Business Opportunities in Thailand for the Expat Entrepreneur

If you first came to Thailand and were instantly enchanted by the colorful culture, you might be thinking about making a life-changing decision and relocating to the Royal Kingdom of Thailand, why not indeed? Your plans might also include setting up a business in Thailand to fund your new lifestyle and we have put together a few business ideas that you might like to consider.

  1. Business management – If you have an MBA in business management, you could probably find a management opportunity in the hotel and hospitality sector, where managers are typically Westerners. There are several reasons to employ foreign managers; they understand the tourist’s needs more than a local with no experience outside of Thailand and should you meet their criteria, you can expect an attractive salary with all the benefits. Most multinational corporations have offices in Bangkok and listing your resume with the right recruitment agencies might reveal a great upper management position. Expat managers receive a comprehensive employment package that includes health insurance, a generous housing allowance and even kids’ tuition at an international school are on the table.
  2. Hotels, resorts & restaurants – Many expats who have Thai partners, decide to invest in a small hotel, resort, or restaurant and this can be done with your Thai partner as the major shareholder of your company, while you can obtain a long-term visa and work permit, as you would also be a shareholder. Of course, location is everything with such a business, so do spend a lot of time looking. Some semi-retired expats run a small business with their Thai spouse and as long as they don’t do any physical work, this is permitted. You could take out a 7-11 franchise, which would bring you a nice steady income, or lease a busy restaurant and change the ambiance.
  3. E-Commerce – You could register your business in Thailand and sell products online, which would likely give you at least an income, and over time, the website can become established in your chosen market. You would likely find a local supplier; in Thailand jewelry manufacturers offer premium jewellery at wholesale prices and they are open to supplying online retailers. You need to carry out some market research to decide what products are popular and that should be just one section of your comprehensive business plan. If you’d like to sell garments, there are many clothing factories in Thailand; you could even create your own label!
  4. Rental property – If you have the capital, why not set up a construction business and acquire land to build luxury villas? It is best if you have a trustworthy Thai partner for such a venture, as they can deal with the legalities and construction, leaving you to manage the marketing side of the business. The other alternative is to buy individual houses and rent them out. The high season in Thailand is from November to February, which coincides with the European winter and you can always rent out your properties to long-term expats out of season. If you decide to fly back to Europe for a while, a local property manager will look after your assets while you are away. If you are looking for a sound, long-term investment, buying real estate in the south of Thailand can be very lucrative, especially if you hang onto your investment for 5-10 years. Here are a few eco-friendly ways that you can spend a holiday.
  5. Thailand Board of Investment – While some sectors are reserved for Thais, there are quite a few business sectors that allow for foreign involvement; check out the BOI website to obtain more information about foreign investment. There are some very good investment opportunities in Thailand and you can receive long-term visas when you invest in Thai commerce.

All of the above is possible in the Royal Kingdom of Thailand and we recommend that you learn to speak the language, as this is the best way to gain an insight into their colorful culture. Enroll in a Thai language school and when out and about, practice speaking with the locals, who are always ready to engage a foreigner in Thai.

Finding a great place to stay is easy in the Land of Smiles; whether a condo, house, or poolside villa, and when you are ready, buy a plot of land and build your dream home.

We all have to be very careful when a visitor in a foreign country and working without a work permit can lead to deportation and blacklisting, so you should make sure that you are always in compliance with the local laws. Here is some information on entry requirements upon arrival in Thailand if you are planning a visit in 2022.

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