Lars Lang, a partner at Thai Estate Scandinavia Company, said he regretted that a year of preparations had been undone by the recent unrest.
“The global financial crisis has clearly been a great challenge for all of us over the past five to six months,” the Danish entrepreneur said. “But the unstable political situation in Thailand right now makes it nearly impossible.
“This means a year’s work in convincing investor groups that Thailand is the best place to invest in in Asia is probably wasted.”
One of the investor groups has cancelled its plans to visit Thailand and is unwilling to channel any more resources into the country because of prevailing tensions, said Mr Lang, who is also a partner in Lang Consulting and Asia Prestige Group.
It would take another year before investors started to think about doing business in Thailand, he said.
“Mid-2010 is the first realistic time that they will look at Thailand again and they will instead look at opportunities elsewhere in Asia,” said Mr Lang, who is currently in Europe but will be returning to Thailand in June.
Thai Estate Scandinavian has been involved in five developments in local resort destinations. They include the SeaRidge condominium and villas in Hua Hin, two condominiums in Phuket, a villa project on Samui, and the Ocean’s Edge luxury condominium in Pattaya. With more than four years of experience working in Thailand, Mr Lang said he had analysed growth opportunities and tried to understand local ways of acting and thinking.
“One of my areas of focus and dreams has always been to find promising new areas in Thailand and thus create growth and employment for Thais and their families, but this will probably not be realised so long as the outside world does not see Thailand to be a stable place to invest its funds in,” he said.
“This is combined with an already complex and opaque corporate structure that convinces investors to move to other places in Asia. I have seen enough to admit that in the end the challenges have been very difficult here.
“I hope the world will soon see Thailand to be a stable and secure country and place to invest in again.”
Mr Lang urged the government to get the Board of Investment, local banks and key ministries working together to develop a constructive and visionary plan that would restore investors confidence.
However, he said his partners believed that internal tensions will eventually be resolved and that investment will flow back within a few years. The company is currently trying to raise 500 million baht for a new property project, which Mr Lang says will be different from anything else done in the country.
“It’s not going to be easy but we have already secured 50 percent as a loan on very good conditions.”
Mr Lang and his European and Scandinavian investors also hope to succeed with a new venture, Asia Prestige Group, which offers services to foreign and Thai companies seeking a presence in Scandinavian markets.