Startup Ecosystem Report: Bangkok

Bangkok is a global leader in its startup ecosystem, consistently performing among the top and most developed ecosystems in our index. The city ranks 4th in the world behind Singapore, Berlin, and Kuala Lumpur. Since enpact’s last report in 2017, the city has seen growth in each domain and an 8.4% Growth in its global SFI score overall.

Bangkok performs strikingly well in the Human Capital domain, ranking first in the global index, with a score of 67.04. High female participation in entrepreneurship, low unemployment rates, university rankings serving as incredible strengths for the vibrant metropolitan city. Access to human capital in general is an overall strength for Bangkok as a measure by our indicators, however, startups often experience constraints as they compete with larger firms for access to talent. Access to foreign talent to fill needs is a constraint cited by many of our interviewees.

Overall, the city attracts many bright and eager labour participants. Bangkok has a Finance score of 46.95 and 19.82 for Startup Scene. While Bangkok still ranks above average for Finance and Startup Scene (4th and 10th, respectively), the city faces unique challenges in access to seed stage funding and the number of hubs in proportion to population size. However, these numbers do not portray the entire story. The Thai government’s established National Innovation Agency (NIA) works to encourage startup culture in Thailand, with significant investment made in technology parks, entrepreneurial events, and funding for new companies. The high degree of inequality and lack of investors willing to fund seed stage companies is a top constraint for finance. Both scores have improved since 2017.

The city has also seen an improvement in its Infrastructure domain with improvements in overall transportation quality, low levels of shortages, high ICT penetration of the population, and relatively cheap costs for internet and mobile internet. While improvements are evident, our interviews indicate that infrastructure tends to be a major constraint for Bangkok, with traffic and congestion affecting will accept which job depending on the feasibility of the commute. Still, Bangkok ranks 5th in the global index and has a score of 61.40.

Thailand has earned the fifth position in the global SFI for Macro-Political and Legal Framework, with many firms reporting a lack of constraints in criminal activity, an appealing VAT tax, low barriers to new business registration in terms of time and costs and effective governance. Bangkok’s score in this domain is 65.11, an overall improvement from 2017. Challenges in this domain result from some levels of political instability that tend to scare away foreign investment, legal frameworks that restrict the flow of talent, and the perception of corruption based on third party indicators from the World Bank and Transparency International.

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