Open a Retail Business in Thailand

Updated on Friday 09th September 2016

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Foreign entrepreneurs who are interested to open a retail business in Thailand can take advantage of the country’s strategic position in Asia, which is beneficial due to its geographic location as a gateway to the center of Asia, with convenient access to the dynamic markets of the area, as well as due to its own consumer market of around 67.9 million inhabitants.

Thailand is a shopping destination for tourists coming from all over the world, but it also has profitable trade with India, China and the countries which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The retail industry in Thailand

When opening a retail business in Thailand, it is good to know that the entire value of sales registered a better performance in 2015 compared to the previous year, due to the national political and economic factors which became more stable. Retail businesses developed new outlets in Bangkok as well as other non-urban areas. For grocery, fashion and sport items, there was a higher demand in stores, and when it came to non-grocery items like consumer electronics and appliances, there was a record sale.

The retail industry is expected to develop in variety in the following years, with new outlets increasing in numbers and new modern store layouts and formats to be opened to respond to the consumers’ lifestyles. Local retailing will not only attempt to respond to local demand, but also to international tourists who are projected to subsidize greater value of sales, particularly for goods such as apparel, footwear, jewelry and bags. Our company formation professionals in Thailand can offer more information on the retail industry in the country. 

Opening a retail company in Thailand

Retail companies in the country owned by foreign citizens are regulated by the Foreign Business Act of 1999. According to the Act, if you are looking to open a retail business in Thailand, you must obtain the Foreign Business License, the business being defined as List Three of the Foreign Business Act. These Licenses are issued entirely by the Director-General of the Department of Business Development in Thailand under the Ministry of Commerce, with the approval of the Alien Business Operations Committee. If the permission is issued, the retail business can be owned 100% by the foreign investor and you can open the retail company in Thailand.

For more details about the retail industry in Thailand, as well as other business prospects and information, please get in touch with our Thai company formation advisors.