

Foreign companies may carry out certain business in Thailand through a branch office. Branch offices are required to maintain accounts only relating to the branch in Thailand.

There is no special requirement for foreign companies to register their branches in order to do business in Thailand. However, most business activities fall within the scope of one or more laws or regulations which require special registration, either before or after the commencement of activities. Therefore, foreign business establishments must follow generally accepted procedures.

It should be borne in mind that the branch is part of the parent company and therefore the parent retains legal liability for contracts and for tortious acts done. For tax purposes, a branch is considered a permanent establishment, and its revenue is subject to Thai tax. It is important to clarify beforehand what constitutes income that is subject to Thai tax because the Revenue Department may consider revenue directly earned by the foreign head office from sources within Thailand to be subject to Thai tax.

A condition for approval of a Foreign Business License for a branch of a foreign corporation is that minimum capital amounting to no less than five million baht be brought into Thailand within four years of start-up. The branch may be allowed to operate for a period of five years, unless a shorter period is applied for. Extension of the original duration of the license to operate may be granted, provided that the working capital to be brought into Thailand requirement is met.

Representative Offices of Foreign Companies

Foreign companies may establish representative offices in Thailand. Such an entity is regarded as a service business within the meaning of Schedule 3 of the Foreign Business Act as such an application to establish such an entity is submitted to the Department of Commercial Registration. These offices cannot engage in any profit-seeking or profit-making enterprise. The scope of the activities must be limited to approved activities, otherwise significant Thai tax liabilities may arise. The risk of exceeding the scope of activities is that the income of the parent or affiliated companies may be deemed to have been earned in Thailand and hence be subject to taxation. In addition, the representative office cannot act on behalf of third persons.

Approved Representative Office Activities:

  • The finding of sources of purchase of goods or services in Thailand for the head office
  • The checking and controlling of the quality and quantity of goods purchased or hired by the head office for manufacturing in Thailand
  • The giving of advice on various aspects concerning goods of the head office sold to agents or consumers in Thailand
  • The dissemination of information concerning new goods or services of the head office
  • The report of movements of business in Thailand to the head office


Thus, a representative office which undertakes one or more of the approved activities in Thailand without rendering any other service to any other person, and which refrains from prohibited activities, is not subject to Thai taxation. It is understood that such a representative office may receive a subsidy from the head office to meet expenses in Thailand. Gross receipts or revenues received by a representative office from the head office are not characterized as revenue and are thus not included in the computation of juristic person income tax or VAT.
Even though they are not subject to taxation in Thailand, all representative offices are still required to obtain a Corporate Tax Identification number and submit income tax returns and audited financial statements to the Revenue Department. They are also required to submit the same to the Department of Business Development.

The head office must transfer at least 5 million baht into Thailand as working capital for the representative office, of which two million baht must be remitted in the first year, and at least one million baht per year after that. The manager of the representative office must prepare an annual report on activities undertaken and file this with the MOC as a condition of the office being permitted to carry on its activities.
There are three types of representative offices that require licensing:

  1. Finance, security, and credit financier offices
  2. Foreign bank offices
  3. International business offices

Certain requirements of the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the SEC must be met. There are also requirements regarding the remittance of funds into Thailand.

3.4 Regional Operating Headquarters (ROH)

A Regional Operating Headquarters (ROH) is a juristic company or partnership organized under Thai law to provide managerial, technical, or other supporting services (see below) to its associated companies or its domestic or foreign branches.
Supporting Services

  1. General administration, business planning, and coordination
  2. Procurement of raw materials and components
  3. Research and development
  4. Technical support
  5. Marketing control and sales promotion planning
  6. Training and personnel management
  7. Corporate financial advisory services
  8. Economic or investment research and analysis
  9. Credit control and administration
  10. Any other services stipulated by the Director-General of the Revenue Department

Associated Company A juristic company or partnership that is related to the ROH in one of the following manners:

A. Shareholding basis:

i. A juristic company or partnership holding shares in the ROH worth not less than 25% of total capital
ii. A juristic company or partnership in which the ROH is a partner or holds shares worth not less than 25% of total capital
iii. A juristic company or partnership in which a juristic company or partnership under (i.) is a partner or holds shares worth not less than 25% of total capital

B. Control basis:

i. A juristic company or partnership that has the power to control or supervise the operation and management of the ROH
ii. A juristic company or partnership that the ROH has the power to control or supervise the operation and management
iii. A juristic partnership that a juristic company or partnership in (i.) has the power to control or supervise the operation and management
Incentives The government provides tax breaks and incentives to attract foreign companies to set up in the Kingdom.

A. Reductions/exemptions on Corporate Income Tax

i. Business income - ROH will be taxed at the reduced corporate rate of 10% on income derived from the provision of qualifying services to the ROH's associated companies or branches.
ii. Royalties - Royalties received from associated companies or branches arising from R&D work carried out in Thailand will be subject to tax at a reduced corporate rate of 10%. Royalties received from a non-related company can also enjoy this reduced rate.
iii. Interest - Interest income derived from associated companies or branches on loans made by an ROH and extended to its associated companies or branches will be subject to tax at a reduced corporate rate of 10%.
iv. Dividends - Dividends received by an ROH from associated companies will be exempt from tax. Dividends paid to companies incorporated outside of Thailand and which do not carry on business in Thailand will be exempt from tax.

B. Accelerated Depreciation Allowances

25% of asset value is allowed as an initial allowance and the remaining can be deducted for over 20 years for the purchase or acquisition of buildings used in carrying out the operations of the ROH.

C. Expatriates

i. An expatriate who is assigned by the ROH to work outside of Thailand is exempt from personal income tax in Thailand for services outside of Thailand. However, the said income must not be borne by the ROH or its associated company in Thailand.
ii. An expatriate who works for an ROH may choose to be subject to withholding tax at the rate of 15% for up to 2 years. By doing so, the expatriate is allowed to omit such income in the calculation of their annual personal income tax liability.
Requirements In order for an ROH to be eligible for tax benefits, it must fulfill the following condition s:

  • The ROH must be a juristic company or partnership incorporated under Thai law
  • The ROH must have at least 10 million baht in paid-up capital on the closing date of any accounting period
  • The ROH must provide services to its overseas affiliated companies and/or branches in at least three countries excluding Thailand
  • At least half of the revenue generated by the ROH must be derived from service provided to its overseas affiliated companies and/or branches, although this requirement will be reduced to not less than one-third of the ROH's revenue for the first three years
  • The company must submit the notification to the Revenue Department
  • Other requirements may be imposed by the Director-General of the Revenue Department



For more than two decades, successive Thai governments have understood that for Thailand to be attractive to foreign investors, there needs to be both progressive investment promotion policies and sufficient infrastructure.

Accordingly, just as the Board of Investment developed policies to meet the needs of investors, the government has continuously improved the nation?s infrastructure, both in Bangkok and the provinces. Indeed, in recent years, tremendous strides have been made, especially in transportation projects.
New roads have been built and others widened to better handle the number of vehicles on the roads, and as a result, travel times to Thailand?s Eastern Seaboard and southern seaside resorts have been significantly reduced. Bangkok?s two mass transit systems are now up and operational, and this, too, has had a positive effect on traffic. Both lines of the BTS Skytrain are in the process of being expanded and additional lines of the subway system have been approved by the government and are in the bidding process. In addition, the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport opened on September 28, 2006.


Thailand has developed an extensive air transport network that encompasses 28 commercial airports, meaning that all Thailand?s regions are about an hour?s flight from Bangkok.

In addition to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, which in 2005 handled in excess of 268,000 flights, 990.000 tons of cargo and 38 million passengers. Thailand has international airports in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai, Chiang Rai and Ko Samui.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (, the new international airport of Thailand, has two parallel runways and 120 parking bays, enabling it to handle 76 flight movements per hour, 45 million passengers per year, and 3 million tons of cargo per year.

In 2007, Subvarnabhumi handled 261,592 commercial flights, 41.2 million passengers, 1.2 million tons of freight and more than 10,000 tons of mail.
The Airports Authority of Thailand has announced a 78-billion-baht expansion program for Suvarnabhumi that will increase passenger handling capacity by 33% from 45 million to 60 million within six years.

Road Network

Thailand is widely acknowledged as having the most extensive road transportation network of more than 250,000 kilometers, more than 40% of which are international standard highways that provide links to every province.

There are more than 225 km of inter-city motorways creating links between Bangkok and other major regions of the Kingdom, and the government is enhancing inter-city motorways, which are expected to stretch to 4,150 kilometers of 4-lane roads.
New highways are constantly being built, including projects to link Bangkok to the new Suvarnabhumi Airport, and an ambitious project to speed transport time to Thailand?s southern provinces.

The signing of the Asian Highway Agreement on April 26, 2004 strengthens Thailand?s connection to the rest of the world for land-based trade and transportation linking it to 32 countries in Europe and Asia. The importance of these interconnections will increase dramatically as Thailand?s free trade agreements with the People?s Republic of China, ASEAN and India kick in, making Thailand a crucial hub for international production and trade


Thailand?s water transportation system has long been an important part of the country?s history and industries. With a coastline of 3,219 km and over 4,000 km of inland waterways, Thailand?s water transportation and ports infrastructure are essential to its overall transportation and trade.

There are currently 122 ports, wharves, and jetties able to accommodate sea-going vessels engaging in international trade, including eight international deep sea ports:

These ports, located in Bangkok, Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut on Thailand?s Eastern Seaboard, and Sonkhla, Satun, Narathiwat, Phuket and Ranong in the South, provide capacity of more than 4.5 million TEU, a figure that is expected to double as current expansion projects are completed.

At Laem Chabang Port, six new container terminals are being developed with state-of-the-art equipment that can handles the latest generation of container vessels

The Laem Chabang Port's services include cargo handling, distribution and handling, and through a cooperative venture between the Port Authority of Thailand and the Customs Department, imports and exports are cleared within one day.

Rail and Mass Transit Systems

Thailand?s rail transportation, which dates back more than century, is extensive, covering 4,000 kilometers on three lines, intersecting in Bangkok. The system offers affordable transportation from the Malaysian border to northernmost provinces and Kanchanaburi in the west. The system connects with Malaysia?s national system, providing direct linkages down to Singapore, and a railway link to across the Mekong is under construction at Nong Khai.

To help alleviate traffic in Bangkok, the government has been developing mass transit systems. In 1999, the first system, known as the Skytrain (, opened on overhead tracks. The system covers 55 kilometers, serving 23 stations on two lines, and carries approximately 300,000 passengers per working day.

Extensions of both lines are underway, covering more than 10km, including a route across the Chao Phraya River to Thonburi.
In mid-2004, the Bangkok Subway ( opened, providing service at 18 stations over a 20 kilometer distance. The system, which intersects with the Skytrain, can carry 50,000 passengers an hour in each direction. The government plans to expand the system to 297 kilometers and 82 stations over the next six years.


A wide range of telecommunication facilities are available across the country. Fixed line telephones (offering international direct dial connections at affordable prices) and mobile phones are readily available, and access to the Internet is available though ADSL, satellite modems and dial-up connections.
In recent years, the speed of internet access has increased while costs have declined, and this trend seems certain to continue.

International Schools

The government has recognized the need to promote the development of international schools, both to permit the offspring of foreign investors to obtain international-standard education and to facilitate Thai students to prepare for tertiary education abroad. Accordingly, there are numerous schools that follow the American, British and Japanese educational system, and students from these schools are accepted at some of the world?s finest universities.

At present The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) has established 34 industrial estates located in 15 provinces nationwide:

  • Industrial Estates developed by IEAT - 9 Estates
  • Industrial Estates that IEAT jointly developed with the private sector - 25 Estates

Industrial Estates are developed and managed by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT). Industrial Zones are under the Ministry of Industry (MOI) and aim to support regional development and specific industrial sectors. Industrial Parks are established entirely by the private sector. Total land must be at least 500 rai, with 60-70 percent allocated to factories. All required facilities must be provided. Most Industrial Parks are promoted by the Board of Investment.

An Industrial Estate in Thailand resembles an industrial town or industrial city providing complete infrastructure necessary for industrial operations such as ample electricity, water supply, flood protection, waste water treatment, solid waste disposal, etc. It is accessible to seaports, airports and other transportation centers. Besides providing communication facilities and security systems, an industrial estate also contains commercial banks, and a post office. Some have customs offices, schools, hospitals, shopping centers and other facilities needed for investors and workers. In fact, it is a self-contained community.

The industrial property market in Thailand consists of two main segments: the sale of serviced industrial land plots (SILP) in estates, parks, and zones; and the rental of ready-built factory (RBF) buildings including warehouses.

The latter part of 2003 saw improvement in the industrial market, particularly in the rental market for Ready Built Factories (RBFs).

RBFs are popular with small to medium-sized companies whose start-up costs are lower. They can quickly mobilise operations once they get orders from a customer

Thailand's Advantages

A 2006 survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) showed that Thailand was the ?most optimal location for establishing a production/sales base in the coming 5-10 years.?
There are many reasons why Thailand is an intelligent choice for the investor. Below are just a few.

  • Thailand has quality international schools, an excellent health care system and friendly cooperative people.
  • Thailand boasts the largest growth market in Asia.
  • Thailand has recently attracted a great deal of foreign investment. It is one of the Asian economic leaders and is one of the fastest-growing economies in the area.
  • Thailand is one of the least expensive places to fly to in Asia.
  • The country has strong business ties with China and has an excellent infrastructure as well as world-class facilities in many resort towns.
  • Property is far cheaper in Thailand than other countries and an increase in overseas interest in property purchase has helped to create an economic recovery in Thailand.
  • Rental potential is great, due to increased government spending luring growing numbers of tourists.
  • No capital gains tax for private investors, and low ongoing taxes.
  • Today foreigners are regarded by the government as a big investment opportunity in Thailand.

Gateway to Asia

Thailand enjoys a strategic location at the heart of Asia ? home to what is regarded today as the largest growing economic market.
Thailand serves as a gateway to Southeast Asia and the Greater Mekong sub-region, where newly emerging markets offer great business potential. From Thailand, it is convenient to trade with China, India and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has a cumulative population of more than 500 million

Hub of ASEAN

Thailand was one of the founding members of ASEAN and has been instrumental to the formation and development of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). As a member of ASEAN, Thailand has forged closer economic cooperation with ASEAN member nations, and Thai manufactured products and services have access to the markets of ASEAN, which includes all 10 ASEAN countries. ASEAN is home to more than half a billion people, GDP in excess of US$700 billion and intra-ASEAN trade of more than US$1 trillion per year.

Social and political stability

Thailand is a welcoming Buddhist country. The country's form of government ? constitutional monarchy ? allows democratic processes and reforms, and is balanced by the Thai people's peace-loving nature, high reverence for the Thai Monarchy, and devotion to the teachings of Buddhism. While the vast majority of the people in Thailand are Buddhist, all religions are welcome, and His Majesty the King is the patron of all religions.

Growing economy

Economically, this country of 64 million people is characterized by steady growth. Abundant natural resources and a skilled and cost-effective work force helps attract foreign investment, enables them to prosper and help develop industry in Thailand.

Sufficient infrastructure

Thailand has good infrastructure for foreign investors. Improved and modernized transportation facilities, as well as upgraded communications and IT networks, ensure optimum business and living conditions. State-of-the-art industrial estates boast sophisticated facilities and superior services.

FDI policies

The country's well-defined investment policies focus on liberalization and encourage free trade. Foreign investments, especially those that contribute to the development of skills, technology and innovation are actively promoted by the government. Thailand consistently ranks among the most attractive investment locations in international surveys, and a 2006 World Bank report indicated that Thailand was the 4th easiest country in Asia in which to do business, and the 20th easiest in the world.

Government support and incentives

Numerous government agencies support investors. Through the Board of Investment, the government offers a range of tax incentives, support services and import duty concessions available to an extensive list of businesses that are regarded as priority or promoted activities.
Through the Board of Investment, there are no foreign equity restrictions in the manufacturing sector, no local content requirements, and no export requirements, as Thailand's investment regime is in total compliance with WTO regulations.
The Board of Investment also coordinates the activity of the One-Stop Service Center for Visas and Work Permits, which enables foreign staff of BOI-promoted companies to obtain work permits and long-term visas within 3 hours or less.
Other government organizations, like the Department of Export Promotion, and international chambers of commerce, provide invaluable support and a host of other important services.

Long ? established and newly emerging industries

With strong economic development and strong support industries, the country's industrial production has grown and diversified rapidly both in the long ?established and newly emerging industries.
The government has placed emphasized on attracting investment in 6 key sectors that have been determined as key to the country's developmental objectives. These six target industries include: agriculture and agro-industry, alternative energy, automotive, electronics and ICT, fashion, and value-added services including entertainment, healthcare and tourism.

Friendly and rich culture

Thailand has gained a well-known reputation throughout the world for its gracious hospitality. The friendliness of its people and the diverse nature of Thai culture make visitors feel at home in Thailand.

Education and healthcare services

Thailand 's educational standards are accepted by many international examining bodies, while its universities are outstanding in many fields. A great number of international schools and colleges offer world-class education.
In terms of healthcare, the country has developed a good reputation globally, due to its internationally qualified doctors and medical staff, and modern facilities and equipment. It is so good that one of the fastest-rising tourism sectors is medical tourism, with international patients visiting Thailand to take advantage of Thailand's world-class and extremely affordable health care system.