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Open to Growth Reasons why investors and startups should come to run businesses in Thailand

18 กุมภาพันธ์ 2566 1,240

Open to Growth Reasons why investors and startups should come to run businesses in Thailand

Bangkok, 1 February 2023 -- The National Innovation Agency, (Public Organization), or NIA, is accelerating its goal to push Thailand into the top 30 of the world's innovative countries and is stimulating investment in start-ups through a variety of strategies such as facilitating innovation for foreign investors, the establishment of the Smart Visa project with the co-operation of the BOI and the establishment of a Global Startup Hub. The NIA also revealed 4 factors contributing to innovative business operations such as having an Innovation District for business operations, with Bangkok being a city that is conducive to startup business operations, being a country with a reasonable cost of living, and with the lifestyles of Thai people having a unique identity. In addition, there are also ways to build relationships with leading countries such as Japan and France to strengthen innovation in Thailand.

Dr. Pun-arj Chairatana, Executive Director of the National Innovation Agency, said the NIA aimed to drive Thailand toward becoming an "Innovative country" and for it to be ranked among the top 30 global innovation countries by 2030. Therefore, the NIA is committed to supporting and fostering an ecosystem conducive to innovation in both startups and SMEs, as well as accelerating capacity building and developing human resources to become an important force in industrial development through support in knowledge, funding, networks and the Smart Visa project, which is special type of visa issued in conjunction with the BOI to attract foreigners to do business or to invest in Thailand.

This includes the establishment of world-class startup centers in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to serve as a area for startups or investors in Thailand, both Thais and foreigners, to conduct business activities and to receive services in various fields together, such as business consulting, marketing, legal and intellectual property, the networking of startups and investors as well as being an inspirational space for starting an innovative business. This is also a platform for investors and startups to negotiate to expand their businesses as well.

“Foreign investors and startups are another important factors that will drive Thailand towards becoming a country of innovation and to invest in innovative business in Thailand.  This includes having some of the world's largest potential businesses in food technology and agricultural products in Thailand, such as the Thai Union Group Co., Ltd., the world's leading seafood producer and distributor, and the world's third-largest sugar producer, the Mitr Phol Group. These organizations have the human resources to drive food innovation with deep technology. As a result, 60% of the food technology startups, both Thai and foreign, have received funding in the third quarter, reflecting the potential and readiness of the large private sector in Thailand and its readiness to increase its business capabilities through innovation,” he said.

Dr Pun-Arj added that apart from the above issues, there were many other factors contributing to investment in Thai innovation businesses such as:

1) Having more than 3-4 million square meters of business-friendly space in the central Bangkok metropolitan area with a group of more than 10 innovation districts nationwide, as well as regional areas where many sectors are now interested in bringing innovation to drive business, including the continuous establishment of new innovative business models;

2) Being a city that is conducive to living and running startups in line with the working lifestyle of the new generation who can work anywhere, conveniently and quickly, with the freedom to use the Internet. Meanwhile, there is entertainment from events or festivals that occur throughout the year and there are opportunities from the way of life of Thai people that allow innovative businesses to create solutions that can be invented or developed;

3) A reasonable cost of living. Compared to the income of startups -- innovative businesses operating in Thailand, whether it's food, housing costs, etc.; and

4) The lifestyle of Thai people who have a distinct identity in each area and can be used to create innovations that are unique.

Dr. Pun-Arj further stated that NIA had changed its role from being a “System Integrator” to being a “Focal Facilitator” in order to create competitiveness, increase the strength of local districts, develop the capabilities of potential startups and enable Thai entrepreneurs to reach the world stage sustainably. This is a part of driving the strength of the Thai economy with the main mission to create an innovation ecosystem. Thai startups should grow in the global market with recognizable Thailand innovation brands to induce an increase in international investment.

Hence, the NIA aims that within 5 years (2023-2027) this will create an investment in innovation businesses in Thailand of a value of around US$ 1 billion, by focusing on joint venture investments exemplified by Thai startups that have received investments from Israel. NIA’s key role is to support and create opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs to join projects with companies who have received funding from Israel Innovation Authority. Thus, this will not be an invitation-based promotion to set up a factory but will create more investment opportunities.

In addition, there are also collaborations with many other countries such as Japan which is interested to bring startups co-invest in innovation with Thailand. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Japan-Asean relations, the NIA will visit Japan to build the relationship between startups and organizations. As for France, there will be a Startup and Innovation Week in Paris which will feature large companies and with relevant government agencies from many countries participating in the exhibition. Thailand will bring innovation from food technology, space technology, and art which will be the highlights of the show under the Thai-French collaboration framework.  The NIA expected to assist more startup entrepreneurs and investors who have the strength to work in Thailand's innovation ecosystems in the future, said Dr Pun-Arj.