Doing Business in Thailand – Country Overview Thailand welcomes business opportunities as well as foreigners. In general, The people, government, and culture of Thailand is business friendly, safe, and transparent. The predominant language is Thai, but you will find that English is often used in business transactions and discussions. This is especially true in Bangkok and its surrounding area. In the rural or “up-country” areas, English is not as prevalent. Thailand is located in the heart of Southeast Asia and is comparable in size to France, with a population that is approaching 70 million. Approximately 12 million people live in and around Bangkok. The climate varies from the cooler regions in the north to the tropical zones in the southern half of the country. Thai culture presents an interesting, and at times challenging environment for doing business. Thais are quite tolerant of different cultures and mores, but to succeed in business in Thailand, most foreigners learn that a polite, respectful and reserved attitude will be much appreciated by the Thai counterparts. Bombastic or aggressive behaviors that are more typical in the west are seldom received with a positive response. A foreigner operating a factory or business in Thailand will often become frustrated with their Thai workers or partners because of the cultural tendency to avoid conflict and reluctance to pass problem issues up the organizational ladder. This characteristic can be attributed to the influence of Buddhism that permeates Thai society. Foreigners doing business in Thailand for the first time will find a country that has made huge strides in developing its manufacturing base, with an emphasis on exports to other countries. With over 30 regional airports sprinkled throughout the country and several deep water ports along its long coastline, Thailand offers a well-developed transportation network capable of moving goods quickly to market. With the opening of Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, the Thai government has been promoting Thailand as an aviation hub for the ASEAN group of trading partners. While there is a well-developed road system throughout Thailand, traffic in the greater Bangkok area can cause problems for businesses that depend on timely movement of goods within the city itself. Gridlock and traffic jams are a daily part of the commute and can raise havoc with schedules. There is an ongoing effort to expand the light rail system as the primary strategy to relieve the pressure on the roads in Bangkok. Other parts of the infrastructure, such as telecommunications, electricity, and water supply are commensurate with international standards. The government is promoting the development of independent power suppliers to supplement the state owned power provider (EGAT) and emphasis on solar power is a strategy being used to decrease the countries dependence on fossil based fuels.