In a recently published ranking by US News and World Report for the year 2023, Thailand has been ranked second as the world's best country for starting a business. This recognition comes from the "Best Countries to Start a Business in 2023" report, which carefully evaluates 85 countries based on crucial factors, including tax policies, labor conditions, and other important business-related aspects.
These rankings are also based on five key criteria, including cost efficiency, reduction of red tape, competitive production costs, access to global markets, and availability of financial resources. This recognition confirms Southeast Asia's growing position as a center of business attraction, offering favorable conditions for entrepreneurs and investors.
A Strategic Business Hub with Promising Economic Growth
One of the advantages of starting a business in Thailand is its strategic location as a major gateway to Asia, one of the largest economic markets in the world. Thailand also offers easy trade with China, India, and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Entrepreneurs in Thailand also have easy access to the Greater Mekong Sub-region, which has great business potential. In addition, Thailand's domestic market potential is also large, with a population of more than 71 million.
According to the World Bank, Thailand's economic projections for 2023 also show a significant increase of 3.9%, compared to growth of 2.6% last year. This will be driven by higher-than-expected demand from China, Europe, and the United States, as well as growth in private consumption and a recovery in the tourism sector. This was revealed by the World Bank in its biannual Thailand Economic Monitor report.
The recovery of the tourism sector, especially with the return of tourists from China, is a major boost to Thailand's tourism outlook. Tourist arrivals are expected to reach 28.5 million, surpassing previous estimates and representing 84 percent of the 2019 level. This projection indicates a recovery to pre-pandemic levels by the second half of 2024. This situation provides significant benefits to businesses that rely on overseas customers, especially businesses such as hotels and restaurants that rely heavily on the tourism sector.
In terms of wages, Thailand's wage levels are relatively low compared to Western countries. While the minimum daily wage varies depending on an employee's skill level and experience, it is in the range of around $10.2 per day, according to data from the East Asia Forum as of 2022.
On the other hand, for more than three decades, the Thai government has recognized the key role of the private sector in supporting economic growth and has played an active role in promoting and supporting it.
The Thai government actively encourages foreign business investment that contributes to the development of skills, technology, and innovation. As a result, many multinational corporations (MNCs) have established a presence in Thailand over the decades to be part of the dynamic economic growth.
The Thai government's commitment to reducing red tape and facilitating foreign investment has been consistent over the years. The Board of Industry (BOI) is one of the Thai government's consistent supporters, providing favorable incentives for doing business in the country.
In most cases, no special government approval is required to make a foreign investment, unless one wishes to take advantage of special incentives offered by the BOI. In addition, most industries in Thailand are open to foreign investors.
Southeast Asian Countries Shine in 2023
Moreover, something interesting about the data revealed by US News and World Report is that Thailand is not the only Southeast Asian country standing out in this prestigious list. In addition to Thailand, the Philippines ranked sixth, Viet Nam ranked seventh, and Malaysia ranked ninth.
These rankings for starting a business in 2023 were carefully determined through an extensive survey involving a diverse group of more than 17,000 people around the world. These included 4,600 influential figures in the business world, ranging from top executives in corporations to small business owners who employ workers.