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moldresistant

Help regarding business selling imported clothing from China - can get a work visa?

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Me and my partner are trying to make a small business together. The type of business is importing women's clothing from China to sell locally in a rented shop and online. Since I'm a US citizen I understand my Thai partner will have 51% ownership of the company, that's fine, however I'm not quite sure whether I can get a work visa for the company under List 3, since it's trading activities.

 

List III

Business activities in which Thai nationals are not yet ready to compete with foreigners (e.g., provision of accounting services, legal services, trading activities, other kinds of services, etc.).

Business activities under List I of the FBA are strictly prohibited to foreigners. However, foreigners may engage in business activities under Lists II and III of the FBA if they obtain the correct licenses, such as an FBL or a Foreign Business Certificate, from the relevant government authorities.

 

My position would be management of the company, planning, and funding rather than on the floor "trading" so I'm confused on what applies to me. I can't run this business on tourist visa's clearly, so getting the work permit and visa has got to happen. Does anyone have experience with this or something similar that can explain this in plain English to me?

 

Thanks

Edited by moldresistant

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I think you can get work permit based on trading business. Need to have a 2 million baht capital for 1 work permit and 4 or 5 Thai staff working in the company to be able to get the work permit. Need to check again the no of Thais needed to be employed for each work permit. 

 

I think being an American you dont need to have Thai partner. You can own 100% of the company. No Thai partner is needed. Atleast this was before but need to check again if its still valid for Americans. 

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12 minutes ago, Sanjay Jaybhay said:

I think you can get work permit based on trading business. Need to have a 2 million baht capital for 1 work permit and 4 or 5 Thai staff working in the company to be able to get the work permit. Need to check again the no of Thais needed to be employed for each work permit. 

 

I think being an American you dont need to have Thai partner. You can own 100% of the company. No Thai partner is needed. Atleast this was before but need to check again if its still valid for Americans. 

Thank you for the advice Sanjay

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Did you think this through?

 

You will be competing with literally millions of Thais who do the same thing and pay no taxes.

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Just now, Pravda said:

Did you think this through?

 

You will be competing with literally millions of Thais who do the same thing and pay no taxes.

No I didn't think it through, just an idea, though thank you for that insight, much appreciated. Maybe a new plan is in order.

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As Pravda mentioned, the problem you face is that to be legal you will need a company that complies, and your cost of business will be higher that that of a Thai sole trader.

 

Personally I would forget the idea of a retail shop. That's yesterday's model. Nowadays Thai people do live streams on Facebook to market clothes; accept online payments and ship via courier the same or the next day.

 

These entrepreneurs have almost no overheads because they operate from home and store/pack their inventory in the same place.

 

The competition is fierce and it's mostly all about the presenter who advertises the clothes.

 

If you want to give it a go then buy just a few pieces of clothes and try and sell them. Test your market well first. Do not buy vast amounts of product and then try and sell it.

 

I understand you will probably lose money by doing this, but consider it market research.

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5 hours ago, blackcab said:

As Pravda mentioned, the problem you face is that to be legal you will need a company that complies, and your cost of business will be higher that that of a Thai sole trader.

 

Personally I would forget the idea of a retail shop. That's yesterday's model. Nowadays Thai people do live streams on Facebook to market clothes; accept online payments and ship via courier the same or the next day.

 

These entrepreneurs have almost no overheads because they operate from home and store/pack their inventory in the same place.

 

The competition is fierce and it's mostly all about the presenter who advertises the clothes.

 

If you want to give it a go then buy just a few pieces of clothes and try and sell them. Test your market well first. Do not buy vast amounts of product and then try and sell it.

 

I understand you will probably lose money by doing this, but consider it market research.

Great insight, thanks saved me a lot of trouble. I think I'll just abandon the idea alltogether.

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1 hour ago, moldresistant said:

Great insight, thanks saved me a lot of trouble. I think I'll just abandon the idea alltogether.

You've just made a very wise business decision. You, above board, can definitely not compete with the "gray market".

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11 hours ago, neeray said:

You've just made a very wise business decision. You, above board, can definitely not compete with the "gray market".

Thanks good to know appreciate it. Trashing the idea.

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I'm not as averse to the business idea, especially the online part of it.  Lots of guys are doing online stuff in Thailand, and are smart enough not to come on a public forum to announce their success.

 

But I'd suggest you get yourself legal for a long term stay as your first priority.  That means getting off tourist visa/ visa exempt and into a resident status like retirement, getting on a WP (several different avenues for that- some dodgy, some solid), or some kind of investment visa.  Otherwise, you're in for a rude awakening sooner or later.  I have met dozens of long stay guys whose Thai adventure ended abruptly because they invested in condos, cars, boats and businesses before they got long term visa status.

 

Then investigate what it actually takes to import goodies, especially garments, from China.  That's a maze.

 

You may just want to do a drop-shipping business, completely off the radar.  You would need a WP to be legal, but the odds of getting caught helping your Thai (I assume) partner with his/her online drop shipping business are minuscule.

 

One last comment...  If I want to climb a mountain, I'd ask for advice from the guys who have already been to the top.  Not the guys sitting in the lodge with a plan -or even worse- a million reasons they won't even try to make the climb.  Lots of successful foreign business people operate in Thailand.  Seek them out.

 

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6 hours ago, impulse said:

I'm not as averse to the business idea, especially the online part of it.  Lots of guys are doing online stuff in Thailand, and are smart enough not to come on a public forum to announce their success.

 

But I'd suggest you get yourself legal for a long term stay as your first priority.  That means getting off tourist visa/ visa exempt and into a resident status like retirement, getting on a WP (several different avenues for that- some dodgy, some solid), or some kind of investment visa.  Otherwise, you're in for a rude awakening sooner or later.  I have met dozens of long stay guys whose Thai adventure ended abruptly because they invested in condos, cars, boats and businesses before they got long term visa status.

 

Then investigate what it actually takes to import goodies, especially garments, from China.  That's a maze.

 

You may just want to do a drop-shipping business, completely off the radar.  You would need a WP to be legal, but the odds of getting caught helping your Thai (I assume) partner with his/her online drop shipping business are minuscule.

 

One last comment...  If I want to climb a mountain, I'd ask for advice from the guys who have already been to the top.  Not the guys sitting in the lodge with a plan -or even worse- a million reasons they won't even try to make the climb.  Lots of successful foreign business people operate in Thailand.  Seek them out.

 

Great advice.

 

After reading more and hearing what people have to say I think I'm going to completely avoid getting involved in Thai business at all. To be honest my main motivation was the long-stay visa but for all that effort it's much easier to just stay half of the year out of the country.

 

Thanks

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