Mainland Chinese take a shine to Thai residence scheme for wealthy buyers, entrepreneurs

16-May-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Thailand’s Elite Residence Programme, which is designed to attract entrepreneurs and high-net worth individuals, saw a sharp uptick in interest from mainland Chinese applicants last year, with more than 700 submissions a rise of nearly seven times in three years.

The surge in applications comes as mainlanders face barriers to traditionally favoured immigration destinations such as Australia and Canada, while Thailand has highlighted its temperate climate and elite treatment for qualifying applicants.

“Globally, we are seeing more and more interest among high-net-worth individuals wanting to acquire alternative residence or citizenship as a means of diversifying their family’s opportunities and business interests and improving their quality of life,” said Dominic Volek, managing partner and head of Southeast Asia at global residence and citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners.

The Thailand Elite Residence Programme received 716 applications from people based in the mainland in 2018, up from 309 in 2017 and 106 in 2016.

For a one-time fee of between 500,000 and 2.14 million Thai baht (US$15,829 to $67,937), successful applicants of the programme are given benefits such as a visa validity of between five years and 20 years, and expedited immigration formalities and passport-control processing.

Thailand Elite Card, managed by Thailand Privilege Card Co a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports saw nearly 60 per cent growth in October to December, netting a profit of more than 280 million Thai baht.

Jules Kay, director of Bangkok-based Asia Property Awards, said the programme gives Thai real estate a “competitive edge” compared to other property markets in the region.

“In many ways, the Thailand Elite programme highlights the characteristics that have made Chinese visitors the top source of foreign receipts in Thailand’s tourism industry. In fact, tourism has been a key driver for International property investments in Thailand over the last decade or more and that trend looks set to continue with the sustained interest from China,” he said.

For a one-time fee of between 500,000 and 2.14 million Thai baht (US$15,829 to $67,937), successful applicants of the programme are given benefits such as a visa validity of between five years and 20 years, and expedited immigration formalities and passport-control processing.

Thailand Elite Card, managed by Thailand Privilege Card Co a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ministry of Tourism and Sports saw nearly 60 per cent growth in October to December, netting a profit of more than 280 million Thai baht.

Jules Kay, director of Bangkok-based Asia Property Awards, said the programme gives Thai real estate a competitive edge compared to other property markets in the region.

“In many ways, the Thailand Elite programme highlights the characteristics that have made Chinese visitors the top source of foreign receipts in Thailand’s tourism industry,” he said.

“In fact, tourism has been a key driver for international property investments in Thailand over the last decade or more and that trend looks set to continue with the sustained interest from China.”

The surge in mainland applicants had also coincided with a rise in the number of Hong Kong dollars and Chinese yuan transferred to Thailand for the purpose of buying condominiums.

According to the Bank of Thailand, Hong Kong dollars were the top foreign currency used to buy condominiums in 2018, hitting a record of 30.3 billion baht, and accounting for a third of the 92 billion baht’s worth of condominium sales during the year. The Chinese yuan ranked as the fourth largest foreign currency used to buy condominiums in 2018, totalling 8.8 billion baht, or about 9.6 per cent of total foreign buyer’s volume in the same period.

Other analysts said that even without the Elite programme, the ease of buying Thai real estate made it attractive.

“Foreigners can directly buy freehold condominium under their own name the same as a Thai citizen without any extra fees or duties,” said Phanom Kanjanathiemthao, managing director of Knight Frank Thailand.

He said rental returns on such investments were typically between 4 per cent and 5 per cent.

Last year, five nations ranked accounted for the bulk of applications to the Thai residence programme, led by submissions from China, Japan, UK, France and America.

The programme has separate streams designed to appeal to entrepreneurs and high-net worth individuals, or those with assets of between $1 million and $50 million.

“Considering the rapid development of the country, it has been an attractive destination for travellers and professionals moving to in recent years, it’s believed Thai’s property market in Bangkok will remain strong in the foreseeable future,” said Kenneth Kent, country manager at REA Group Asia- Hong Kong.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/mainland-chinese-shine-thai-residence-102041273.html

 


Category: China

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