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  1. #1
    Kai
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    Establishing a bioengineering (mostly consulting) company in Thailand

    Hi William,
    I tried to PM you but do not have enough posts for that just yet. Really quickly though, I wanted to ask you about establishing a bioengineering business in Thailand (not straight away, but in 1-2 years time).

    Iíll be working there for the next year or two (sponsored fellowship, visa etc sorted) but wanted to look at longer term options as well like establishing a companyÖ Iíve been up for consulting before and have some great friends there. With great friends, good work connections, and good access to the rest of Asia, I thought I had found the ideal place to do business around Asia (I already do some work in the area but its a long flight from Australia or the States ).

    Then I read a few of your articles on registering a company (something I had planned to do) and buying a place (again, something I had wanted to do if staying for more than a year) and have begun to rethink my plans. So, before jumping into anything long term I wanted to ask the following.
    Is it possible for a foreigner/alien to establish an LLC specializing in biotechnology/bioengineering consulting (might do some import or export, but more consulting on projects), or would something in that field require 51% Thai ownership? Having a Thai partner isnít a problem for me as Iíve got a great friend there in the field that I have known for a few years, but it complicates things in so far as working with some other foreign partners.

    Secondly, if I can establish this type of company in Thailand, would I be able to take on projects in Thailand (ie could I get a permit to work) or would I be limited to working on projects outside of Thailand? I currently have projects elsewhere, and while Thailand is a pretty good location for reaching the other places I work, Iíd like to be able to do some projects locally as well. Another friend told me to make it easy on myself and just get married (he's trying to set me up with a cousin of his ) but I'd rather get things going with my career first, and get married a little later on.


    Thanks for the time and advice!

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
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    Kai

    I think Bioengineering will be a restricted business under the Foreign Business Act. As such I would need to look into that.

    Having said that, your writing style indicates to me that you are an American, if that's the case we may be able to establish an exception for you under the US-Thai Treaty. In this case, you would need to act fairly quickly, as the US-Thai Treaty is close to expiring and new registrations may only be accepted for a limited time.

  3. #3
    lom
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    Quote Originally Posted by William
    the US-Thai Treaty is close to expiring
    By end of this year, isn´t it ?

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
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    was meant to be last year, but because the new FTA has not been agreed the Ministry of Commerce is still accepting new applications/registrations.

  5. #5
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    I think you'll find that if you have bio engineering skills and want to be in Asia then the place to go would be Singapore - They are actively promoting Singapore and a center of excellence in Bio Engineering.

    Unlike Thailand's Hubs, Singapore gets down to business and really helps out.

  6. #6
    diaw
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    Thailand has a course running at Chula for Nanotechnology & this is probably the closest they'll dream of getting to BioEngineering.

    Singapore would be, by far, your better bet... leagues further, in fact. Tax-breaks for ?3-5 years?, cheap office space etc.

    Thailand will just lose you money & Singapore is a prefered 'street-address'.

  7. #7
    I am in Jail
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy
    Unlike Thailand's Hubs, Singapore gets down to business and really helps out.
    Yep, that about sum it up


    Quote Originally Posted by diaw
    Thailand will just lose you money & Singapore is a prefered 'street-address'.
    wise answer, definitely. Not including the bar fines and other silly entertainment that will get into the way. Thailand is just one big distraction. Nothing is serious here, or should be taken seriously. Well, at least it's how I see life here.

  8. #8
    diaw
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    ^ A very good summary, BF...

    Nothing is serious here, or should be taken seriously
    This is so very true about so many aspects of Thai life. It's like living in an eternal game of chaos, where no-one gives a darn.

  9. #9
    Kai
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    Hello everyone, and thank you for all of the replies.

    William, I am indeed from the States, so if you could provide me with some more information about establishing a company under the US-Thai treaty that would be great (if you can email me at ausshootofan @ hotmail.com sans the two spaces I'll get back to you straight away).

    As for all of the other advice, I will definitely take all of it in. Just from my time in the field in general, I realize that there is a great deal of research going on in Singapore, and even from my limited (second hand) knowledge of business in the country, they are very supportive of foreigners coming in to do business. Thank you all for confirming that, I will be headed over to visit early next year.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
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    ^ OK mate. At home now, but will do something for you in the a.m.

    EDIT: I should add that the US-Treaty will have no effect on your ability to own a home/property in Thailand, insofar as that consitutes "land", as this is carved-out of the US-Treaty. Sorry

  11. #11
    Kai
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    I almost forgot...

    I have run into a few people in the nanotech program at Chula. They were intelligent, very nice to chat to, and have a great desire to expand both their program and commercial research in the field in Thailand. I am more familiar with people and research in the bio side of things, and while the research outside of the universities is limited it does exist.

    I think any country with descent researchers (which Thailand has), some (not necessarily endless) funding, and supportive policies from the government (this is the area where I can't comment yet) can find an area in which to specialize in the bioengineering field. One of the keys is partnering with the right institutions or companies - no need to reinvent the wheel - and moving forward in areas where you can leverage existing expertise or experience into new projects.

    In deference to Singapore though, even a cursory search of the web provides a great deal of information on doing business there, and you quickly get the impression that they actively want people to come over to engage in (and contribute to) their economy.

  12. #12
    Kai
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    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    ^ OK mate. At home now, but will do something for you in the a.m.

    EDIT: I should add that the US-Treaty will have no effect on your ability to own a home/property in Thailand, insofar as that consitutes "land", as this is carved-out of the US-Treaty. Sorry
    Hi William, thank you for the note. As for buying land... the board has scared me off of a condo (not fond of the idea of depreciating realestate) so I would probably look at a 30 year lease if I decide to do some work out of Thailand.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
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    slightly topicial article in today's Nation:

    BIOTECHNOLOGY

    Thai and S Korean experts to discuss collaboration at Biotec this month The National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec), under the Science and Technology Ministry, and the Korean Research Institute of Biotechnology and Bioscience have joined forces to organise a business-to-business meeting between South Korean bio-industries and Biotec.


    The aim is to explore research collaboration which could lead to possible mutual investment. The meeting will be held on November 30 at the Biotec offices in Thailand Science Park.


    South Korea's biotechnology industry offers export opportunities in certain sub-segments, particularly biotech equipment/instruments, biopharmaceuticals, biochemistry, and biotech services.
    With domestic production totalling 1.9 trillion Korean won (Bt74 billion) in 2002, its biotech industry accounted for 1.4 per cent of the world market. Exports in 2002 were US$700 million (Bt25.6 billion). Although the market is now relatively small, Korea has set an ambitious target of accounting for 10 per cent of the world's bio-industry in the future. Biotechnology is one of 10 key industries singled out by Seoul as future economic growth engines. - The Nation.

  14. #14
    Kai
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    Hi William,
    Very interesting article, cheers. I've got some good mates from Korea, but they're all in mechanical or civil engineering. They do have a pretty good mix of basic science and applied biotech though, and they work some long hours as well. They put all but my most dedicated (or crazy) friends in Japan to shame in regards to time spent at work.

  15. #15
    diaw
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    I would say that the Singaporean approach will, in the end, turn out to be better structured than the Thai approach. This has a lot to do with the Singaporean mindset versus the Thai mindset.

    Singapore has worked its development along a well thought out strategic plan, whereas Thailand tends to make flash (fashionable) decisions.

    If I had the choice, I would rate Singapore 75%, Thailand 25% at best. Thailand are unlikely to become leaders in any field until they develop a structured technology plan based on known capability & expertise within the Thai community. At the moment, one gets the distinct impression that they are jumping into anything that may have potential, instead of measuring exisiting capability & projecting forward against a clear plan.

    A bird's-eye-view:
    Thailand = unplanned & chaotic
    Singapore = planned & controlled

  16. #16
    I am in Jail
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    and that's why you will find that most weirdo like to stick around in Thailand

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