PHUKET: Foreign investment in Phuket is still booming, according to the latest statistics from the Provincial Commercial Registration Office, which show that 95% of the businesses registered between June 1, 1998 and May 31, 2000 have foreign capital in them. This compares with about 65% in the two years up to May 31, 1998. “If we didn’t have the foreign investors, I think the economy would be terrible,” Veerachai Tuntiwathanavallop, Chief of the Registration Office, told the Gazette. The statistics also suggest that Phuket is rapidly becoming a “Cyber City”, despite its poor communications and unreliable power supply, and even though the government’s plans to create a “Cyber Port” have yet to get off the ground. K. Veerachai said that 23 Internet and computer companies registered in the December-May period, compared with 17 in the same period in 1998-9. On the decline have been construction and interior design companies, K. Veerachai said, with some of these businesses closing down. However, he expects both industries to rebound, thanks to a boom in the property sector, with 42 real estate companies registering between December 1 and May 31, compared with 13 in the same period of 1998-9. This boom, he added, was led by the continuing low value of the baht against major currencies, creating greater foreign demand for properties in Phuket. At the end of May this year, there were 5,898 registered businesses in the province. Of these, 3,888 were limited companies, 1,996 were limited partnerships, and 14 were ordinary partnerships. Registrations in the six months to May 31 totaled 359. Thirty-nine companies de-registered. The most popular businesses in Phuket are still overwhelmingly tourism-related, with travel agencies, dive shops, tailors, and restaurants leading the registrations table. The most popular places for setting up business are, in descending order: Patong, Phuket Town, Kata, Karon and Kamala.
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