According to Thailand Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (FBA), there are three types of business activities that govern foreign participation in Thai commerce:

List 1: Business Not Permitted to Foreigners

List 2: Business Permitted to Foreigners under Conditions

List 3: Business Not Yet Permitted to Foreigners

Lists 1, 2, or 3 of the Foreign Business Act in Thailand essentially cover nearly all economic sectors with a few exceptions.

However, a recent Ministerial Regulation, issued on 13 June 2019, will open up certain types of services from foreign operators to its affiliates, which means that a Foreign Business License will not be required for a registered Thai company having majority foreign ownership.

Service businesses providing services to affiliates that do not require a Foreign Business License are as follows:

  1. Providing Domestic Loan Services
  2. Leasing Office Space with Utilities
  3. Consulting Services in the following:
  • Administration;
  • Marketing;
  • Human Resources; or,
  • Information Technology

Juristic persons with the following characteristics are regarded as “affiliates”:

  1. juristic persons that have shareholder(s)/partner(s) who constitute more than half of the total number of shareholder(s)/partner(s) of each company transacting business together;
  1. juristic persons that have shareholder(s)/partner(s) who own 25% or more of the share capital of one juristic person (Company A) and also own 25% or more of the share capital of another juristic person (Company B) with which Company B is transacting business with Company A;
  1. a juristic person that owns 25% or more of the share capital of another juristic person (again, assuming the juristic persons are engaging in a transaction with each other); or
  1. juristic persons that have the same director(s)/partner(s) (who constitute a majority) with managerial authority. This characteristic would imply such persons have authorized director status under a Company Affidavit (for each company interacting in a transaction).

This article is for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information, please get in touch with John P. Formichella at

© John P. Formichella

Posted by John P. Formichella

John Formichella, along with Numlapyos Sritawat and Naytiwut Jamallsawat, founded Formichella & Sritawat and leads the firm’s Telecommunication, Media, Technology, Data Privacy Practice and is past Chair of the Information and Communications Technology Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok. He is rated as Leading Individual by Legal 500 and ranked as a Band 1 individual by Chambers and Partners. Considered a leading expert in the technology, media, and telecommunications sector, John has over 25 years’ sophisticated experience, covering technology transactions, telecommunications law, data privacy, cyber-security, data center outsourcing, media (OTT service providers, film, and television), and e-commerce. John has also served as an advisor to local chambers of commerce and U.S. Embassies in Thailand and Taiwan, and governmental bodies regarding Technology, Media & Telecommunications matters, including both the Office of the United States Trade Representative and United States Department of State in connection with international trade and telecommunications, and has provided testimony to members of the United States Senate on fact-finding missions in Thailand. Before forming Formichella & Sritawat, John practised with Bangkok based firm Blumenthal, Richter & Sumet for 16-years. He came to BRS from Minter Ellison, where he practised out of its Bangkok offices in its Corporate practice group. Before joining Minter Ellison, he was Vice President/General Counsel of Holding Corporation (a NASDAQ-listed telecoms company based in Hong Kong). Before that, he was an associate for East-West International Law Offices in Taipei, Taiwan, from 1996 to 1999. John graduated from the State University of New York (University at Buffalo), earning Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (Economics) degrees and a Juris Doctorate. He also studied at the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Law in Bangkok. John is admitted to practice law in Washington, D.C. and is a District of Columbia Bar Association member. John can be reached at

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