Thailand “in Russian”: 11 ideas for starting a business in Thailand

Thailand is a country with a favorable climate and business opportunities. While some come here to relax, someone is trying to open their own business. How do Russians make money in Thailand?

When you think about what kind of business you can open in Thailand, you will immediately run into a problem. The thing is that Thai law prohibits foreigners from engaging in certain activities. Therefore, you have to choose from what is officially allowed. From that moment on, stories about the super-profitable business of Russians in Thailand seem like fairy tales. Let’s figure out what it is – Thai business “in Russian.”

Business rules

If you are planning to open your own business in Thailand, then first of all you should familiarize yourself with the local legislation and determine the area in which you want to realize your potential. Thai law takes care of the local population as much as possible. According to the laws, you are prohibited from engaging in activities that the Thai people can perform. For example, foreigners are not allowed to engage in needlework, agriculture, woodcarving…  

If you have sufficient capital, you can open an enterprise, creating new jobs. For the Thai people, this is very important. The labor force in the country is cheap, the state takes on social guarantees for the worker. So you, as an employer, also benefit from this situation. When creating your own company in Thailand, you should remember that most of it (although 51%) must be owned by a Thai citizen.

What you need to start a business in Thailand

To open a business in Thailand, you will have to go through several stages:

  1. Open a business visa. To do this, you need to contact the Thai embassy in your home country. Sometimes a business plan is required to open a visa.
  2. Find several Thai partners who will become co-owners of the firm. They must provide their written consent to conduct business.
  3. Arriving in Thailand, you must visit the Commerce Department to obtain a list of documents required for business registration.
  4. When you prepare all the documents, you will have to pay the state duty. On average, it will take 30,000-35,000 baht to register an enterprise (at the time of writing, this is about 63-73 thousand rubles).

Business registration

To register a business in Thailand, you need to have THB 2 million in your account. In terms of rubles, this is 4.2 million. In addition, you should find several Thai co-founders.  

The further registration process includes the following steps:

  1. You need to come up with and approve the name of the company. You should have at least three options, in case the name is already in use by someone. It is desirable that the name be written in Thai.
  2. Draw up a foundation agreement: it indicates the name of the company, its address, type of activity, information about the founders with signatures, as well as the amount of nominal capital.
  3. To hold a meeting of shareholders, at which duties are distributed and positions are appointed. There must also be a Charter – it will be required for registration.
  4. Within 60 days after registration, you will receive a taxpayer number – TaxID. With it, you can open a bank account.

Some advice for those who are planning to open a business in Thailand

  1. Study the Thai market in order to choose the right field of activity in which you can make high profits;
  2. Use the services of lawyers who will help you with all the paperwork. And if you do not speak Thai, bring an interpreter to the case;
  3. Take as partners only those Thais in whom you are sure;
  4. To avoid unforeseen situations in business, draw up agreements and contracts indicating all the details. And for this, again, it is better to use the services of a lawyer.

From all this information, one thing is clear so far: owning a business in Thailand is not an easy task, but it is quite feasible. And in what areas do Russian businessmen work?

Types of Russian business in Thailand

1. Bars and cafes

To open a bar or cafe in a good location, you will need to invest 2 million baht, or 4.2 million rubles. This price is due to the abundance of such establishments in every Thai resort. You can recoup such investments in a year, if you’re lucky. But here you will have to face a problem – serious competition. It will take away some of your income. Another part of the profit will go away due to the seasonality of tourists. Tourists will disappear – and there will be no one to earn money for the bar.

But the main problem that foreign restaurateurs complain about is the staff. It’s all about the Thai mentality and the attitude of the locals to work. Therefore, Russian businessmen prefer to hire former compatriots living in Thailand. You can make money in the restaurant business in Thailand. But it’s more of an opportunity to earn a living than a way to get rich.

2. Renting apartments

The Thai real estate market is stable and profitable, which is what attracts Russian businessmen. To find a property to buy, it is better to contact local agencies – this will avoid many problems. When buying an apartment or house, you should be aware that the cost of real estate for foreigners is much higher than for the local population. To save money, you need to have your own company in Thailand. It is most profitable to buy real estate at the construction stage – then the apartment costs 1.5-2 times lower.

Luxury housing in the tourist area costs about 3 million baht (6.3 million rubles). The monthly rental payment for such housing is almost 38 thousand rubles. This means that the initial investment in real estate will pay off in a few years. The rental of residential real estate is regulated by condominiums (these are residential complexes owned by several owners). You need to get permission from them to rent out the purchased property.

3. Russian grocery store

Thai food seems specific to many Russians. Most of those who cannot stand the local cuisine try to cook at home and eat more familiar food. But the problem is that some products (for example, cereals, sausages) cannot be found in Thailand.

Therefore, a profitable and relevant idea is to open a Russian grocery store. The advantages of such a business: firstly, you do not have to advertise the store – word of mouth will do everything for you; secondly, you can save on rent and rent a retail space in a cheap area – your store will still be found; thirdly, such a business does not require large investments – you can sell even cheap products with a huge margin.

4. Vehicle rental point

This business is very popular among foreigners. The license will cost a penny, and you can earn decent money on it. There is always a demand for mopeds and cars. During the season, you can make a profit on which you will live all year.

The business scheme is simple: if you have a company registered in Thailand, then you just need to rent a commercial space, purchase vehicles and rent them out. The main problem in this business is high competition. And the most profitable places have long been occupied.

5. Kindergarten in Thailand

No matter how strange it may seem, but opening a kindergarten in Thailand is a very profitable business. Especially during the tourist season. The kindergarten is used by: the local population; tourists who came with children and want to leave the children under supervision for a while; foreigners with a permanent job; winterers from different countries. To run this business, you need to get a license. To do this, find a room that will meet all the requirements.

Kindergarten services are quite expensive. For one month, parents will have to pay from 4,000 to 10,000 baht (from 8,000 to 20,000 thousand rubles).

Business nuances:

  • You will need to organize different language groups – and provide a teacher for each. And these are additional labor costs;
  • Parents pay for food separately;
  • Prices in language groups are usually 20-40% more expensive than in mixed or Thai groups.

6. Supplier in HoReCa

There are a huge number of HoReCa enterprises operating in Thailand. How is their supply chain arranged? Usually someone goes to the market or to the supermarket early in the morning. Almost no one delivers their products on their own, perhaps with the exception of beer and alcohol companies. You can become a supplier – and occupy a profitable niche. Another option is to become an agent of some large supplier and work with him.

7. Furniture export from Thailand

Thailand produces beautiful teak, rosewood and rattan furniture. Such products will certainly be in demand abroad.  

The algorithm is this: 

  • enter into a contract with a Thai manufacturing company;
  • select the post where you will be issued, and register at customs. If necessary, order certificates for products;
  • pay for the goods;
  • deliver by sea;
  • sell furniture.

8. Travel agency

The most obvious option for Russians is to open their own travel company. This requires little capital. Many Russian agencies work directly with Thais, who take a certain percentage as payment for their services.

Many Russians get a job as a guide. There are many such people in Pattaya and Phuket. But they work informally. The thing is that Thai law prohibits foreigners from conducting excursions. Therefore, officially you can only deal with organizational issues related to excursions.

Keep in mind that in Thailand you need to be afraid not only of the local mentality and laws, but also of our compatriots. It is not uncommon for Russians caught in illegal business activities, mostly travel agents and tour guides, to work in cooperation with the police. They are engaged in helping the authorities to work with illegal immigrants – young guys who have decided to come to Thailand and earn some money as guides. Although they are not officially hired, Thai firms are interested in such people. But they work, in most cases, until the first police raid, after which they either go home “with a wolf ticket” or are engaged in snitching on their own compatriots.

9. Language school in Thailand

You can set up your own language school and train local guides in Russian. If the business picks up, then a multilingual school or a school for Russian children in Thailand could be established.

10. Buy a ready-made business in Thailand

The Internet is full of ads for the sale of a ready-made business in Thailand. For many, this seems like an attractive idea and a good investment. But let’s figure it out. Just like that, no one will sell a profitable business. The reasons “I’m tired”, “I’m returning home” do not inspire confidence. Someone else’s business – darkness. We may not be aware of the pitfalls due to which the owner sells a ready-made, well-established business. Therefore, in most cases, you are not buying a business, but a pig in a poke.

If you come across a really good offer and you are thinking about buying, try to find out as much as possible about it. Talk to Russians who live nearby and may know something about this situation. In most cases, they sell a ready-made business related to real estate, entertainment and tourism. Finding an offer that fits your budget is easy. But before making an acquisition, you need to weigh the pros and cons so as not to throw money away.

11. Online business

Of course, most of the legal complexities and pitfalls associated with national characteristics will disappear in the online format. If you have a stable Internet, then in principle, you can consider any type of  online business  or  ways to make money online . With the development of social networks and various online platforms, the number of options to make money on the Internet is growing rapidly. Therefore, if you are friends with the network, be sure to consider  Vkontakte ,  Telegram ,  YouTube ,  TikTok .

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