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Editorial

The Thai government is keenly promoting the Thailand 4.0 economic model, which seeks to move the country out of the middle-income trap and develop it into a high-income nation. To progress towards a value-based economy, the new model focuses on science, technology and innovation as drivers for sustainable growth and development.

The inbound investment market in Thailand remains active; Japanese FDI is as important as ever, and Chinese investors continue to eye the country. Through legislative changes, the government has aimed to move Thailand in line with international standards in areas like competition law, securities and anti-corruption, thus fostering a higher level of confidence among foreign investors. Meanwhile, the Cybersecurity Bill, Personal Data Protection Bill and amendments to the Computer Crimes Act illustrate the ever-increasing importance of IT in Thailand’s economy.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Pisut & Partners

Pisut & Partners is a leading law firm based in Bangkok having profound connections with international law firms across the region and other continents. The firm specializes in litigation and arbitration law, corporate M&A, hotels and hospitality, insolvency and restructuring, trade competition, labor and employment, immigration, insurance, transportation, administrative cases, and white-collar criminal matters including other general commercial legal services. Notwithstanding our expertise, the firm always understands our clients’ needs and budgets.

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Firms reported a positive start to 2018 for M&A and projects. In the latter, renewable energy is the major priority. The country has traditionally relied on energy imports in addition to the country’s home-generated energy. A report published in 2017 by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Ministry of Energy found that renewable energy sources could reach over 37% by 2036, surpassing the country’s original target of generating 30% of the country’s energy consumption from renewable sources. In addition to working on projects in Thailand, many Bangkok firms also handle energy and infrastructure projects in the ASEAN region, particularly in Laos and Myanmar.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is still strong. In significant developments in 2018, SET announced a new regulatory framework for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and also launched a crowdfunding marketplace using blockchain technology in an effort to improve access to capital funds for Thai start-ups and SMEs. Large IPOs have also made headlines in Thailand, particularly the Gulf Energy IPO, which, at the end of 2017, was the country’s largest for over ten years.

The Legal 500 has introduced capital markets as a separate category this year to capture and highlight the impressive work being done by firms in this field. It also created a new category for insurance, showcasing the interesting transactional, regulatory and contentious work being handled by a select few firms in the insurance sector.

Although Thailand’s is a relatively compact market, the country is home to a range of domestic and international law firms, each with a different strategy and business model. Clifford Chance’s departure from Thailand, announced in 2017, was big news in the legal market, and created new opportunities for remaining firms capable of handling cross-border transactions. In other developments, Chandler MHM Limited merged with leading Japanese firm Mori Hamada & Matsumoto after a long period of integration.

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