It is no secret that Thailand is a wonderful place for business expansion of foreign entities. Their open-door policy scores better than almost all other Southeast Asian countries in the category of “Ease of Doing Business.” Their score even outranks that of the Philippines, which was once a U.S. territory and has extremely close diplomatic and business relations with the United States. With that said, there are some things you ‘should’ know about doing business there before finalizing expansion to this nation with a rapidly growing economy.
Cultural Differences Can Make or Break You
As with most Asian countries, culture, etiquette, and tradition are extremely important in literally every facet of their lives. When it comes to doing business in Thailand, there are some points of etiquette which you should observe at all times. Pointing at a person is totally taboo, so never try to indicate just who it is you are referring to by pointing a finger! Instead, nod your head in their direction. From table manners to business etiquette, you will be shunned if you are considered to be crass.
Do the Legwork First
You are going to see that many of the finer points new Western businesses need to understand before launching in Thailand are based on those cultural differences. Some products just won’t work well in Southeast Asia, although they do well throughout the Western world. For example, if you are going to open any kind of American restaurant or grocery store in Thailand, alcohol can only be sold or served for a few hours a day! It is only legal to serve or sell alcohol between the hours of 11 AM to 2 PM, and again during the dinnertime hours of 5 PM to Midnight. Some Western club-style restaurants just might not do as well as they would in other countries with liberal liquor laws, so the legwork is vital to what you must know before even submitting an application for a business license.
Cultural Etiquette in Marketing
One of the biggest mistakes many foreign businesses make when starting out in Thailand is to approach marketing in the Western way. Yes, SEO, analytics and things of that nature are much the same but the way in which you advertise products or services can make or break your company. Once again, it is important to understand those cultural differences mentioned above so that any marketing isn’t going to be offensive. It is, therefore, recommended that you hire Thai web marketing services that can bring the best of both worlds together.
Yes, Thailand is extremely friendly to foreign businesses and the process of getting registered to do business is much easier than in many other nations around the world. You might need to amend your business plan to some extent to comply with Thai laws and recognized customs, but once that is done, you can look forward to a prosperous business in The Land of Smiles.