Thailand’s scheduled reopening is just around the corner, and Chinese entrepreneurs have already begun placing bets on prized real estate. Some are plowing money into acquiring hotels, land, and other properties with record-low prices, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nancy Chen, a Fujian native, joins the growing number of Chinese who have decided to take a chance and invest in Thailand’s hotel business by taking over a Phuket hotel.
“The most trying times will teach us more lessons than usual. … Starting up a business is a process to accumulate experience. We are starting small, and this hotel business will help us explore before stepping our foot into the tourism industry.”
As Thailand’s Chinese residents amount to around 200,000, they cater to their mainland peers through working or running a business. And, Chinese account for a large number of tourists in Thailand, with about 11 million visiting in 2019 alone.
Although the economy has shrunk due to the pandemic, some Chinese entrepreneurs are not quitting just yet. Instead, they say it is the best time to enter the market for bargains, while awaiting Thailand’s return to its pre-pandemic tourism status. Li Ming, a founder of Ming Thai Inter in Bangkok, says now is not the time to rent or sell your property. In his mid-thirties, Li graduated from a Thai university in 2010 and decided to stay in Thailand. Originally from Jiangxi Province, Li set up a company to help fellow Chinese nationals buy and sell property locally.
“Even if you make investments, don’t expect to have immediate returns until at least 2022. I plan to develop the land into houses or factory warehouses. But it has to be done in a cautious manner because of the uncertainties amid Covid-19.”
Thailand is now making several efforts that allow visitors to stay in the country for longer as well as high-net-worth foreign individuals to buy land. All in the name of post-pandemic recovery.
Chen says that in pre-pandemic times, taking over a hotel would have cost her a nonrefundable transfer fee of 2 million baht. But she says now, she was able to strike a deal by signing a 10-year lease from the owner of the hotel, pay a deposit of 500,000 baht and a fixed monthly rent of 60,000 baht for the first 3 years.
As Thailand’s scheduled reopening is set for November 1, only time will tell if these entrepreneurs made the right decision to stick it out, take advantage of the Covid-19 real estate market, and succeed.