To encourage foreign investment into Thailand, the Board of Investment (BOI) offers a range of incentives for foreign businesses that qualify. Activities and projects that meet investment, structural, and operational criteria receive such benefits as corporate tax holidays, import duty exemptions, land ownership and work permit waivers for foreign employees to name a few.
A business in Thailand is classified as a foreign entity if more than 50% of its share or partner capital is foreign owned. And while many people believe their only option is to form a “local” company with a majority Thai ownership to avoid perceived or actual business restrictions, a foreigner can in fact own and operate any kind of business except those specifically restricted.
Thailand remains an attractive destination for foreign investors and business owners seeking out new markets to open a new or expand an existing business. Nevertheless, those who wish to establish majority or wholly foreign-owned business entities need to be aware of Thailand’s laws and regulations regarding foreign investment.
Much has been written about foreign business licenses and certificates that are required to conduct business in Thailand as a majority foreign held limited partnership or company. That aside, once you have established your business, whether as a Thai or foreign entity, there is a chance that you will be required to obtain additional business licenses to legally operate in Thailand.
A major obstacle for many foreigners looking to start a business in Thailand is the generally arduous procedure of obtaining a work permit and a non-immigrant type B visa and the laborious requirements of reporting and maintenance. With the recently implemented SMART visa program, this process has been greatly simplified for qualified individuals.
A major point of contention for many foreigners wishing to take up a more permanent residence or invest in Thailand are the real estate laws here. While foreigners can own free-hold condominiums in Thailand, it is very difficult for most non-Thai nationals to own land outright, with the one exception requiring a considerable investment. As a possible alternative, some look to executing usufructs or superficies.
Class action lawsuits are coming into the fore in Thailand as more groups of plaintiffs take advantage of the amended Civil Procedure Code.
Although many people may see class action lawsuits as nuisances or money grabs, especially in the litigious United States, there are legitimate benefits to allowing people who suffered similar damages to group together to sue for relief from the courts.
Starting 1 May 2018, landlords in Thailand with five or more residences to lease must comply with new lease regulations (link in Thai) announced on 18 February 2018 under the newly amended Consumer Protection Act. While these new lease regulations do not apply to dormitories and hotels, they do cover residential leases, such as for condominiums, apartments, and houses.