Doing business in Thailand

Referred to as the Gateway to Asia, Thailand has maintained its economic relations with Europe ever since the 15th century, when Vasco da Gama established the first European contact with a country from the Far East. When analyzing the contemporary trade relations, however, both the European and Asian economic landscapes have undergone many transformations. Nevertheless, most of the European countries have maintained their close ties with Thailand over the years. For instance, the European Association for Business and Commerce (EABC), situated in Bangkok, works to increase the European Trade and Investment in Thailand and aims to improve the market opportunities for both Thai and European companies. Some of the most developed sectors in terms of international relations are Automotive, Food and Beverage, Insurance, Transport, and Energy. What’s more, a Free Trade Agreement between the countries from the European Union and Thailand was in motion in 2014. Following the coup against the 2014-elected democratic government in Thailand, talks regarding the agreement have been indefinitely shelved, causing the Thai fishing and fruit industries to suffer significant losses in terms of the amount of exported goods.

Further improvement of the Thai investment climate

This hasn’t stopped the Thai economy and trade from further developing and expanding. In 2015, the total bilateral trade between them was estimated to 32.0 billion euros, making Thailand Europe’s third trade partner, after China and Japan. 60% of Thailand’s GDP is made up of exports, such as machinery, transport equipment and food products. Evidently, the country is becoming more and more attractive for foreign investors, providing a skilled and cost-efficient workforce and a new, vibrant consumer market that is highly interested in Western culture. Thailand’s investment policies encourage free trade and support the forging of foreign business relations, which is why it has become one of the most important investment destinations in the EU. Thailand is a part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), uniting a market of over 580 million consumers. Ranked as the 8th most attractive host economy for 2014-2016, Thailand is the new promised land for businesses from all industries and sizes.

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The cost of doing business in Thailand and the road to success

It might come as a surprise, but doing business in Thailand is actually way cheaper than in other Asian countries, such as India and China. With low corporate taxes, low inflation and living costs, cost-effective workforce, it is the perfect environment for a company to thrive. Moreover, its currency- the Thai Baht, is one of the best-performing ones, remaining more stable than the Japanese Yen, for instance.

doing business in thailandThe biggest barrier in establishing a successful business venture within the country remains the language and local culture. Because of how culturally diverse Thailand is, you are most likely going to encounter various work ethics and traditions when establishing business relationships. Therefore, in order to avoid any misunderstandings and be on good terms with your associates, you need to adopt a more indirect, contextual style of communication. For Thais, a good work relationship is based on mutual respect, so it is important for you to remember that this type of trust is not gained overnight. This applies not only to your internal communication within your company, but also for the way you approach your customers. While aiming to attract and retain foreign customers is understandable, you can’t afford to disregard the local Thai consumer. They are the ones who will truly help in integrating your business within the local market and will aid in its future scalability.

Get some professional help for the language barrier

These cultural and ethical differences can be of major significance for the successful integration of your business within the market. However, between managing your team of employees and adjusting your product to meet the market’s preferences, it will be difficult for you to also thoroughly research the country’s linguistic and behavioral specifics. This is where you can use the help of professionals with experience in the localization industry- having the knowledge and experience of linguistic specialists at your disposal will allow for smooth and quick integration within the local business landscape. The Thais are well-known for their prominent authoritative pattern and emotional restraint when doing business- having a translation expert who is familiar with their communication practices will allow you to negotiate more efficiently and build a good relationship with your new partners.

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Outside of the managerial staff, few people within a company are going to be fluent English speakers. This can put you at a disadvantage as you won’t be able to obtain control over your company’s internal communication. Therefore, many business experts and local professionals are certain that learning the language is more than crucial. However, if you still haven’t managed to do so, the professional services of translation agents will ensure smooth communication between the local and foreign members of the company and the execution of any future projects.

In conclusion

Establishing a business venture in Thailand can be a lucrative opportunity, keeping in mind the fast-developing economy of the country and its diverse market. That being said, there are significant challenges for international investors, such as language and cultural differences. The best practice when it comes to successfully integrating your business is to use the services of professionals within the translation and localization industries. A well-thought-out localization strategy and good translation services are more than necessary for the all-around successfulness of your enterprise overseas, and here, at 1-StopAsia, we can help you achieve that. Thailand is a country which has a promising future in terms of trade and investment, and, with the help of professional translation experts, the risk you’ve taken by establishing a business overseas will be well worth it.