Thailand’s Digital Economy minister has unveiled new tax incentives and has formally invited Google, Facebook and Amazon to set up operations in Digital Park Thailand – this as Intel’s local operation reportedly makes plans to move to Singapore.
DE Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj told reporters that plans for Digital Park Thailand have progressed significantly, and that companies setting up operations in the Digital Park in Sriracha on the Eastern seaboard would be exempt from income tax for eight years and pay tax at half the rate for the next five years.
In a first for Thailand, people working in Digital Park Thailand will also be eligible for a flat 17% personal income tax rate, which the minister had promised earlier as a measure to lure back overseas Thais. Currently the personal income tax rate in Thailand is 35% in the highest bracket for those earning more $1.41 million a year. Those earning between $21,000 and $28,000 pay 20%.
Pichet said that now was not the time to stall innovation by taxing it.
Earlier, the DE Minister promised companies “unlimited” bandwidth in Digital Park Thailand, while his deputy announced plans for a new fiber optic cable system from Sriracha to Hong Kong through Thailand and into the south of China.
Pichet’s announcement came as a report surfaced that Intel Microelectronics Thailand has laid off half its staff and moved its operations to Singapore.
According to a story in The Bangkok Post quoting an anonymous source, Intel’s country manager has been moved and that Intel will now centralize its operations out of Singapore.
Asked to comment on the anonymous report, Intel PR said in a statement that in April 2016, Intel announced a restructuring initiative to shift its focus from PCs to IoT and the cloud.
“To support this transformation, we restructured our sales organization to drive tighter alignment with Intel’s business units and fuel our growth engines,” the statement said. “We expect this to give us better focus and sharper execution in all the markets in which we operate.”
The statement concludes: “The restructuring of our Thailand operations is in no way related to the country’s economic or political environment.”