Bangkok city houses approximately 9.27 million people – making it the most populated city in the country. It is also home to the country’s financial hub and over one-third of Thai banks. There are over 50 districts in Bangkok.
Bangkok is home to new brands and mall concepts. This includes the newly opened Icon Siam and the up-and-coming Empshere by The Mall Group, as part of a new push to boost Thailand’s position as the world’s retail innovation, entertainment and lifestyle hub.
Bangkok hosts a rapidly developing startup scene. It has a pool of around 1,000 tech startups that are clustered mainly within the capital city. The government’s Thailand 4.0 strategy to bring Thailand into the digital age has seen growing support from Thailand’s corporates, which have set up innovation arms or corporate venture capital firms to work with and invest into startups. As of 2018, there are around 170 active VCs, angel investors and accelerators in Thailand. The most funded tech sectors include F&B, ecommerce, fintech, and property tech.
If you are planning to venture into Thailand, pay close attention to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a mega project aimed at developing Thailand’s eastern provinces into an ASEAN economoic zone.
The EEC straddles the provinces of Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong, just off the eastern seaboard of Thailand. The government hopes to complete the EEC by 2021, turning the provinces into a hub for technological manufacturing and services, with strong connectivity to its ASEAN neighbours by land, sea and air1.
The Thai government has also identified ten “S-Curve” industries, which refer to high growth sectors for the EEC, and have announced attractive investment incentives and support schemes to encourage investors.
Singapore companies can find investment opportunities in ten industries: agriculture & biotech, aviation & logistics, biofuels & biochemical, digital, food innovation, medical & wellness tourism, medical services & healthcare, next-generation automotive, robotics, and smart electronics.
Thailand has announced a major cut in personal income tax to 17% for investors in the EEC, land leases of up to 50 years, and a free flow of foreign currencies in the three eastern provinces. Furthermore, a 50% reduction in corporate income tax over a period of five years is also on offer for investors2.
The Eastern Economic Corridor Bill – approved in principle in mid-April 2017 – will amend or suspend more than 100 Thai laws and regulations within the EEC which restrict foreign investment and improve the ease of doing business there2.
1 “Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor – What You Need to Know”, ASEAN Briefing, 29 June 2018
2 “Thailand to develop master plan for closer ties with CLMV”, The Nation, 19 June 2017