In Thailand, foreigners are generally restricted from fully owning certain types of businesses. However, there are several legal structures and options available that allow foreigners to establish and own businesses in the country. Here are some of the common business structures that foreigners can consider:
- Thai Limited Company: Foreigners can establish a Thai Limited Company (also known as a Thai Company Limited) where they can own up to 49% of the shares, while the remaining 51% must be held by Thai nationals or Thai juristic entities. This is the most common form of business ownership for foreigners in Thailand.
- BOI Promotion: The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) offers incentives and promotions to attract foreign investment in specific industries. By obtaining BOI promotion, foreigners can have majority or full ownership in certain sectors such as manufacturing, technology, electronics, software development, tourism, healthcare, and more.
- US-Thai Treaty of Amity: American citizens can establish businesses in Thailand under the Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations. This treaty allows American nationals to own 100% of their businesses in Thailand without the need for a Thai majority shareholder. This privilege is limited to specific business activities.
- Regional Operating Headquarters (ROH): Foreign companies looking to set up regional offices or headquarters in Thailand can establish an ROH. This allows them to conduct management, coordination, and support services for their affiliated companies within the region.
- Representative Office: Foreign companies can open representative offices in Thailand to conduct market research, promote their products or services, and maintain business relationships. However, representative offices are not allowed to generate revenue or engage in profit-making activities.
- Partnership with Thai Individuals or Companies: Foreigners can enter into partnerships with Thai individuals or Thai companies to establish joint ventures. In this arrangement, the Thai partner(s) must hold the majority ownership according to Thai law.
It’s important to note that the specific requirements and regulations for each business structure and industry may vary, and it is advisable to consult with legal professionals or business advisors who specialize in Thai corporate law to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations and to determine the most suitable ownership structure for your business goals.