What Makes Thailand a Great Startup Destination

Wassana Lampech

December 19, 2016

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Internet-based technology has significantly changed the way we do business. To argue that Internet-based technology is single-handedly responsible for digital startups would not be a far stretch. People can opt to work and run startups from just about anywhere in the world, even at the comfort of their laptops or other smart devices. Let's take a closer look at a few reasons a startup in Thailand, particularly in Bangkok, may just be the perfect startup for you.

1. Low Cost of Living

The low cost of living in Bangkok, and even in Chiang Mai (Thailand's second-largest city), make Thailand a profitable option for living or working. Depending on how much you wish to stretch your level of comfort, living on a salary of $500 - $1,000 is quite possible. Renting a comfortable studio apartment can cost anywhere between $150 and $350 per month.

Rental spaces for shared office space in Bangkok, and even hiring staff is much more inexpensive than in the United States.

2. Modern Infrastructure and Conveniences

Unlike many other markets touting startups for lower costs, Thailand has the modern infrastructure to support growing startups.

There is hardly a need to worry about power cuts or slow Internet, and other infrastructural inconveniences that could make successfully running a startup a difficult undertaking.

Instead, in major Thailand cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, there exists infrastructural support for startup success.

3. Supporting Entrepreneurial Culture

Another feature of the Thailand startup market is the entrepreneurial culture across the major cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and even Phuket. For starters, there is a prevalence of entrepreneurs in Bangkok and other Thailand cities.

Additionally, there is a host of co-working space in Bangkok. Both the proliferation of entrepreneurs and co-working space in Bangkok are realities that make it easier to manage business operations and to do so at affordable costs.

4. Access to Venture Capital Funding

Venture capital is one of the things that many startups just about anywhere in the world struggle to acquire. Venture capital in more markets is elusive, stymieing the growth of many startups. The opposite is true in Thailand, however. For starters, there are all of five major venture capital firms based in Bangkok, Thailand.

There is also a whopping six international firms that are dedicated to actively funding Thai businesses. Add to this the fact that Thailand has been able to attract venture capital funding, as is the case in 2014 when the country attracted $30 million in funding, and you quickly begin to see why entrepreneurs are flocking to, and thriving in, Thailand.

In addition to accessing venture capital, startups in Thailand can access tax-free incentives from the Thailand Board of Investment (Thailand BOI), operated by the Ministry of Industry.

A startup in Thailand can benefit from a BOI facilitate tax package filled with incentives such as no restrictions on manufacturing activities and the necessary work permits.

Best of all, there are organizations designed to assist with the process of accessing this offering from the Thailand BOI.

5. A High Quality of Life

Bangkok is an affordable, modern, metropolitan city, where you can enjoy all of the conveniences of a modern lifestyle without breaking the bank. The city is attractive and comfortable, and the people are warm and friendly.

You will meet friends, collaborate with other entrepreneurs, access funding for your startup, and much more for a lot cheaper than you would in other major world cities with a comparable, high standard of living and quality of life. Even with all the innovation and startup energy across the city, it still manages not to feel like a rat race.

About the author:

Wassana lives in Chiang Mai Thailand but is originally from southern Thailand. She loves to travel. You can find her on Twitter or see more Thailand photos from her Instagram.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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