New business registrations reach ten year high in April

Despite the long holidays in April the number of new businesses in April was the highest in a decade with 5,120 new business registered in April – a 7 percent year on year jump. Combined registered capital exceeded 30 billion baht with the top three businesses registered in construction, real estate, and logistics. In the first four months of 2018, a total of 25,000 businesses registered with the Ministry of Commerce, a 7 percent rise year-on-year, in line with the Thai economic expansion triggered by export growth, tourism, and government spending. There are currently a total of 699,511 companies registered in Thailand.

In the first four months foreign businesses invested 4.8 billion baht in Thailand, of the 88 business registration requests 84 of those were foreign businesses. In April alone 13 foreign investors registered their businesses, most of whom were from Japan, China, and the Netherlands. Their investments injected 1.267 billion baht into the Thai economy and created 162 jobs for Thai citizens.

The new law on Digital Assets took effect last week; the Royal Decree on Digital Asset Exchanges 2018 requires any business entity wishing to sell digital assets, including cryptocurrency and digital tokens, must first receive permission to do so from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The seller must have been registered as a limited company or public company and is required to submit documents detailing all assets being sold, accompanied by a draft prospectus, to the commission. Investors buying digital assets will be liable to 15 percent tax on returns. Those who have previously sold digital assets will need to request permission within 90 days from the day of the law’s enforcement in order to be able to continue their business. Violators could receive a jail term up to two years and/or a fine twice the value of assets sold, or a minimum of 500,000 baht.

A recent court ruling in Hua Hin found that those renting out rooms or houses via AirBnB on a daily or weekly basis are acting illegally as they are not licensed under the 2004 Hotel Act. Only those renting for 30 days or more are within the law. The ruling, if applied nationally, would affect AirBnb’s business operations in Thailand. The court imposed a 5,000 baht fine on two different cases. The Thai Hotels Association is asking the government to crack down on unregistered hotels and guesthouses, including those using AirBnb. An advisor to the THA believes that more than half of all hotels on the market are unregistered.

The number of foreign tourists rose 9.38 percent year on year in April to 3,092,725 according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, with most coming from the East Asian region followed by Europe, South Asia, and America. Tourists from East Asia increasing by 14.46 percent, and from South Asia by 12.6 percent. Foreign tourists generated 157.44 billion baht in tourism-related revenue, a 12.52 percent rise from the same period last year. With tourists from China contributing the most in expenditure followed by those from Russia, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States respectively. Thailand welcomed 13,701,411 foreign visitors during the first quarter of 2018, generating 730.75 billion baht in tourism-related revenue.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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