Category Archives:Thailand News

Digital Park Thailand

Digital Park Thailand is strategically located within the Special Economic Zone of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) on a 600-rai area in the Sri Racha District of the Chonburi Province. It is located conveniently close to Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao International Airport. Several industrial, estates and universities surround Si Racha. Therefore, this project will support these existing industries and people in the area, including existing schools and the automotive and agriculture sectors. There is also an assurance of an easier mode of transportation in the future. High Speed and double track railway and motorway expansion, will then provide Interconnectivity between industrial sites, deep-sea ports and international airports.

Digital Park Thailand is a new digital hub for tech geniuses and business innovators looking to expand operations to Thailand and the ASEAN region.  The establishment of the Digital Park will signify an innovative change in the way of conducting business in Thailand. Because it is surrounded with regional logistic hub, force of several world-class digital production, and recognized educational institutes, it will serve the purpose of the Digital Park to create an environment for a digital ecosystem to excel. Equipped with ultra high-speed broadband infrastructure, submarine cable station, data center, and satellite earth station, this will then serve as the digital hub of EEC while aiming to become the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) data hub.

Digital Park Thailand is the destination for global players and world-class digital nomads to Invest-Work-Learn-Play because it will comprise of the following:

  1. Digital Industry Investment: Global Digital Player Destination
  2. DigiTech Acceleration: Global DigiTech Networking, 24/7 Innovation Workspace
  3. Digital Experience Innovation: Digital Theme Park, Animation & Movie Town
  4. Connectivity Hub: International Internet Gateway, Digital Data Hub, Satellite and Space Center

Digital Park Thailand is subdivided into 3 Zones:

Zone 1 – Private Sector Innovation Space

The digital business investment zone for foreign companies investing in Thailand.

Zone 2 – Digital Talent Space or Digital innovations zone (University 4.0 and Digital Academy)

This zone will comprise of centers for learning and sharing of digital technology, universities, and institutes for creations of digital innovations, such as Internet of Things (IoT) Institute. Renowned international and local universities offering digital-related courses and laboratories will then be established under collaboration between universities and the private sector.

Zone 3 – Smart Living Space and Innovation Workplace

Smart Living Space will comprise of residences, hotels, a shopping mall and a sport complex. Hence, this will make Digital Park Thailand a destination for international digital talent to live, work, learn and play.

Maximum Privilege 

Several incentive packages will be offered to business operators in Digital Park Thailand, which includes the following:

  1. Corporate and personal income tax privileges
  2. RDI regulatory exemption
  3. Ease to do business
  4. One-stop services
  5. Simplified VISA and work permit procedures.

The park is certainly going to be Thailand’s premier digital platform. Most importantly, this will pioneer testbeds and adoption of state-of-the-art digital technologies, Internet Of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence.

This is an exciting opportunity for end-users, entrepreneurs, corporate residents, investors and partners across the region and country. Because of the project’s digital capabilities and sound infrastructure, as well as a vibrant world-class environment, Digital Park Thailand will definitely make an exceptional location for business leaders considering relocating their digital businesses within ASEAN.

 

Please See Related Pages under Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

 
Thailand 4.0

Thailand 4.0 is an economic model that aims to transform the Thai economy from industry-driven into innovation-driven. Past economic development models placed emphasis on agriculture (Thailand 1.0), light industry (Thailand 2.0), and advanced industry (Thailand 3.0).

Thai economy has boomed during the first years of Thailand 3.0 platform. But in recent years, it has grown by only 3% to 4%. Thailand has been stuck in the middle-income trap for more than 20 years. Since the world is getting more competitive, Thailand has seen the necessity to launch Thailand 4.0 to boost its economy to become an innovation driven and a high-income country.

Four Objectives of Thailand 4.0
  1. Economic Prosperity – to create a value-based economy that is driven by innovation, technology and creativity.
  2. Social Well-being – to create a society that moves forward without leaving anyone behind through realization of the full potential of all members of society.
  3. Raising Human Values – to uplift the competency level of Thai people.
  4. Environmental Protection – to become a livable society that possesses an economic system capable of adjusting to climate change and low carbon society.
What is the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)?

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is the initial project under the Thailand 4.0 scheme for the economic development of Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard. This project will drive the country’s investment in boosting innovation as well as acquisition and development of new and advance technology. This will mark as a momentous growth and transformation of Thailand’s economy. With good infrastructure and investment platform, the EEC can become the center for trade and investment thus making Thailand an attractive investment destination.

Initially, the EEC project will cover 3 eastern provinces namely Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao covering a total area of 13,000 square kilometers. This area is being designated and promoted because of their capacity to increase investment possibilities and facilitate development of economic activities because of its strong recognition of the Thailand’s targeted industries and support of the Thailand 4.0 initiative. The Eastern Seaboard has proven success in Automobile, Electronic and Petrochemical industries, and has established strong connection to neighboring countries. It is EEC’s focus to improve this existing connectivity while promoting innovation.

 

Implementation Programmes for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Development
  1. Infrastructure Development Implementation
  2. Targeted Industries Development Implementation
  3. Human Resource, Education, Research, and Technology Development Implementation
  4. Tourism Development and Promotion Implementation
  5. New City and Community Development
  6. Business Hub and Finance Hub Development Implementation
  7. PR and Mass Engagement Implementation
  8. Modern Agriculture, Irrigation, and Environment Implementation

 

Major Development Projects

Air Transport Development Plan

  • -Modernization of U-Tapao International Airport with expansion of existing runway and new passenger and cargo terminals.
  • -Transform U-Tapao Airport into a hub for Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO).

Land Transport Development Project

  • -High Speed and double track railway and motorway expansion to provide Interconnectivity between industrial sites across the country to 3 deep sea ports and 3 international airports.

Sea Transport Development Plan

  • -Expansion of Laem Chabang Port Phase 3 to accommodate freight containers up to 18M Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) and 3M cars annually.
  • -Development of Mapthaphut Industrial Port Phase 3. This is designated for the transport of Liquid Freight and natural gas, which are important for raw materials for energy production and advanced petrochemical industry. The enhancement of this area’s infrastructure will be an advantage to better facilitate transportation of these products.
  • -Sattahip Commercial Port will be upgraded and modernized to become an international and cruise ferry port.
  • -Establishing new ferry port to connect major tourist destinations, designed to connect both sides of the Gulf of Thailand.

 

Targeted Industries
  1. The Next-Generation Automotive Industry
  2. Automation, Robotics and Intelligent Electronics Industry
  3. The Advance Agriculture and Biotechnology
  4. Food Processing Industry
  5. Medical Devices and Supplies Industries
  6. High Wealth, Medical Tourism and Comprehensive Healthcare Industry
  7. Digital Industry
  8. Satellite, Aviation and Logistics Industry
  9. Biofuels and Biochemicals Industries

 

What are the benefits of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to investors?

The EEC intends to welcome foreign companies to invest in the Special Economic Zone with attractive incentives, as well as an assurance of infrastructure readiness and ease of doing business in Thailand.

  1. Exemption from Corporate Income Tax for up to 15 years
  2. Subsidies from the Fund for supporting expenses incurred in the investment, research and development, promotion of innovation or development of specific personnel of businesses in targeted industries
  3. Lowest personal income tax rate of 17% for executives and experts
  4. Long-term land lease for up to 50, and a renewal for up to 49 years
  5. Permission to own land for BOI promoted projects
  6. Work permit and visa assistance and a 5-year business visa
  7. Special Public-Private-Partnership procedure
  8. Fast-track Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval
  9. Foreign currency account and use of foreign currencies without exchanging into Thai baht
  10. One-Stop Service Centre to facilitate foreign investors

The government is confident that the Easter Economic Corridor will mark its completion by year 2021. By then, the 3 Eastern provinces will turn out to be the center for technological manufacturing and services with strong land, sea and air connectivity to its ASEAN neighbors.

 

Please See Related Pages under Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

Considerations for Divorce in Thailand

If you are unfortunate enough to be facing divorce in Thailand then you may find the procedures and regulations far different to that of say EU Nations or the USA.

In general, if you or your spouse are currently living in the Kingdom you can file for a divorce provided there are sufficient grounds. If the marriage was registered in Thailand and both parties agree then the process is mainly administrative.

An uncontested divorce can be obtained at the local District Office (khet/amphur). The application must be made in writing and witnessed by two people and registered with the relevant authorities. There is no requirements for any lawyers attendance.

 

Registering the Divorce

Registration is made at the District Office. Normally it is not possible to book an appointment.

You are required to take:

  • Completed signed documents
  • ID photo’s
  • Passports
  • The marriage certificate

What if the Divorce is Contested?

If either party contests the divorce, or you both can not agree on financial issues, division of assets or child custody, then a divorce may be filed with a Thai court. The reasons and grounds for a divorce has to be demonstrated personally in court.

Grounds for divorce include:

  • Separation of over three years
  • Adultery
  • Desertion of partner for over twelve months
  • Criminal misconduct
  • Prison
  • Insanity for over three years
  • Misbehaviour
  • Physical disability causing husband and wife unable to cohabitate
  • Incurable disease
  • Mental or physical abuse
  • A spouse has disappeared
  • A spouse has failed to provide proper maintenance and support their partner

 

How are the Assets Divided in Court?

Thailand is a “Community Property” jurisdiction. This means that separate property and assets acquired before marriage remain with their original owners. Property and assets acquired whilst in marriage are equally divided.  

However, the rules of division of property are complex and the court will decide according to these rules. Prenuptial agreements can alter the distribution of property during a divorce.

Debts incurred during the marriage are normally the responsibility of both parties.

 

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are legal in Thailand providing they meet the requirements of Thai Law. Thailand has it’s own requirements for registering a prenuptial agreement before marriage. If the agreement was taken in another country then generally the Thai courts will accept it as long as the agreement was legal in the originating country.

 

What if you are Living Outside Thailand

If you are now living abroad, the Thai court may potentially still have jurisdiction over a divorce action. Therefore a lawyer may still be able to file for a divorce for you even if you are living outside the country.

However, normally a plaintiff must appear at least once in person during the legal procedure.  

 

Divorce Settlements

An arrangement has to be made in a settlement if children are involved. If there is no provision made the court will determine the provisions.

In the case of adultery, normally the innocent spouse receives the benefits. The guilty party may have to pay living allowance as part of the agreement. However, the right is void when the party receiving the allowance remarries.  

 

Foreign Nationals

In general, foreign nationals may obtain a divorce in Thailand providing they can prove minimum residency requirements.
If the divorcing couple did not marry in Thailand then normally they do not qualify for an administrative uncontested divorce at the District Office. Providing they qualify a divorce may be applied for through the Thai courts.

Thailand Leads Hotel Residence Boom in SEA

According to new research by C9 Hotelworks, the Thai based consulting group. There are currently over 28,000 hotel-branded residential units for sale across the region representing 120 projects.

This led to Thailand becoming Southeast Asia’s number one in the field and exemplified the close association between global hospitality brands and property developers in Thailand. There is an estimated US $ 3.5 billion inventory for sale.

The rapid growth of traditional resort hotels cashing in on the real estate market has driven mass investment. The large hotel chains are using their weighty brand names to associate quality and service that is synonymous with their luxury chains. This in turn gives reassurance and an expectation of quality to the potential buyers.

 

Global Financial Crisis

During the global financial crisis, Asia like many other regions fell back to their core domestic market in terms of real estate. But more recently the progression has attracted an increasingly high volume of top tier developers with massive, large scale projects.

The differential between the average price of traditional urban Thai properties and resort destinations is significant. While urban prices of around US$ 7 sqm are still rising sharply the resort destinations are far lower at US$ 4sqm. Plus the latter offer a plethora of services and extras that are corresponding with a luxury brand.

Thailand leads the race at 37% with Indonesia 22% and Vietnam 18% also having considerable numbers. Malaysia and the Philippines 9% are also slowly growing with the same economic philosophy.

One key factor driving urban projects is the price of land. The projection forecasts calls for an increasing number of developers seeking associations and affiliations with major hotel group brands. This affiliation can offer between 20% / 30% premium in prices with the associated hospitality assets.

 

Phuket, Bangkok & Pattaya

The three top places in Thailand for such affiliated joint developments are Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya. Together there are 44 developments with 5,000 units available for sale.

Another catalyst for the rising tide is the increasing demand by potential buyers for mix-use projects that contain hotel and real estate components. Large hotel brands can offer the facilities and luxury design, service that is almost becoming the norm for the buying market.

End users and in SEA now overshadows Traditional buyers. Asians are representing the largest buying segment showing a change in lifestyle living. Bangkok’s massive success story at the St Regis Residences demonstrated this, while a more recent Four Season’s development was also extremely popular.

Big Thai hotel and hospitality groups such as Minor, Onyx and Dusit are at the front end of this new economic push and are tapping into the movement both in Thailand and overseas. What is clear in looking at the landscape is that rapidly escalating land prices are driving developers to embrace mixed-use projects in increasing numbers, and often add in commercial, sporting and tourism attractions as part of broader lifestyle offerings.

 

Cost of Land

The facts and figures bear testament that the property market has a definitely changing face in Thailand and the SEA community as a whole.

Costs of land is partly driving this but it is more detailed than simply cost. The ability of global hotel chains with years of history and reputation have large input in the new growing market. Their brands associates with luxury, service and extremely high standards.

Together with their huge marketing awareness and past success, they are the perfect partners for developers to associate with and to provide the perfect dwelling solution.

It is the face of property development for the future in Thailand and throughout the whole region. Buyers are becoming more demanding and wish for more associated services alongside their actual living unit.    

 

Loan Assistance for Home Buyers in Thailand

Buying homes in Thailand has complications just like any other country in the world. Finding initial deposits and fulfilling the necessary legal and payment requirements is just as much a pain in Thailand as anywhere else, especially with the current world economic climate.

In October 2015 short-term intermediate measures were announced by Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong to help house buyers secure the all important and difficult loans. Hopefully this in turn will stimulate the real estate market which will drive further construction. Mr Tantivorawong declined to comment on the implementation of the land and buildings tax and when it might come into effect.

 

VAT Proposals

There is a proposal to increase VAT from seven to ten percent but it might be offset by the nationwide e-payment initiative being fully implemented. Added to this is the introduction to encourage businesses to have only one financial account.

The Minister also added that the real problem to people securing house loans at present was that the banks were reluctant to give out money during the current economic climate.

 

Press Rejection

Mr Tantivorawong went on to further say that this was not a matter that should have been brought to public attention by the press as nothing had been finalised and currently nothing has changed.

This confusion could prove to panic people and force delays in house buying while people hesitate for legislation. His concern was any uncertainty over the confusion and mix messages abounding.

Apisak reiterated that the draft of the Land and Construction tax is still very much under review by the ministry as the new Council of Economic Ministers had assigned more work and understanding to take place to enable fairness to all parties.

 

Land And Construction Tax

The former finance minister and the former deputy prime minister signed off on the bill before their replacements took office, but the new Council of Economic Ministers have decided to revise the bill before it goes in front of the new Cabinet. The Minister quoted that he hoped the revision would be completed by the end of 2015.

 

Loan Assistance

Due to all these delays and the uncertainty facing the ratification of the bill and the possible hike in VAT, Mr Tantivorawong said e-payments and the single account measures should be able to compensate for the income gained from the VAT increase.

He personally believes that the measures could compensate the missing revenue and there would be no need to increase VAT.

Due to the delay then short term loan assistance would be implemented to help people in the interim to aid their purchasing of homes.

The president of the Thai Condominium Association, Mr Prasert Taedullayasatit was quoted as saying that it would be better if low income buyers had financial assistance to help and make it easier to get mortgages. He highlighted that the low income market was only responsible for 10% of the overall Thai property market last year.

 

The Five Stimuli Package

Whilst the housing market faced all this confusion the government implemented five key strategies to bring stimulus to the economy.

  • Corporate income tax would be reduced from 23% to 20%
  • Corporate income tax and dividend tax exemptions will be provided for government venture capital funds for a period of ten years.
  • Real estate transfer fees will be reduced from 2% to 0.01% for six months and mortgage fees will be reduced to 1% for the same period.
  • The Government Housing Bank will receive 10 billion baht to provide assistance to low income earners.
  • First home buyers can deduct taxable income with 20% of home value for a period of five years.

This stimuli is an attempt to provide financial help in this difficult period of uncertainty in the home buying market and whilst the economic slowdown is currently in effect.

The confusion of possible legislation concerning the rise in VAT has compounded the situation and the government is at pains to convince the market that this is only a suggestion and is not ratified.

U-Tapao soon to become a Commercial Airport

U-Tapao airport is to become a commercial airport in mid-2016.  Under the cooperation between the Ministry of Transport and the Navy, the airport is expected to have an annual turnover of 3 million passengers by 2017.

The Minister of Transportation has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Navy Commander to jointly develop the area, make commercial plans, improve the infrastructure, and prepare the budgets to enable the transition. The commercial airport will be managed by the Navy under the concept of “one airport, two missions”–the first mission being security; the second, provision of commercial services to relieve congestion at Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airports, which have been experiencing rapid passenger increases.

The two parties have set up 3 committees to coordinate cooperation in developing the airport infrastructure, business plans, and public relations.

The Transport Minister said publicity would be expedited for the use of the airport by both domestic and international airlines while transportation systems would be improved to enhance road and rail connections to the airport.  On the service side, he said preparation was under way to liaise with Thai Airways International for personnel support in case the Navy cannot meet the requirements.

According to the Navy Commander, the Navy has made an initial investment of over 200 million baht in the construction of a new passenger terminal, which will be opened on June 1, 2016, and has set an annual target of 3 million passengers by 2017, compared with the current annual average of 200,000.  Meanwhile, a number of commercial airlines have shown interest in operating flights to and from U-Tapao because of its strategic location for touring passengers and the expectation that the extension of their services will increase their per-flight numbers of passengers.

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Amendments to the Foreign Business Act to be proposed to the Cabinet

investment2The Commerce Ministry’s Department of Business Development (DBD) will propose that the Cabinet modernize the Foreign Business Act (FBA) and get Thailand ready for the seamless ASEAN market.

The amendment will focus on concession in order to provide fair competition for Thai and Foreign Business Investors. Furthermore, this will facilitate business growth, and eliminate the nominee issues.

Under the amended law, there will be streamlining of business regulations and foreigners will find the Thai environment more conductive to investment.

In addition, Thailand will be capable of competing under the coming regional integration, which will allow investors from the ASEAN countries to own up to 70 percent of certain service businesses.

 

 

New, Stricter Rules Established for Thailand’s Transportation

A common criticism of Thailand’s transportation such as that directed against hired car or taxis is that the drivers overcharge their customers by taking indirect longer routes. Pattaya City is among the areas affected.  As many tourists have experienced unsatisfactory customer services, a new regulation to control misbehaving drivers has been established.  In addition, drivers repeating the misconduct will be suspended for 3-7 days; and if they still fail to change their ways, their services will be permanently banned.

For more information please call Chonburi Transportation Authority Office Hotline number 1556.

DSI Crackdown on Thai Nominee Shareholding

Crackdown on Thai Nominee Shareholding

The Department of Special Investigations (DSI) had a meeting about a crackdown on foreign businesses who practice Thai nominee shareholding. This crackdown is to effectively control Thai companies.

Their objectives are for the Aliens coming to the Kingdom of Thailand, to operate their businesses according to the rules and regulations.

For more information please visit : https://www.dsi.go.th/index