Thailand is a prime example of the great strides in economic growth and technology adoption that Southeast Asian countries have made in recent years. With an estimated 74% market penetration of mobile users and 82% market penetration of internet users penetration across the country, Thailand and its people are embracing the digital age and global business opportunities. Senior officials from the Thailand Board of Investment and Digital Economy Promotion Agency visited Silicon Valley last week to share the government’s new incentives and initiatives to support businesses interested in expanding to Thailand.
Supported by the Thailand Board of Investment, 10XInnovationLab and Panorama (previously known as Startups Greater Asia) organized an evening of conversations and networking at SAP.io to gather entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and investors interested in learning about the business opportunities in Thailand and best practices in building global partnerships.
Global Relationships Expands Businesses
10XInnovationLab and Panorama (previously known as Startups Greater Asia) invited Mitchell Weinstock, Partner at HP Tech Ventures; Chatchai Khunpitiluck, Senior Vice President of Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA); Shuchi Rana, Director at SAP.io Foundry; and Christina Lee, Vice President of International Growth at Chegg to discuss their experiences working with Asian partners, how they think about expansion strategy, and what they consider key ingredients for developing successful partnerships in Asia.
Among many points made, Mitchell from HP Tech Ventures noted that his relationships with foreign trade offices have enabled him to scale the global reach of the HP investment team. Shuchi from SAP.io shared how startups accepted to the Foundry have been able to leverage SAPs global network for expansion and that SAP.io continue to explore expansion beyond their Asian locations in Singapore and Tokyo. Christina from Chegg described how they have organically grown a global audience and use product-market fit to set their expansion strategy. Chatchai from DEPA points out that, in addition to its vibrant digital nomad community, Thailand has been a friendly environment for homegrown and foreign companies, such as Line, who has not only expanded to Thailand but created new lines of business in Thailand that Line then brought back to other geographic markets (including its home market).
At Panorama (previously known as Startups Greater Asia) and 10XInnovationLab, we have seen many examples of companies that use foreign markets to maintain a high rate of growth or find success in a geographic market that was more suited to the company’s products and great partners are a key ingredient in those companies’ successes.
Resources and Support from Thailand
Many US companies don’t think of government resources when growing their businesses and overlook the many benefits of connecting and building relationships with foreign trade offices and agencies when they go abroad.
At the evening keynote, Chanin Khaochan, Executive Director at the Information Management Center of Thailand’s Board of Investment shares quantitative and qualitative insights about the opportunities and support for US business in Thailand. Not only is there exploding demand for new technology and business solutions, but Thailand has also launched key incentive programs and resources for foreign companies.
- A strategic location in Asia — Easy access to China, India, East Asia and other parts of Southeast Asia.
- Top digital infrastructure — Ranked #2 in the region for internet speeds and the development of submarine cables and nationwide fiber network is underway.
- Favorable business incentives — Through the Thailand Board of Investment, qualifying companies can receive waivers/permits for actions that would otherwise be restricted, such as foreign ownership of land. Thailand Board of Investment can also guide companies to applicable tax incentives. Many of these programs are long term (up to 5–7 years).
- Smart visa program — Unified visa programs allow foreigners to more easily work in Thailand and for companies to more easily bring their workers to their strategic outpost in Thailand.
- Vibrant talent pool — A growing tech worker population and existing digital nomad community.
For more on the Thailand ecosystem from the Board of Investment:
There are great resources available for companies looking to expand globally from trade offices such as the Thailand Board of Investment and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency of Thailand.
We also appreciate the key insights Mitchell from HP, Shuchi from SAP.io and Christina from Chegg provided us on leveraging the international networks of corporate partners and building cross-border relationships.
We give a big thanks to the Thailand Board of Investment, our panelists and our great partners for sharing these opportunities with us! We welcome you to connect with us and join us at our future events and programs!
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