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The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) is working with Linguaphone Group Ltd to help them identify a suitable Master Franchisee for the Group’s Direct English language program for adults across Thailand. Greg Watkins BCCT, Executive Director, shares his thoughts and advice for anyone considering investing in the Thai market.


What is the key role of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand?

BCCT’s mission statement is “to serve the needs and promote the development of British business in Thailand and as ‘Partners in Progress’ contribute directly to Thailand’s economic advancement”. In practical terms, this is achieved by helping members develop their businesses in Thailand. BCCT has more than 550 corporate members and organizes more than 100 events each year. It also advocates on behalf of members at the macro level for greater access to the Thai market and at the micro level to help members solve day-to-day operational challenges.


Why should an investor consider Thailand to develop a nationwide English training business?

Thailand is an entrepreneurial economy that welcomes foreign investment. Education and training is a big sector in the Thai market. Many international companies have made Thailand their ASEAN hub, stimulating demand for skilled English language speaking employees, but there is a significant skills gap in English language speaking employees to meet the needs of these companies. Thailand needs the relevant skills to become a high-value manufacturing economy. There is definitely a need for quality language training programs in Thailand.


What is the potential of a strong English language training program such as Direct English in Thailand?

The blended learning model of Direct English (which offers both classroom-based and online English language training) has great potential in the Thai market. The brand new online platform Direct English Live will allow students to access learning resources and teaching schedules online, as well as enabling staff to track and monitor students’ progress instantly. It is accessible on all computer, smartphone and tablet devices. I believe this platform will add even more value to Direct English. Thais are receptive to new technology and this new interactive learning platform could be an interesting learning tool to create a different learning experience for Thai people.
Employers in Thailand require higher levels of English language capability from their Thai employees. The comprehensive nine-level language system incorporating Business English is what I believe makes Direct English stand out from other English language training programs in the Thai market. The nine-level course is designed to align with the levels outlined by the Common European Framework for Languages. It offers international English language training from the beginner to the corporate executive, while the Business English course uses specific business scenarios to teach effective listening, speaking, reading and writing in a business context.


What is your impression of the franchise market in Thailand?

The franchise market is growing in popularity among investors and has already been successful in the Thai market. According to the Thai Franchise Association report, the service franchises including education have a 17% market share. UK remains one of the leading providers of international education services to Thailand. However, UK educational franchise may face strong competition from American and Australian franchises and local language training providers that have gained popularity among local consumers.

Are you able to offer any advice to nationwide entrepreneurs interested in the exclusive franchise rights to Direct English across Thailand?

Yes, in simple terms ‘engage’. The main focus will be in Bangkok initially but the need for improved levels of English language literacy up-country is increasing.


For entrepreneurs and companies interested in the Direct English Training Business across Thailand, please contact


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