Road to a startup business in Thailand

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Planning for a startup in Thailand? Here, in this blog, we have tried to bring a roadmap for assisting entrepreneurs looking for their own Startup in Thailand.

Predominantly, foreigners use one the two ways for doing business in Thailand. 1) By Registering a Thai Company with a local Thai partner or 2) Going through One Stop Investment Center under The Thailand Board of Investments.

This article covers the second option. To learn more in detail about the two options, check out here

Getting acquainted with the One Start One Stop Investment Center

The One Start One Stop Investment Center is a modern resource dedicated to assisting with the applications and responding to questions about starting a business in Thailand. Registering the work permit and upgrading the visa takes place at the OSOS. The office is segregated into two departments: one is the information center for the BOI services and the other works as an immigration office for the companies under BOI promotion.

It is also a great place for starting the BOI process. The staff here could help with information and help in filling the BOI application.

Read more about The Thailand Board of Investments.

One-stop service for visa and work permit

It is the immigration department inside the OSOS’ office and the place where one would be granted the work visa and permit under the BOI company. The process is straight-forward and all the applications are submitted online.

To begin, one should register the company for using the OSOS online services and requires a day to visit the office and complete the setup. Next, one would need to submit the evaluation request online for every foreign person in the company who would be working in Thailand and needs the work permit.

For every applicant, one must provide the followings:

  • Certificate of education
  • Documents certifying employment experience
  • Position in the company
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Length of employment

For a company one would also be required to provide:

  • Explanation with respect to technology transfer
  • Organization chart of the company
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • List of company’s shareholders

There would be a few corrections needed before the application is completed. It takes about 4 working days for getting the immigration approval letters.

Once the online application is submitted and approved, one would be ready to receive the work permit and new visa status. It should be noted that one needs a valid Non-Immigrant Visa B in the passport for updating the visa status to the BOI visa. It would be possible for transforming a Tourist Visa to a Non-Immigrant Visa B as long as the visa is valid and isn’t on a 30-day extension.

Read more about Visa and Work Permit  in Thailand.

Understanding the BOI (Board of Investment) promotion

The Thailand BOI (Board of Investment) is a government office devoted to promoting investments in the country. More interestingly, the Board of Investment Thailand provides tax and non-tax incentives for promoting investment for several business activities. The incentives are generous and eliminate or reduce several requirements. Here are some of such benefits provided to startups under the Board of Investment Promotion Act. The rules have been relaxed as compared to the ones under the traditional Thai company form of business.

  • The ratio of foreign to Thai employees is relaxed
  • 100 percent ownership by foreigners is possible
  • Exemptions available for VAT on machinery imported into the country
  • Tax Holiday i.e. Corporate taxes as low as zero percent for the initial 8 years of doing business in Thailand is possible
  • Registered capital could be as low as THB 1 million
  • Easier to bring foreign skilled experts and workers

The easiest way of setting up a business in Thailand is to get in touch with a Startup Consulting firm that specialize in establishing BOI businesses.

BOI is the ideal place for pitching new business idea and applying for BOI privileges. The BOI staff generally speak English and they would let you know upfront if the business idea is appropriate for any BOI privileges. If they like the idea, there’ll be an official form that needs to be filled out mostly pertaining to operational costs, staff requirements and projected revenue.

The Interview Session

Once the application is submitted, there would be a ten-day gap before one can come back and do the interview session with the senior staff members of BOI. During the interview session the business owner must present the business plan to the BOI investors. It is advised to have the following points covered in the slides during the presentation:

  • Problem Statement
  • The product/solution
  • Target customers/markets
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer acquisition
  • Competitive advantage
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Revenue model
  • Projected expenses
  • Management team

The detailed plan of the projected revenue and the startup cost would already be submitted with the BOI application, so this section doesn’t need to be too detailed during the presentation. It is however advisable to be completely prepared for any queries regarding the business idea.

Contact Startup in Thailand if you need assistance in Registering a Thai Company and exploring Thailand BOI applications.

Project evaluation

The staff members would let the applicant know in case they perceive a value in the business idea presented during the interview. Once the BOI promotion is granted, one can go for the next step: incorporation of the company.

BOI Certificate

The BOI certificate cannot be obtained before incorporating a company, but once the incorporation process is done and 25 percent of the registered capital is transferred from abroad to the company’s bank account, one could apply for the BOI certificate.

Department of Business Development – DBD

Equipped with the BOI-approved business idea, it’s time for setting up the company. The incorporation of the startup takes place at the DBD office (Department of Business Development).

One needs to prepare the lengthy application form which is entirely in the Thai language. But there is no need to worry, as there would be a bunch of shops outside, offering services serving this purpose alone.

There are a few things one should keep in mind:

  • One needs to register a company name before initiating the application process
  • One needs a proper office in a commercial building
  • One needs a design for the company stamp
  • All company directors should be available for signing the application papers
  • All the shareholders of the company are required to sign the printed copy of their passports
  • All the shareholders of the company are required to submit their passport and address information
  • One needs to invest 25 percent of the registered capital from abroad

Reserving the name of the company

Before deciding to visit the DBD office, one needs to reserve his/her company name. It could be done online on DBD’s website. However, it should be noted that the registration process for the account is in Thai. The person who registers would be the primary contact person for the entire incorporation process.

Once one gets his/her company name approved, one would need a copy of the same and would need a visit to the head office of DBD.

Submission of Application

It might take an entire day for filling in all the papers required for getting the company registered and approved. This is a slow process. It’s advisable to come prepared since there are several documents that are required to be filled in.

Once the company is registered and approved, it’s time for the second visit to the BOI office, where one needs to apply and then pick up the BOI certificate.

BOI promoted status

It is the last step in the incorporation process, however, it is important to note that before applying for the BOI promoted status, the company should be granted the BOI certificate from The Board of Investments. It is the last part which is easy, however, one still needs to travel to DBD’s head office for the second time. One must bring all the BOI documents and the graphical drawn map of the company’s office location. All directors of the company need to be present to sign the documents, and the submission usually takes around 7 to 30 days for approval.

There are several factors that might influence a decision to start a business in Thailand and setting up a company. For setting up a company in Thailand, you can get in touch with the Startup Consultants in Thailand for the formal process of getting your company registered, getting the tax ID status, dealing with visas and your work permit related matters.

If you’re looking to start a new business or want to expand your existing business in Thailand, or if you’re an investor looking for newer opportunities in Southeast Asia, Thailand has a lot to offer both professionally and personally.

Interesting Reads:

Request for a FREE Consultation here or get essential tips by downloading this e-Book  on how to Startup in Thailand.

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