Doing Business in Thailand (The Expat Prospective)

Doing Business in Thailand (The Expat Prospective)

Doing business in Thailand

In my humble experience of seeing business being done here in Thailand since 2003 there are a few areas Foreigners do business in Thailand. Today we discuss a few, do you fall into any of these areas? If not wait for our our next blog:

English Teaching in Thailand.

For many reasons Thailand is lacking behind it’s ASEAN neighbours regarding reading and speaking English. One may argue that with 70 odd million people and being one of the Asian Tiger economies, despite all the political issues, they can get by without the global business language. From an insular prospective this may be true to a certain extent and many stalwarts of manufacturing will tell you that Rotary and having a few good friends high up in the Land of Smiles are all you need.

However to go global, and I am sure this is what most business want, then the Thais are going to have to swallow a lot of national pride and admit that they need to put a lot more effort and funding behind getting their kids speaking better English. Anyone who has been to Cambodia will meet the poorest of kids who’s English skills are very impressive, and the Thais may argue that well they have to speak great English because they need outsiders to invest, again this point of view is true now but you have to look to the future and any experienced business person will tell you the time to change is when you are at your peak.

Thousands of young backpackers and middle aged people who want a change of life or just experiencing the world can teach English in Thailand, you need a TEFL certificate and then you can teach Thai kids in the schools, or have private conversational time as private lessons. Generally salaries range from 30-50,000 THB it’s not 40 hours a week as we would expect at home, however a lot of time is spent preparing lessons.

Legally speaking schools and organisations should provide a work permit and it is one of the jobs Thais will be happy for you to do as you are not taking a job away from a Thai and you will be contributing wealth to the economy. Yet we find a lot of arguments online in our 5,000+ strong group on Facebook about difficulties with schools promising work permits and not delivering.

Due to these issues; three times a week busses are full of English teachers on back to back visa runs to get tourist visas whilst they wait for a work permit. Teachers are obviously very concerned about being promised that they ‘are legal’ by the schools and not to worry, but the law is an ass.

The real expats

I often get asked the question what is an expat, well to me a proper expatriate is someone who has been offered an expat job in Thailand with the same firm in their home country. These kinds of opportunities are usually offered to long term people with long term experience who have served their company well.

They arrive in Bangkok and get offered a nice house, school fees in one of the International schools and the poor old English Teachers would have heart attack if they knew what their tax free salary was each month. They eat in all the top places in Bangkok and they have the best life here, UNTIL the day the contact is finished and they have to go back to the full tax system back home and paying a fortune for chicken fried rice again.

The happiest chap I’ve ever met in Bangkok is the guy just arrived on a two year contract and has just realised how much cheaper many things are here.

The saddest guy I’ve ever met in Bangkok was the guy who came two years ago single, on an expat package, and in that time assimilated into the culture, met an Asian beauty half his age who truly loves him, and she is having his baby, and now he has to now explain to her that Alaska has quite a different weather to what she is used to.

She will probably have twins when she sees what his after tax figure is back in the US, and how different things will have to be. It’s these kind of expats who are now tourists, who are always asking me, as a knee jerk reaction, what they can do to stay here without the fantastic expat package or being an English teacher!

The rest

Yes the rest are grouped here and what they do for a living must be a constant head ache for immigration to keep track of, I mean you have your online people who trade many things like jewellery and ornaments online and buy here and sell in Europe, the web designers and graphic designers who do web design online for European customers from their rooms and make a decent living, the financial people who are regulated abroad and get massive commissions from abroad and live here for one year till they need to sell again! The Multi -Level Marketing (MLM) people who live off their pensions or rents from home and ‘Help their girlfriend get rich quick’ through the lotions and potions companies in Bangkok

The internet has made it possible for individuals to become Netprenuers and manage to make money online and live here on the beaches of Thailand.

The successful Netprenuers who live in Thailand will probably be someone who has previously tried opening a company in Thailand before, gone legit so to speak, and found it really tough going!

The Thai authorities assume that any start up from the West will have around 60,000 USD spare to set up their company in Thailand and has another 60,000 USD spare to run the company for a year after that.

For each one foreigner you are going to have to employ 2 or 3 Thais to get a work permit or set up your company and pay a monthly salary and whom you are not sure what it is they do in your company!?

Then you will be paying European prices for Lawyers and Accountants on top of all that and a few bob to the smiling policeman who visits once in a while to deliver some great advice of how he will make sure you are looked after here!?

After failing miserably at that venture, and returning back to their domiciled country with their tails between their legs for a few years to work like a dog and raise some more funds back home.

They probably would have returned a few more times for a few more slaps in the face from the establishment until in true Entrepreneurial style begged for more pressure until the way becomes clear to make a living here and become a legitimate member of society and buy you and  your wife a nice house, and just go with the flow and find your happiness.

“When you have accepted that which you cannot change, then you will find happiness.” Buddha

If you would like some advice, perhaps networks to meet people or how to set up your online shop or how to go about finding business leads in Thailand

then Contact Netmedia