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18 foreign companies receive licences to operate in Thailand – September

01/10/2019

“Since January this year, 155 foreign companies have been granted licences to conduct business in Thailand.”

The Thai Department of Business Development has granted licences, during September, to 18 foreign companies to conduct business in Thailand.

The director-general Vuttikrai Leewiraphan says most of these companies are from Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, employing 428 Thais and have an investment capital of more than 470 million baht, as well as technological know-how from their countries.

“Thailand is in need of technology transfer in the fields of off-shore rig engineering and decommissioning, petroleum drilling and safety, electrical and electronic systems for platform screen doors, agile software development, aerospace engineering, and more.”

“Among the 18 foreign companies which were granted licences, six are in business services – IT, accounting, financial, organisation development, while five are in consumer services: e-payment, e-recruitment software, equipment renting.”

“As for the rest, five are in private construction contracting and two in the retail business.”

The Nation reports, according to statistics from the department, since January this year, 155 foreign companies have been granted licences to conduct business in Thailand, generating more than 21 billion baht worth of investment.

Thailand has yet to liberalise its services sector to foreign companies, causing these investors to apply for licences to conduct businesses in specific fields first.

The sectors that a majority of foreign companies are interested in include engineering and construction of power plants and elevated train routes, petrol vehicles and equipment management and decommissioning, and resource survey satellite testing and technical support.

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on October 1, 2019 by The Nation

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Investor focus moves to resort property: CBRE

25/09/2019

PHUKET: Resort properties have sprung back to popularity, according to leading international property consultant CBRE. Sales performance of resort properties has risen, deriving from the pent-up demand for projects in the luxury and super-luxury segments, the agency suggests.

“Over the past two to three years, developers have been focusing on launching new housing and condominium supply in downtown Bangkok. CBRE Research reveals that there are around 30,000 units in downtown Bangkok from condominium projects launched between 2016 and 2018,” said a ealease issued on Tuesday explaining CBRE’s position.

One major challenge faced by the housing and condominium markets is that the cost of investment has been increasing along with the hike in land prices, leading to escalating asking prices, it added.

“CBRE found that 70% of buyers in the luxury residential market are Thais who have recently made purchases for own-living and long-term investment purposes rather than for short-term investment. Meanwhile, 40% of purchasers of residential properties priced below B10 million are foreigners,” the release noted.

“As many residential developers concentrate on building projects within Bangkok, the new supply of resort properties in Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Khao Yai and Phuket, especially in the high-end segment, has decreased. Therefore, there has been pent-up demand as there are fewer new projects being launched,” it said.

CBRE also found that there is growing demand this year for resort properties in top resort destinations, and buyers in this segment are ready to make purchases for own-use and long-term investment purposes.

“Although prices are higher, if projects are on the beachfront or with ocean views; with five-star hotel management; or with attractive rental guarantees, buyer response and sales performance have been positive for luxury and super-luxury projects launched in 2019,” said Prakaipeth Meechoosarn, Director – Head of Resort Property Sales, CBRE Thailand.

“Some good examples include the Residences at Club Med Krabi and the Residences at Sheraton Phuket Grand Bay, which have an average price per square meter of B185,000 and B230,000, respectively. Both projects saw impressive sales performance at around B300 million during a three-day event in Bangkok. Their updated sales rates are now 85% and 65%, respectively,” she added.

Veyla Natai Residences, which was launched this year and comprises B67mn to B98mn pool villas on Natai Beach, Phang Nga, reached a sales performance of 50% in less than a month, even without show units.

MGallery Residences MontAzure Lakeside and Twinpalms Residences MontAzure, with an average of B150,000 to B180,000 per square meter, have also shown impressive sales revenue reaching B300mn in the first four days of its launch in Bangkok in August 2019, especially for Twinpalms Residences MontAzure which has now reached a sales rate of 80%, noted the release.

“These impressive sales performances prove that demand is still strong for resort properties in prime locations that can generate good returns and have the potential for value appreciation in the future. This is backed by being in sough-after locations and professional property management by leading hotel brands,” CBRE remarked in its release.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on September 25, 2019

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Thailand industrial property a winner as US-China trade war drags on

03/09/2019

Amongst all the bad economic news, Thailand’s industrial property sector is profiting from the protracted US-China trade war, as mainland Chinese manufacturers shift production to ASEAN countries in an attempt to avoid escalating tariffs.

Chinese foreign direct investment into the south east Asia sector rose last year by 31.7% to USD 233 million, after declining by 15.7% in 2016-17, according to Bank of Thailand data. In the same period, total FDI into Thailand skyrocketed by 130.5% year on year. Chinese investment accounted for 4.3% of total FDI last year and 7.6% in 2016-17, according to CBRE.

FDI into Thailand’s manufacturing sector was increasing before the trade war too, and is now seeing increased participation from China.

Thailand industrial property a winner as US-China trade war drags on | News by The Thaiger

Last year, sales of serviced industrial land plots – privately owned industrial estates – by major developers in Thailand increased by 50% year on year. One park, specifically developed for Chinese manufacturers by Thai industrial estates provider Amata, accounted for 15% of the total sales in 2018.

CBRE also says China could be in line to take over from Japan, which has been the largest source of investment into Thailand since the late 1980s. Total FDI into Thailand last year amounted to USD 235 billion, with Japan contributing USD 86.6 billion and China US D4.9 billion, so there’s still a long way to go before Chinese investment outstrips Japan.

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MontAzure Phuket secures investments worth B200mn at single Bangkok sales event

02/09/2019

PHUKET: MontAzure, under development at Kamala, on Phuket’s west coast, has secured investments worth B200 million (about US$6.5mn) in its two new residential developments – Twinpalms Residences MontAzure and MGallery Residences, MontAzure Lakeside – at a single sales event in Bangkok.

The four day event, held at The Emporium lifestyle mall early last month in partnership with CBRE Thailand, attracted hundreds of potential investors, noted the release announcing the high-mark sales.

The Bangkok event also allowed MontAzure to show off its trio of titles at the recent PropertyGuru Thailand Property Awards, where MGallery Residences, MontAzure Lakeside was named as the “Best Hotel Residence”, “Best Condo Architectural Design (Resort)” and “Best Condo Landscape Architectural Design (Resort)”, noted the release.

“We are delighted with the response to our sales event in Bangkok. To have achieved B200 million worth of commitments is a wonderful reflection of the quality of our developments, the strength of our partners’ brands, and the buoyancy of Phuket’s real estate sector. We look forward to introducing even more residents to their new luxurious new lifestyles with MontAzure in the coming months,” commented Setthaphol Boottho, Executive Director of MontAzure.

THE PROJECTS

MGallery Residences, MontAzure Lakeside, which launched earlier this year, features 236 studios and one-bedroom residences with panoramic views of the lake, mountains and sea.

Investors have the option of combining units to create larger spaces, and will be able to access a wide range of hotel-style facilities managed by MGallery, AccorHotels’ collection of high-end boutique hotels, including swimming pools, a restaurant, pool bar, fitness centre and clubhouse, all surrounded by lush gardens, glistening lakes, jogging tracks and nature trails.

Twinpalms Residences MontAzure, is a brand-new luxury boutique retreat featuring 75 suites and penthouses, all surrounded by gardens, pools and world-class services, including multiple restaurants and bars.

Units available feature one or two bedrooms, contemporary living and dining areas, fully-fitted kitchens, private balconies and an array of modern amenities, including private pools in many of the units.

Several units at Twinpalms Residences MontAzure were sold during the event, including a two-bedroom penthouse valued at B75mn featuring a sea-facing rooftop terrace and expansive private pool.

Twinpalms Residences MontAzure and MGallery Residences, MontAzure Lakeside form part of the MontAzure development, which covers 72 hectares (450 rai) at the northern end of Kamala

The development comprises private luxury estates, waterfront apartments, upscale hospitality and retail and wellness offerings, including InterContinental Phuket Resort, Café del Mar, HQ Beach Lounge, Shimmer Beach restaurant and more.

The project has already received a series of awards, including “Best Mixed-Use Development (Thailand)” at the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards.

MontAzure was created by subsidiaries of the prestigious real estate groups in Asia: The Narai Group (Thailand), Arch Capital (Hong Kong) and Philean Capital (Singapore), part of Pontiac Land Group.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on September 2, 2019

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Billionaire mulls what may be Thailand’s largest IPO in 2019

27/08/2019

BANGKOK: Asset World Corp will start gauging foreign investor demand for what could be one of Thailand’s biggest initial public offerings this year after the nation’s securities regulator approved the sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The property arm of billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the nation’s fourth-richest person, will meet investors in Singapore this week after kicking off with potential Thai investors on Aug 23, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The developer of hotels, shopping malls and office buildings aims to raise US$1 billion to $1.5bn, they said.

With such a fundraising target, Asset World would be the biggest IPO in Thailand since Thailand Future Fund’s $1.4bn IPO last year. The company’s new share sale will help finance its business expansion, particularly the construction of new hotels, it said in June.

Details of the share sale including timeline and fundraising size could still change, the people said. Asset World’s Chief Executive Officer Wallapa Traisorat couldn’t be reached for comment after calls to her office. And an external representative for Asset World didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Thailand’s largest IPO on record was that of BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, which raised $2.1bn in 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Companies have raised $720 million in Thai IPOs this year, up from the $406mn raised in the same period last year. The planned share sales by Asset World and Central Group could make 2019 a busy year for IPOs in Thailand, with political risk eased after a March national election.

The Securities & Exchange Commission approved Asset World’s IPO on Aug 23, more than two months after it submitted the application, according to the regulator’s website. Mr Charoen’s net worth is valued at $17.6bn, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on August 27, 2019 by Bangkok Post

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International sales expert to highlight BCCT Chambers of Commerce Phuket Business Briefing

19/08/2019

PHUKET: Tareq Bagaeen, Founder and CEO of Aqedina Hospitality Sales Excellence and also a hotelier with over two decades of extensive experience in international sales, will be the guest speaker at the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) Multi-Chambers Phuket Briefing & Networking event at the Banyan Tree Phuket resort next Friday (Aug 30).

The one-hour business briefing will start at 5pm and followed by the networking event at The Lagoon Deck, until 9pm.

During the briefing, Mr Bagaeen will share his insights how he strives to develop hungry and effective salespeople in today’s markets for today’s consumers. From showing how to be the persuasive negotiator with outstanding technical and interpersonal skills through to constant research, learning, dedication, teamwork and energy, he will explain how it all works.

Tareq Bagaeen is a hotelier down to each fibre of his being and a true globally oriented commercial leader. He thrives through client interactions and striking sound business deals. Throughout his career, he has held sales and marketing responsibilities whether on property or from a regional directive covering dozens of hotels and his journey has taken him to lead teams and handle clients in over 100 countries; giving him a pragmatic approach to varied cultures, economic up or downturns, monopolized or aggressively competitive market places and pushing out brands from the budget range right up to the highest spectrums of luxury.

Throughout his commercial excellence journey, he has trained senior associates from Rosewood Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Kerzner International, Rotana, Mövenpick Hotels, Accor and W Hotels to name a few.

He has also conducted sales programs for financial institutions, the insurance industry, real estate development firms, as well as travel management firms. His philosophy is that no two people are alike, no two business units or their mother companies; as such, every single learning cycle that he has conducted is unique.

“During this keynote, I will explain the evolving buying cycle of our clients in most business situations but will keep a focus on the leisure and hospitality industries as this will be the majority of the audience in Phuket. I will also highlight how sales people have normally been functioning and why this is not sustainable in today’s and tomorrow’s world then give actionable advice on how the sales mindset when adjusted can yield much greater results,” Mr Bagaeen told The Phuket News.

“Our markets in which we operate in are becoming highly congested with products on offer as well ending up quite similar which naturally puts a huge pressure on price and profit margins,” he explained.

“If we sell based on what we think are our USPs (Unique selling points) then we will always end up closing business on rate and not much else; that is unsustainable especially that costs continue to climb.

“Rather, if we focus on the concepts of value and benefit, the results will be dramatically improved. This is easier said than done and I will highlight some tips on how to get on the path to recovery,” Mr Bagaeen noted.

The BCCT Multi-Chambers Phuket Briefing & Networking event is being held in cooperation with the American, Australian, Canadian, EABC, French, German, Netherlands and Singapore Chambers of Commerce.

Free admission for briefing, while joining the networking event costs B500 for members and B900 for non-members. Price includes cocktail food and free-flow of beer, wine and soft drinks.

For more information visit the AustCham website. (Click here.)

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on August 19, 2019

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Potential for retirement properties in Thailand

06/08/2019

While a number of property offerings in Phuket, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and more recently in Bangkok have promoted themselves as retirement-centric offerings, the jury is still out on the broad success of the sector.

Despite retirement communities and assisted living being mainstays in Western countries like the US, UK and Australia, these are for the most highly domestic offerings.

Some of the key market challenges are the absence of a secondary sales market, disconnect with national healthcare schemes, difficulties in financing offerings and the sheer distance from relatives or family units.  Additionally, intrinsic differences in nationalities of prospective end-users has created a somewhat confusing potential geographic source of business.

Thailand does have a widely promoted retirement visa program but it has not been linked to the real estate market. Malaysia’s ‘My Second Home’ initiative has been a leader in Asia and has effectively tapped these two issues.

Two developments that are being watched in the property world in the Kingdom, the first is Nye Estate’s Otium Living which is working closely with the UK retirement specialist group Audley Villages, with its initial offering coming to Phuket’s MontAzure in Kamala and plans to expand in Bangkok.

Second is MQDC’s The Forestias in Bangkok which is aimed at multi-generational living. A number of iconic groups are involved in this undertaking including the Foster + Partners, Six Senses and Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health on wellness. What’s unique about this project is the inclusion of older generational housing into a larger green, eco and family- oriented community.

At C9 Hotelworks we have advised on a number of retirement projects in Thailand, Philippines, Mainland China and Japan. One of the key issues for the sector has been developers who are looking to simply brand real estate and not do the hard yards on programming a working community.

One clear idea that is emerging, that we feel has strong broader potential is a shift from a property offering into shorter-term lease options, membership or rentals. This becomes a recurring cash flow play versus the typical blow and go real estate structure.

A strong indicator of the upside potential is Australia’s property group Lendlease’s estimated USD1.4 billion investment into Mainland China’s senior living marketplace. On offer are transferable long-term memberships with a value of approximately USD250,000. Wellness and hospitality offerings are key components of the end-product.

The reality of lower, more rationale pricing points with an understanding that senior living is transitory in nature and the long-term prospects will be a transfer into assisted-living or family care.

We continue to see real estate developers go blindly into creating offerings which do not recognise the need to build a secondary resale mechanism as well and trying to price offerings on legacy real estate models. For the most part these are going to be highly stressed financial models and not sustainable.

Senior and/or retirement living is a reality for a “greying Asia”, but for now, the lack of fundamental models and reality has yet to take hold. It will be interesting to see how Lendlease’s China outing goes, but they certainly look to be set on the right path ahead.

As for the prospects of the Kingdom, one astonishing data point on Thailand’s potential for senior living is that by 2030, according to the United Nations a quarter of the population will be over 60 years of age. Falling birth rates and an aging population have created a first world situation in the making. There is a growing long-term market, if someone can just create the right product.

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on August 6, 2019 by Bill Barnett

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Thai PC and notebook sales set to increase 5% in second half of year

25/07/2019
The market for personal computers and notebook computer will grow around 4.7% in the second half of this year, as students, gaming and e-sports continue to drive growth
The prediction from marketing director at Acer Computer, Nitipat Praweenwongwuthi. Acer recently conducted a survey into the needs of computer users and found that about 50% of customers who purchase gaming computers will utilise their computer for playing games and work while about 15% of users say they will use their computer to develop and create video.

Apple is one of computer players in the market driving student market growth. Early this month, the firm launched a global notebook computer campaign at prices some 4,000 baht lower than those on the market targeting university students.

Apple has updated its MacBook Air, adding True Tone to its Retina display for a more natural viewing experience, and lowering the price to 35,900 baht for members of the public and 31,900 baht for students.

In addition, the entry level 42,900 baht 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it twice as powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip, and is available to college students for 38,900 baht.

And it’s not only Apple that’s aiming to do better. Alvin Chen, country manager at Asus (Thailand) said that the second half this year will be better than the first, which saw a decline of 5%.  The second half, however, is expected to catch up with sales divided between 70% for notebooks and 30% for gaming notebooks.  Meanwhile, the processor market share as of May 2019 was shared by Intel at 59.3% and AMD at 40.7%.

Customers in Thai market today want middle and high end products and while in the past, gamers were after high performance, now it’s all about thin and light design and 15 inch screens.

“We kicked off our campaign by offering ASUS Pro Duo and other products specifically designed for the target group,” Chen said.

Since Microsoft Windows is used by more than 95 per cent of operating system (OS) for PC in Thailand, ASUS believe that the growing trend for content creator will favour the company over Apple’s Macbook,” said Alvin, adding that ASUS opening its first is going to have the first ASUS Store this month at Central World and in Rayong in early August.

Courtesy: Published at The Thaiger on July 25, 2018 by The Nation

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New tourism minister looks to legalising new markets

23/07/2019

BANGKOK: The new Tourism and Sports Minister plans to promote medical marijuana tourism and legalise ride-hailing and accommodation-sharing apps and websites to attract foreign visitors.

Speaking on his first day in office, Pipat Ratchakitprakan last Friday (Jul 19) said he wants to include marijuana in medical tourism, especially Thai traditional medicine and massage.

“We would like to provide medical tour packages, such as detox, Thai massage and other wellness courses that use marijuana substances,” said Mr Pipat.

The marijuana tourism packages would aim to attract tourists from Europe and the US who have a positive perception about medical marijuana.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the agency is ready to implement medical marijuana tourism promotion to build quality tourism because the target segment tends to spend more than average tourists.

Pipat Ratchakitprakan is a key leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, whose election campaign promises included the liberalisation of marijuana cultivation for medicinal purposes as well as the legalisation of ride-hailing and home-sharing apps and sites.

Presently these services already operate here, with the market dominated by Grab and Airbnb.

TRANSPORT

The party’s policies were presented to the prime minister, with the Tourism and Sports Ministry expected to work with the Transport Ministry to legalise ride-sharing services.

Many public transport services are seen as costly and do not reach some tourism areas. The prime minister expressed his concern after a recent case in which a minivan charged Australian tourists in Phuket B3,000 to travel from the airport to Kata beach, said Mr Pipat.

“In order to tackle these kinds of problems, the Tourism Ministry must cooperate with the police and the Transport Ministry to get rid of scams and legalise ride-sharing as soon as possible to help tourists,” he said.

Mr Pipat admitted that some transport services are awful and improving them is an urgent task that will require more compliance from other authorities after little has been done the past four years.

The interim government had full enforcement power, but with the Transport Ministry also under Bhumjaithai control, he expects more frequent discussions to resolve these problems together.

ACCOMMODATION SHARING

Mr Pipat said the party will push the government to recognise accommodation sharing as a legitimate business in Thailand.

Operators such as Airbnb can help monitor the services and be a trusted agent between house owners and guests.

Homestays are another choice that can help generate revenue in remote communities, aligning the core concepts of tourism promotion in all 77 provinces in Thailand.

However, the details of legalising accommodation sharing will be discussed in later stages after meetings with the private sector to hear their needs.

SAFETY, FOREIGN CURRENCY & VISAS

He said some good policies from the previous administration will be kept such as improving safety standards at tourism attractions to regain the confidence of foreign tourists. Mr Pipat set this as his priority task.

The ministry also plans to establish volunteer police in communities to supervise tourist areas.

He would like to schedule a talk with the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand about easing the strong baht, which has made Thailand more expensive for foreigner travellers in recent months.

In addition, extending the visa-on-arrival fee waivers will be considered right after the prime minister delivers his policy statement to the House.

SPORTS

In terms of sports, Mr Pipat will encourage more operators of international tournaments to choose Thailand as a destination as the events will not only attract tourists to the games, but also promote Thai tourism.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on July 23, 2019 by Bangkok Post

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Tesco Lotus amid mass expansion drive

14/07/2019

BANGKOK: Tesco Lotus remains committed to continuing investment in Thailand, with plans to raise spending by five times a year over the next three years to catch up with urbanisation.

According to Sompong Rungnirattisai, chief executive of Ek-Chai Distribution System Co, the operator of Tesco Lotus, the company aims to open 750 Tesco Lotus Express convenience stores during 2019-21.

Each store requires an investment of B5-10 million.

The move is in line with the parent company’s recent announcement to allocate B50 billion to expand the business globally, especially in emerging markets, this year.

The expansion plan will bring the number of Tesco Lotus Express stores to 2,250 by 2021.

“Our parent firm [Tesco Plc, Britain’s biggest grocer] remains committed to continuing its investment in Thailand because the Kingdom is one of the emerging markets,” Mr Sompong said.

“Normally, in the past, we would open about 50-60 Tesco Lotus Express stores per year. But from this year, we will move at a faster pace by opening an average of 250 new stores per year in the next three consecutive years.”

According to Mr Sompong, the group sees urbanisation as a significant trend that continues to shape the way people shop.

“As more than 58% of the population is expected to live in urban areas by 2030 from the current rate of 50%, we plan to serve the growing urban population better through differentiated propositions that enhance both our product offerings and shopping channels,” he said.

With growing urbanisation, shoppers want both convenience and a good shopping experience, without compromising quality and value for money.

To better suit customers, the company has focused on simplification, including rearranging space in its large stores to improve the shopping experience, as well as utilisation of technology and an omnichannel platform to enhance convenience, Mr Sompong said.

Of the total 250 stores, the company has already opened 30 stores in urban areas in the initial phase. The first 30 Tesco Lotus Express stores built around this concept have received positive responses from customers, the company said.

In addition, Tesco Lotus plans to upgrade its existing 1,500 Express stores into a new proposition over the next three years. The executive did not disclose the budget for store renovation.

For large stores, the company will adjust the size of Tesco hypermarkets to suit each location.

Retail space at a hypermarket will scale down to 3,000-4,000 square metres, from 10,000-12,000sqm and leave more space to tenants such as small shops and cinemas.

Some 20 hypermarkets have already been repurposed.

In parallel, the online business will be expanded to cover more areas in addition to Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on July 14, 2019 by Bangkok Post

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