The amount of capital needed to set up a company in Thailand seems like a straightforward question that would beget a straightforward answer. However, that’s not the case. The assets needed to open a company in Thailand are fairly straightforward for Thai nationals but become more complicated once foreigners start getting involved.
The issue of capital is also closely tied to securing work visas, which complicates the matter a bit more. One thing to do when considering the capital needed for opening a company in Thailand is to secure local legal representation. A lawyer working in Thailand that specializes in corporate law and can walk you through the company formation process can be invaluable.
If you don’t already have a lawyer in Thailand, you can find a verified law professional that specializes in exactly what you need at Asia Law Network. ALN has lawyers that are highly knowledgeable about the capital requirements for setting up a company in Thailand.
There are actually no minimum capital requirements for a Thai-owned company, though the amount of registered capital should be enough to reasonably run the type of business proposed.
In theory, if you want to open a limited company with a Thai partner or partners and don’t require work permits for foreigners, the capital needed to open a company in Thailand could be as low as THB 15! This number is reached like this: a limited company needs three shareholders and the minimum value of the shares is THB 5, meaning you need three shares at THB 5 each so that each shareholder may hold one.
A Thai-owned company is defined as one that is at least 51% Thai-owned.
Any company owned by foreigners will most often be a Limited Company structure. The minimal capital needed to set up a Limited Company owned by a foreigner will be THB 2 million, according to Section 14 of the Foreign Business Act.
There are certain areas of business that are only permitted to foreigners under certain conditions and for which licenses must be acquired. These businesses can be found in List 2 and List 3 of the Foreign Business Act. If a foreigner wants to set up a company working in one of these fields, the minimal capital needed will be THB 3 million (also according to Section 14 of the Foreign Business Act) for each activity for which a license is acquired. This list of restricted businesses includes those that could have an adverse effect on Thai arts and culture such as Thai musical instrument production, antiques trading and silkworm farming as well as fields in which Thais are not, by declaration of the government, ready to compete with foreigners. These include: accountancy, legal services, engineering and architecture.
So, if a Limited Company wanted to apply for a license for producing Thai instruments and trading in Thai antiques, the capital requirement will be THB 3 million + THB 3 million equalling a total of THB 6 million to cover a permit for each of the business activities they want to engage in.
Minimum capital is defined as capital to be “used at the commencement of the business operation” according to the FBA.
Work Permits and Capital Requirements
In order to support a work permit, any Limited Company needs to have a minimum paid up capital of THB 2 million per foreign employee they wish to sponsor.
This amount is decreased to THB 1 million if the foreign employee is married to a Thai national.
Companies that are currently benefiting from promotion from the Thai Board of Investments (BOI) are usually granted privileges to obtain work permits for their foreign employees. Find out more about BOI promoted companies here.
According to the Alien Working Act, foreigners can’t work in Thailand unless a work permit has been granted to them by the Department of Employment.
If you need help figuring out the capital needed for opening up a company in Thailand, you can find a verified lawyer to help you at Asia Law Network. Simply type in the region of world you need in help in and the law specialty and choose your new lawyer.
This article is written by Adrian Mah from Asia Law Network.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.