The Thai government and the relevant authorities are modernizing procedural requirements for companies, in order to make it easier to do business in Thailand. In 2014, the Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order No. 742557 on Teleconferences through Electronic Devices (Order 742557), and the Announcement of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology on Security Standards for Teleconferences through Electronic Devices B.E. 2557 were passed to enable meetings to be validly held by electronic means, rather than having to be physically held in accordance with the strict former requirements.
Before these regulations were passed, company Articles of Association could not provide for the possibility of holding meetings by electronic means. As a result, all meetings required a physical presence. The new regulations relax the requirement, allowing companies to register, in their Articles of Association, that meetings can be held by electronic means, provided they are compliant with Order 742557 and all required security requirements.
Since 2014, businesses have been inquiring with the Department of Business Development (DBD), Ministry of Commerce, about the legal validity of conducting teleconference calls or video conferences for shareholders meetings and directors meetings, pursuant to Order 742557. The DBD has responded by issuing an Explanatory Statement relating to conducting of meetings via electronic means.
In order to conduct teleconference calls or video conferences for these meetings, companies need to comply with the following requirements:
* International teleconferences are prohibited, so all attendees participating in the teleconferences must be located in Thailand.
* One-third of the quorum number of directors must be situated in the same place (within the same meeting room), and they cannot be located in different places.
* If a public limited company, trade association, or a chamber of commerce wishes to conduct meetings by electronic means, they must first specify the provision for such teleconference call or video conference meetings in their Articles of Association.
* In the case where the meeting’s resolutions registration application was not signed by the authorized person, or there is a challenge against the registration of the resolutions, the registrant must deliver all relevant evidence to show compliance with all the procedural requirements.
If you have any questions about holding company meetings through electronic means, please contact Cynthia M. Pornavalai at firstname.lastname@example.org or +66 2056 5559.
Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly passed draft amendments to the 2007 Computer Crimes Act (the “Act”). When it takes effect, the new Act will broaden the powers and reach of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society. Competent officials under the Act may carry out investigations or confiscations if the crime (falling under the Computer Crimes Act or other criminal offenses) was committed using computer systems, computer data, or equipment for storing computer data. The Act will also extend the powers of inquiry officials by granting them power to instruct competent officials under the Act without the need for a court order and to carry out any investigation or confiscation process, as listed in the Act.
The following is a brief snapshot of the amendments made to the Act:
Among the committees appointed under the new Act, a Computer Data Screening Committee will have the power to permit officials to request a court order to block or destroy any data which is contrary to the stability or good morals of the people, even if the data does not violate any criminal laws.
The Ministry’s powers have been expanded to include offences or acts which relate to “national security, public safety, national economic stability, or the infrastructure for public benefit,” including hacking into systems relating to these broad criteria.
Crimes relating to the importation of forged data into a computer system now include the requirement of dishonesty and deceit, and separate penalties have been set for offenses against individuals.
Of particular interest to companies, the new Act will also criminalize the sending of emails or data which cannot be unsubscribed by the recipient and which disturbs the recipient. This can be read as criminalizing spam, which has never previously been included in the Act. However, the definition and criteria for “disturbs” is not stipulated and will be set out in ministerial regulations.
A service provider may prevent themselves from being deemed criminally liable for crimes committed by an individual using their service by restraining the dissemination of computer data. Importantly, however, the relevant details of these terms will be set out later in regulations to be passed by the Ministry.
Furthermore, the new Act maintains the previous Act’s requirement to retain general traffic data for not less than 90 days, while the period within which a service provider may be ordered to store traffic data has been extended from one year to two in special cases. But the Act now gives service providers the right to appeal such an order.
The Act is now awaiting royal endorsement and is expected to come into effect later this year. If you have any questions about the amendments to Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act and their impact on your business, please contact us at email@example.com.
Five of Asia’s most loved destinations of 2017 are in Thailand, according to a poll of the top 25 taken by the popular international travel website TripAdvisor, which has recently released its Travellers’ Choice listings for the year.
The southern resort islands of Phuket, Ko Samui and Ko Tao and the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai were all named in the Top 25 of the Best Destinations in Asia for 2017. Phuket took 3rd place with Samui and Koh Tao coming in the 7th and 15th place, respectively. Ever-popular Bangkok was 8thon the list and Chiang Mai came 12th.
These five destinations appear regularly at the top of the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, which are established based on the quantity and quality of travellers’ reviews and ratings on the TripAdvisor website gathered over the previous 12-month period.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Tao offer some of Asia’s best beaches and are tropical paradises where tourists can enjoy warm water and swaying palms while looking forward to a seafood dinner. In contrast, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are Thailand’s most bustling cities with amazing shopping, culture, food and history. There are unique experiences for everyone in Thailand, and we are delighted that TripAdvisor travellers enjoy these destinations year-after-year.”
Phuket which is also rated 10th for Best in the World, was praised by the TripAdvisor travellers for its “blue lagoons and salmon sunsets”, while Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand is unique in being a place where you explore the local culture and fishing communities. Koh Tao, also in the Gulf of Thailand, was reviewed as a paradise with “300 days of sun per year” which invites “long afternoons of lounging”.
Bangkok, which has long been one of the world’s most popular cities, was loved by TripAdvisor travellers for its “golden palaces, floating markets and majestic porcelain-laid spires.” Meanwhile, Chiang Mai was recommended for its sprawling night market, ancient city temples and fragrant botanical gardens.
TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site and gathers advice and reviews from millions of travellers from around the world, covering seven million hotels and types of accommodation, restaurants and attractions. The website reaches 390 million monthly visitors in 49 worldwide markets.
Thailand is expected to finish the first quarter of 2017 right on target with tourism revenue of 734 billion Baht (US$20.9 billion), up 9 per cent over the same period of 2016. The growth momentum is anticipated to continue through to the second quarter with an 11 per cent year-on-year increase on revenue to 630 billion Baht (US$18 billion), including 16.6 billion Baht (US$474 million) revenue targeted from tourism spending during the five-day Songkran holiday.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “In the first quarter, we’ve seen healthy growth from all source markets, and so we expect this growth momentum to continue into the second quarter. This expectation is based on a number of factors. Thailand will host the WTTC Global Summit 2017, from 26-27 April in Bangkok, and the Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017, from 2-4 May in Phuket. TAT will also enhance our marketing efforts in China through a series of roadshow events that focus on the luxury, health and wellness, and new markets as well as through celebrity marketing under the “Experience Thailand with Mario” campaign.”
In the first quarter of 2017 (January-March), TAT expects Thailand to welcome 9.2 million international visitors and generate 490 billion Baht (US$14 billion), representing a year-on-year increase of 2 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, domestic tourism is expected to yield 32.5 million trips and 240 billion Baht (US$6.8 billion), a year-on-year growth of 8 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
The growth momentum is expected to continue through to the second quarter with a target year-on-year growth of 6 per cent or 8.02 million international visitor arrivals and 11 per cent to 400 billion Baht (US$11.42 billion). The potential top five markets in terms of revenue include China (120 billion Baht/US$3.4 billion, up 7 per cent), Russia (24 billion Baht/US$685 million, up 44 per cent), Malaysia (23 billion Baht/US$657 million, up 5 per cent), India (19 billion Baht/542 million, up 18 per cent), and the UK (17 billion Baht/US$485 million, up 7 per cent).
As well as the hosting of major global events and a series of targeted marketing strategies in China and other key markets, TAT also bases its expectation for the second quarter growth on the number of forward bookings. (ForwardKeys). Other contributing factors have included the new air routes from China and Russia, including Lion Air’s four flights per week on the Nanchang-Bangkok route, Kunming Airlines’ three flights per week on the Kunming-Hat Yai route, and Ural Airlines’ daily flight on the Novosibirsk-Bangkok route.
The extension of the visa fee waiver and reduction for visas on arrival for tourists from 21 countries until 31 August, this year, is expected to help Thailand maintain its popularity as the top destination in the region.
In addition, Thailand continues to win international awards and accolades as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Recently, Bangkok was voted by CNN as one of the world’s 23 best cities for street food. Thailand was also ranked best in various country categories by the US News & World Report, Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, including 26th in the world and 6th in Asia for best country, top spot for starting a new business, 7th for heritage, 8th for adventure, and 17th for cultural influence.
For the period of the five-day Songkran holiday, from 13-17 April, TAT expects Thailand to welcome at least 470,000 international visitors, up 10 per cent over the 2016 Songkran period, and generate some 8 billion Baht (US$228 million) in revenue, up 17 per cent. Meanwhile, domestic tourism is expected to contribute to 2.47 million trips (up 9.6 per cent) and generate 8.54 billion Baht (US$244 million), up 12.5 per cent *(1 US$ = 35 Baht).
(Article courtesy TAT)
Thailand’s legacy Chiang Mai tourism market has undergone a millennial transformation that is now tapping into a new base of travelers seeking authentic Thai experiences. Last year over 4.6 million arrivals at the city’s international gateway thrust the destination into a new light, as the passenger volume only trailed Phuket in terms of provincial airports in the country.
According to C9 Hotelworks’ latest market research Chiang Mai Hotel Market Overview much of the growth has been fueled by rising low-cost carriers, with 5,346 flights from Greater China last year. Download the full report here: http://www.c9hotelworks.com/downloads/chiang-mai-hotel-market-update-2017-03.pdf
Over the past 10-years passenger arrivals have shot up by three-fold with 2013 being the turning point fueled by the epic success of the Chinese film ‘Lost in Thailand’. Noting the explosive impact of cinematic wanderlust on tourism, C9’s Managing Director Bill Barnett said: “Be it ‘Eat Pray Love’ or ‘Notting Hill’, the impact of film in destination marketing is remarkable. While Thailand’s travel market outside of Bangkok shifted to the beach in the early millennium, a rising tide of Asian travelers and westerners increasingly want into the culture club instead of the atypical surf and turf.”
As Thailand’s government has pivoted its tourism ambition from quantity to quality, Chiang Mai has fit nicely into the equation with a range of impressive new boutique hotels, a rampant art scene and budding culinary offerings the shift is resonating with Thai and foreign travelers alike. One of the most eagerly awaited entries to the creative scene was the debut of the MAIIAM Museum of Creative Art in mid-2016. This 3,000 square meter facility has attracted global attention.
“We are certainly seeing increasing demand for personalized itineraries for Chiang Mai – for both the city itself and also a connecting city to explore the far north of Thailand,” said ASIA DMC Thailand Managing Director Andre van der Marck. “Strong domestic airlift is helping access while the increase of creative, boutique accommodation is an ideal match with the experiential millennial travelers we see more and more.”
Looking into the prospects for 2017, while the government instituted a crack in zero-baht tours from Mainland China in the mid part of last year, the impact is normalizing given strong demand from Thai domestic travelers who are being drawn to a different Chiang Mai experience.
Digital media is super charging the pace of change as millennials abandon guidebooks and replace them with smartphones and a new mode of travel driven by authentic local experiences and a lifestyle of sharing thanks to Facebook and Instagram.
About C9 Hotelworks
C9 Hotelworks is led by founder and Managing Director Bill Barnett, who brings over 30 years’ experience in the Asian hospitality and real estate sectors. Prior to founding C9 in 2003, Bill held senior executive roles in hotel operations, development and asset management. He is considered to be a leading global authority on hotel residences, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference presentations at key events and contributes to numerous industry publications. For more information, visit www.c9hotelworks.com
Riding on the back of its successes in 2016 where the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok was awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and won the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards in four categories including: Best 4-Star Hotel, Concierge Excellence, Housekeeping Excellence, and Service Excellence (Accommodations), Destination Properties, a part of the Destination Group, has targeted new goals for this high potential property in 2017.
“Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok targets 2017 as the year to drive major growth in its MICE business by leveraging the hotel’s unique location on Sukhumvit and in between Asoke and Nana, its strong corporate production, and capacity to host the most exciting array of F&B offerings of any hotel in Sukhumvit,” says Peter Nicholas Lucas, General Manager of the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok.
“The strong PR visibility of Four Points has enabled the hotel to become the ‘go to’ hotel and holds the majority of the city’s social and networking events including various Chambers of Commerce, sporting events and hobbyist group events,” the GM notes. “Examples of the last category would be our close cooperation with the Bangkok Salsa Latin community and Bangkok Full Metal Dojo.”
In addition to its presence in the MICE industry, the hotel’s Irish pub – The Drunken Leprechaun, placed a respectable third in TripAdvisor’s ranking of Bangkok’s best pubs and bars in 2016. Given the venue’s potential to attract more guests, Destination Properties’ President Peter Lucas, adds that Destination Group’s aims for the Drunken Leprechaun, a brand owned by Destination Eats which is part of the new F&B arm of Destination Group, is to achieve the award for the capital’s top chain restaurant in 2017.
With the team’s track record of winning regional awards over recent years, there is certainly more scope to expand and build upon the ongoing cooperation with many longstanding customers in the hotel’s complementary MICE and food and beverage businesses.
About Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok
The hotel is owned by Destination Properties, a part of the Destination Group. Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok is conveniently located in the heart of a residential and commercial enclave in Sukhumvit Soi 15, the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok is a great value business hotel with MICE facilities, ideal for savvy travelers seeking a central location with easy access to business and entertainment venues.
The hotel features 268 rooms furnished with Four Points by Sheraton Comfort Beds, a well-designed spacious workspace with desk lamp, executive chair, a Plug & Play station and an easy view of the 32-inch LCD television. Complimentary internet, tea, coffee, and bottled water are also offered.
Dining options include The Eatery which offers all day dining, the award-winning Irish pub The Drunken Leprechaun offering a selection of Best BrewsTM, or enjoy sunset snacks and cocktails at the rooftop pool venue amBar. A 24-hour in-room dining service is also available.
Meeting and banquet facilities totaling 400 square meters are on the ground floor and rooftop levels, each with their own private courtyards and glass walls that bring in ample natural light. The venues collectively accommodate up to 120 people in meetings and 350 people for banquets.
All meeting spaces offer Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. A full-service Business Center is available to support guests’ business needs.
Other facilities include a rooftop outdoor swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and free services at the Business Center. All public spaces have access to free internet services.
The hotel is a few minutes walk from both Asoke Skytrain Station and Sukhumvit Subway Station, allowing easy access to much of Bangkok, one stop from the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre and two stops from the major shopping and entertainment districts.
The first enactment of Thailand’s Interest Overcharging Law, which came into effect in 1932, prohibited any person from loaning money to another person and subsequently charging them interest at a rate that exceeded the rate prescribed by the law.
Eighty-five years later, Thailand finally promulgated a new law focused on this topic called “The Act Prohibiting the Collection of Interest at an Excessive Rate B.E. 2560 (2017)” on January 15, 2017. The new law was made effective the following day, repealing the 1932 version.
A key element of this new law is the enhanced stringent penalties imposed on any person who loans money to an individual and then levies interest on repayments at a rate exceeding that permitted by law. This action will result in the offender facing criminal sanctions amounting to imprisonment for no more than two years, a fine of not more than THB 200,000, or both. These penalties are significantly stricter than those meted out under the previous Act, which only imposed up to a one-year imprisonment term, a fine of not more than THB 1,000, or both.
The enactment of this new legislation is aimed at preventing and suppressing loan shark debts and usury loan problems, whereby a lender charges the borrower unreasonably high interest rates. This mostly occurs between individual lenders and individual borrowers (i.e., an informal debt), which can later cause social and criminal problems within society.
Apart from prohibiting the practice of overcharging interest, the legislation also deems that any act which has the intention of concealing such borrowing/loan activities, in any of the following ways, should also be subject to legal sanctions:
• Interest overcharging;
• Including any false statements concerning the loan amount, or other matters relating to evidence pertaining to loan evidence, or other negotiable instruments, in order to conceal interest overcharging actions; or
• The lender prescribes to take or accept benefits other than the interest (whether in the form of money, property, or by any other means), which show that he/she will gain excessive benefits that are more than those typically accrued by the normal practice of a lender and an individual that borrows money.
Nonetheless, it should be observed that the interest rates permitted by Thai laws can differ. For example, loans for consumption under the Civil and Commercial Code must not exceed 15 percent per year, while loans with commercial banks could be higher, as permitted by specific legislation, such as the Interest Rates for Loans from Financial Institutions Act B.E. 2523 (1980) and the BOT’s notification subject on interest, fees, surcharge for personal loan.
Since the beginning of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been actively reforming its regulations in response to the changing landscape and development of the country’s capital market.
On January 12, 2017, the SEC issued the Notification of the Securities and Exchange Commission Kor. Jor. 4/2560 on Determination of Definitions of Institutional Investors, Special High Net Worth Investors, and High Net Worth Investors. This notification revoked the Notification of the Securities and Exchange Commission Kor. Jor 9/2555, issued on July 9, 2012. The aim of the new Notification is to provide new definitions of investors that fall into the categories of Institutional, Special High Net Worth, and High Net Worth, and it is a main reference for any SEC Notifications that mention these key terms but do not include specific definitions.
Moreover, the SEC promulgated the Notification of the Securities and Exchange Commission Kor. Thor. 1/2560 on Determination of Public Advising Which Is Not Classified as a Securities Business in the Category of Investment Advisory Services (as amended by Kor. Thor 8/2560). These Notifications revoke several Notifications in the same category and set out various scenarios that allow investment advisory services to be provided without triggering licensing requirements, such as providing advice exclusively to Thai institutional investors. In addition, the Notifications allow foreign securities firms to provide advice to Thai investors through Thai-licensed intermediaries if they are able to meet certain requirements prescribed in the Notifications.
As Thailand’s capital market continues to mature, many new notifications from the SEC will continue to pursue the paramount goals of investor protection in tandem with the liberalization of the capital market.
Grant Thornton finds proportion of women leaders in Thailand continues to be in top three in Asia Pacific
On International Women’s Day, a report based on Grant Thornton’s annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies reveals that the proportion of senior business roles held by women in the Asia Pacific has risen from 23% in 2016 to 25% in 2017. This has been driven by improvements in emerging countries in the region, which saw the proportion of senior roles held by women rise from 26% in 2016 to 29% in 2017, while in developed countries the percentage remained static at 13%. However, the results of the survey also revealed that the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management across Asia Pacific has also risen, from 31% in 2016 to 35% in 2017.
In Thailand, women hold 31% of senior roles in 2017 which is one of the top three countries in Asia Pacific after Indonesia (46%) and the Philippines (40%). This year the research also showed that 25% of businesses in Thailand have no women in senior management, up from 21% last year. The senior management role with the most females in Thailand is CEO (40%) and CFO (34%). Globally, the travel, tourism and leisure industry have the highest proportion of women in senior management (37%).
Noel Ashpole, Partner at Grant Thornton in Thailand said “This year businesses across Asia Pacific have increased the proportion of senior roles held by women, however, further progress is needed. In particular, the increase in the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management is disappointing and there is a need for businesses to recognising the untapped potential that women can bring to a management team.”
“Whilst Thailand continues to be in the top three countries with women in senior positions, however, the trend is decreasing indicating the need for a continued effort to support women in the workplace. These results indicate that we could end up facing the same problem as developed Asia Pacific countries which only has 13% women in leadership positions. The balance between motherhood and career is one of the biggest challenges for Thai women, since having a family is often a significant priority. As a result, many have to choose between having a family and having a successful and fulfilling career due to the lack in supporting infrastructure.”
Globally, Grant Thornton’s data shows developing regions continue to lead the charge on diversity with developed economies lagging behind. Eastern Europe performs best, with 38% of senior roles held by women in 2017 and just 9% of businesses with no women in senior management. Meanwhile the MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) saw the most improvement, with the proportion of senior roles held by women rising from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2017 and the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management falling from 36% in 2016 to 27% in 2017.
This is a significant contrast to the major economies of the G7, which have remained static at 22% of senior roles held by women and 39% of businesses with no women in senior management. Developed APAC was at the bottom of the table with just 13% of senior roles held by women and 54% of businesses with no women in senior management, the worst performance of any region on both measures.
Noel commented “The data for major economies is discouraging. The reasons for this lack of progress are many and varied, and they depend on the culture of individual businesses and the broader culture of the country or region in which they sit. However, this year we encountered a concerning sense that the issue has plateaued, as companies perhaps assume the diversity challenge has been dealt with. The evidence tells us this is not the case.”
“Companies today need to be more productive, more innovative and in many ways more open if they are to grow. Diversity will be key to their success. Those that remain closed are putting themselves at risk of not tapping in to their full potential, and losing access to diversity of thinking.”
(Noel has over 25 years of experience in providing audit, internal audit and advisory services to local and international clients. She has worked with a variety of entities including multinationals, local listed and unlisted companies, branches and representative offices. Her industry experience principal includes financial institutions, insurance, banking and funds and manufacturing.)
To read more GT publications/news releases, please visit www.grantthornton.co.th
A magical evening will take place at Biscotti on 20 March 2017. Presenting another exclusive event in the calendar, Anantara Siam Bangkok brings world-renowned illusionist Lucca to Biscotti for one night only.
This exclusive event will run from 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm. A carefully-prepared four course meal will showcase the fine Italian fare Biscotti is celebrated for, and a delectable wine pairing option will enhance each dish.
The Art of Illusion
Lucca is a highly creative magician and member of the Vienna Magic Circle since 1999. A skilled illusionist and speaker, he offers a captivating show that connects with the audience. Having performed world-wide with a number of prestigious magic awards to his name, Lucca is excited to host this evening at Anantara Siam Bangkok.
The meal begins with Herb Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna accompanied by white asparagus and marinated capsicum. Diners can savour specially-created delights such as Mushroom Cappuccino with Parsley foam and Pan-Seared Salmon wrapped with Zucchini and Pancetta. Exquisite wine pairings include a 2006 Barolo Riserva from Piedmont, along with other vintages to complement each dish.
A Fascinating Evening
Guests can rediscover amazement and be thoroughly enthralled by this consummate entertainer whilst enjoying the finest Italian wine and food.
The exclusive evening is priced at THB 1,900++ per person for the set menu and show, whilst the food, wine pairing and show is available at THB 3,400++ per person.
For more information or reservations please call +66 (0) 2 126 8866 Ext. Biscotti or email: firstname.lastname@example.org