Thailand: State urged to offer online VAT services

Ant Financial Services Group, the operator of China’s biggest online payment platform under Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group, has called on the Thai government to offer more online services for value-added tax (VAT) refunds and immigration processing to facilitate international tourists, particularly Chinese.
Simon Hu, president of Ant Financial, who met Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak on Thursday, said online services would speed up the immigration process and VAT refunds for foreign tourists.
The company reported more than 7 million Chinese visitors use its Alipay services a year, most of them independent travellers who visited second-tier Thai tourism provinces.
Based on Mr Hu’s suggestions, Mr Somkid assigned the Revenue Department and the Immigration Bureau to study the possibility of offering immigration services and VAT refunds online, saying faster services will attract more Chinese visitors.
Mr Somkid also asked the Chinese firm to encourage Alipay customers to visit more of Thailand.
Ant Financial Services Group, formerly known as Alipay, is the highest value fintech company in the world, and the world’s most valuable unicorn, with a valuation of UScopy50 billion.
In separate news, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corporation reconfirmed to the Thai government on Thursday its plan to invest 300 billion baht to establish an ethylene cracker facility near its existing refinery at Sri Racha, Chon Buri.
The company has already submitted its investment project to the Board of Investment.
Jeremy Robert Osterstock, chairman and managing director of Esso (Thailand) Co, also met Mr Somkid on Thursday and asked the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand to speed up its study on land development of a 600- to 800-rai plot near its existing refinery at Sri Racha, now that the company plans to launch its investment as soon as possible.
Mr Somkid said the ethylene cracker investment project by Exxon Mobil is one of 12 targeted industries the government wants to drive the country’s future economic growth.
Previously, Exxon asked the Thai government to help seek land plots sized 600-800 rai near its existing refinery as the ethylene cracker would need to be connected to the pipeline there.
The plant needs to be located near Laem Chabang port because the company plans to export petrochemical products to the region.
Exxon Mobil has operated in Thailand for more than 120 years as Esso.
The investment includes downstream operation, including a refinery and chemical manufacturing plant in Sri Racha, a network of distribution terminals and service stations, and a strong lubricants presence.
The company operates an onshore natural gas production site in Nam Phong district, Khon Kaen province.
In addition, the company has a business support centre in Bangkok that provides accounting, human resource information technology, retail operations, procurement, treasury and tax services, card operations and customer service to various Exxon Mobil affiliates worldwide.