Buying a business in Thailand: Practical guide 2024

International Freight Forwarder

Buying a business in Thailand

Have you ever wondered how to buy a business in Thailand and make it a thriving success?

This article will guide you through the crucial steps and essential considerations for buying and managing a business in Thailand, with a focus on popular destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui.

Whether you are an experienced investor or a novice, this comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable information for success.

  • Visas and entry formalities in Thailand
  • Living costs, job opportunities, and investment prospects
  • Steps to buy a business in Thailand

Reasons to start your business in Thailand

Buying a business in Thailand presents many economic and strategic advantages, making it an attractive option for international investors.

Robust economic growth

Thailand enjoys stable economic growth, supported by rapid industrialization and increasing foreign investments. 

According to the World Bank report, Thailand's GDP grew by 2.4% in 2023, demonstrating impressive economic resilience despite global challenges. This growth offers a fertile ground for new businesses and investors.

Massive tourist influx

Thailand is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year. In 2023, the country welcomed over 40 million tourists, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. 

This influx creates a constant demand for various services and products, making local businesses particularly profitable.

Attractive government incentives

The Thai government actively encourages foreign investments with favorable policies and tax incentives. 

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) offer advantages such as tax exemptions and administrative facilities. The Board of Investment (BOI) of Thailand also provides support for projects aligned with national priorities, especially in technology and ecology sectors.

According to Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD):

Thailand continues to offer a business-friendly environment with world-class infrastructure and access to dynamic markets in Asia.

Moreover, John Smith, an established investor in Koh Samui, highlights:

The appeal of Thailand lies in its unique combination of economic potential and pleasant living environment. It's a place where businesses can thrive.

These combined factors make Thailand a top destination for buying and managing successful businesses.

Steps to buy a business in Thailand

Research the business, evaluate it, conduct legal checks, negotiate the purchase, and finalize with specialized legal advice.

Creating a business in Thailand: What visa do you need?

To create and manage a business in Thailand, a businessman must obtain a non-immigrant B (Business Visa) and a work permit. Here’s how to proceed:

Non-Immigrant B visa

The non-immigrant B visa is essential for any foreigner wishing to establish a business in Thailand. To obtain it, you must:

  • Apply at the Thai embassy or consulate in your home country.
  • Provide supporting documents, such as an invitation letter from the Thai company, financial proof, and a detailed business plan.
  • Undergo a security and background check to ensure you meet the required criteria set by Thai authorities.

Work permit

Once the visa is obtained, the work permit is the next crucial step. To acquire it:

  • Submit an application to the Department of Employment with the required documents, including a copy of your passport, a criminal record certificate, and the employment contract.
  • Provide company documents: proof of company registration, employer status, and financial statements.
  • Wait for approval, usually within a few weeks.

Me. Ananda, a lawyer specializing in business law in Thailand, advises:

It is very important to prepare your documents well and understand local requirements to avoid delays.

By following these steps, you can effectively navigate the process of creating a business in Thailand and operate legally.

Opening a bank account for your business in Thailand

Opening a bank account is an essential step for managing your business finances in Thailand. Here’s how to proceed:

Choosing a bank

Select a bank known for its business services, such as Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, or Kasikorn Bank. These institutions offer services dedicated to foreign investors.

Prepare the necessary documents

To open a bank account, you will need to provide:

  • Certificate of company registration: proof that your company is legally registered in Thailand.
  • Identification documents: copies of your passport and non-immigrant B visa.
  • Work permit: confirmation of your authorization to work in Thailand.
  • Company statutes: details on the company's structure and shareholders.

Opening process

  • Make an Appointment: Contact the bank to schedule a meeting with an advisor.
  • Submit Documents: Present all required documents and fill out necessary forms.
  • Deposit Initial Capital: Some banks require a minimum deposit to open a business account.

Marie, the owner of a restaurant in Koh Samui, recommends:

Choose a bank with robust online services to facilitate daily management.

Moreover, according to Mr. Somchai, a banking advisor:

Working with a banking representative who speaks English can greatly simplify the process for foreign investors.

Following these steps will ensure smooth and effective financial management for your business in Thailand.

Opening a business in Thailand: Areas to consider

Choosing the right location for your business is crucial for its success. Phuket and Koh Samui are among the most popular and promising destinations for investors.

Business for sale in Phuket

Phuket is a top tourist destination, offering excellent opportunities for businesses. 

The most promising sectors include hospitality, catering, and leisure services. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand report, Phuket hosted over 10 million tourists in 2023, boosting demand for various services and products.

Le Café de la Mer, a restaurant chain launched by Jean, a French entrepreneur, has seen great success in Phuket. Jean shares:

Phuket offers the perfect mix of tourists and expatriate residents, creating a diverse and stable customer base.

Opening a business in Koh Samui

Koh Samui, although smaller than Phuket, also attracts many tourists and expatriates. 

Advantages include an idyllic setting and a thriving business community. However, challenges include higher import costs and less developed infrastructure.

Where to find business for sale in Thailand?

Finding the right business to buy in Thailand requires consulting the right resources. Here is a list of reputable sites and real estate agencies to assist in your search:

  • Bahtsold
    A popular site for business and property sale listings in Thailand. You can find a wide range of options, from small cafes to large hotels.
  • ThaiBizPost
    This site offers listings specifically for businesses for sale. It is particularly useful for those looking for opportunities in various sectors.
  • FazWaz
    A well-established real estate platform in Thailand, offering detailed business for sale listings with advanced filtering options to refine your search.
  • DDProperty
    Known for its vast database of properties and businesses, this platform allows easy comparison of different available offers on the market.
  • Siam Real Estate
    A renowned real estate agency offering comprehensive services, including personalized advice and business listings throughout Thailand.
  • RE/MAX Thailand
    A branch of the famous international real estate franchise, RE/MAX offers professional services for business purchases, with strong local presence and international expertise.
  • CBRE Thailand
    CBRE is a leading real estate agency offering comprehensive solutions for buying and selling businesses in Thailand. Their website provides detailed listings and market analyses.
  • BusinessBro
    Specialized in business sales in Thailand, BusinessBro offers specific business listings, with support and advice options for potential buyers.

Consulting these sites and agencies will increase your chances of finding the perfect business that matches your needs and investment goals in Thailand.

Budget and financing for buying a business in Thailand

Investing in a business in Thailand requires a clear understanding of the costs involved and the financing options available to foreign investors. Here is a detailed overview to help you plan your investment.

Cost estimation

The costs of buying a business in Thailand can vary greatly depending on several factors, including location, type of business, and size of the enterprise.

Type of BusinessAverage Cost (in THB)Average Cost (in USD)
Small cafe or restaurant500,000 – 2,000,00015,000 – 60,000
Retail shop700,000 – 3,000,00021,000 – 90,000
Hotel or guesthouse5,000,000 – 50,000,000150,000 – 1,500,000
Spa or wellness center1,000,000 – 10,000,00030,000 – 300,000

Financing options

To finance the purchase of a business in Thailand, several options are available to foreign investors:

  • Local bank loans : Some Thai banks offer commercial loans to foreigners, but conditions can be strict and may require significant collateral. Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank are among the institutions offering this type of financing.
  • Personal investments : Using personal funds is a common method to finance the purchase of a business. This avoids complications related to obtaining bank loans and can speed up the purchase process.
  • Local partnerships : Forming a partnership with a Thai investor can facilitate access to financing and offer additional benefits, such as better understanding of local regulations and the market.
  • International loans : Some investors choose to obtain loans from international banks or their home countries. This option can offer more favorable loan terms and increased flexibility.

According to a CBRE Thailand report, foreign investments in Thai SMEs increased by 12% in 2023, indicating increased confidence in the local market. 

Additionally, the average cost of buying a business in Thailand remains competitive compared to other countries in the region, offering good value for money for investors.

In summary, understanding the costs involved and exploring available financing options are crucial steps to successfully buying a business in Thailand. 

What fields to open your business in Thailand

For foreign entrepreneurs, deciding the right sector is crucial to maximize the chances of success in Thailand. Here are some promising fields:

Tourism and hospitality

In 2023, Thailand welcomed over 40 million visitors, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. This constant influx of tourists creates enormous demand for hotels, guesthouses, and tourist services. 

Businesses in this sector benefit from a stable and growing market.

Food and beverage

Thai cuisine is famous worldwide, and restaurants offering authentic culinary experiences or innovative concepts can thrive. 

Tourist areas like Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai are particularly favorable for new establishments. 

According to a Thai Restaurant Association report, the food and beverage sector grew by 8% in 2023.

Services and wellness

Wellness services, such as spas, massage centers, and beauty clinics, are in high demand, fueled by health and wellness tourism. 

Sarah, owner of a spa in Koh Samui, testifies:

The wellness market in Thailand is booming, with clients looking for quality services.


E-commerce is growing rapidly in Thailand, with a 15% increase in online sales in 2023, according to eMarketer. Entrepreneurs can tap into this trend by launching online stores or home delivery services. 

Platforms like Lazada and Shopee dominate the market, offering opportunities for newcomers.

Logistics and transport

With the rise of e-commerce and international trade, the demand for efficient and reliable logistics services is increasing. offers cutting-edge logistics solutions, tailored to the needs of businesses in Thailand. We offer sea freight and air freight, as well as supply chain management advice to optimize your business operations.

Open your business in Thailand?

Buying a business in Thailand offers unique opportunities thanks to its dynamic economy and tourist appeal. Follow the key steps, choose promising sectors, and consult experts. For optimal logistics solutions, request a quote from Worldgistic. 

For more information on logistics and transportation in Thailand, see our FAQ about freight in Thailand.


Worldgistic is the number one international freight forwarder in Southeast Asia and Europe. With over 15 years of experience and a team of qualified experts, choose Worldgistic!

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