PHUKET TOWN: Phuket is still the Number One place in southern Thailand in which to open a business, according to Veerachai Tantiwathanavallop, Director of the Phuket Commercial Registration Office. A total of 392 business were registered between January 1 and May 31, an average of 78 new businesses a month. “That is about 10% to 15% higher than last year,” K. Veerachai said. The Thai economy may be down, he added, but Phuket is different from other provinces; investors seem to believe it is a place where they can make a profit. He noted that, of the total number of new businesses, about 70% involve foreign investors. As was the case last year, the favorite places this year for setting up new businesses are Patong, Kata and Karon. Most of the new businesses are in the tourism industry. One industry that has seen a boom in registrations this year is tailor shops, especially near the beaches, K. Veerachai said. “Most foreigners who come to Phuket don’t want to buy off-the-peg clothes from department stores. They prefer to have them tailor-made,” he said. K. Veerachai noted that many of the larger companies in Phuket looking to do business outside the province are setting up branches in Khao Lak. Other popular locations for branches are Krabi, Koh Samui and Surat Thani. Most of these businesses are involved in accommodation or tailoring. The 392 new businesses in Phuket consisted of 303 that were registered as limited companies and 89 registered as partnerships. Asked whether the more stringent work permit application procedures had had an effect on business registrations, K. Veerachai said, “Foreign investors who really want to open genuine businesses in Phuket are not worried about this.” He added, “The only people who are worried are those who plan to set up a business in order to do something illegal.” Thanks to the high number of new businesses, he estimated that his department’s revenue this year from registrations would be about 15 or 16 million baht.
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