The 14 June 2014 issue of Forbes lists the 50 richest Thais/Thai families. With all of the political turmoil in Thailand in recent years, most of it claimed or asserted to be in support of the wealthy elite – recall the remarkable Vice clip of rich dipsticks in Ferraris – it might be thought that the wealthiest might have seen a decline in their fortunes. After all, the economy has struggled, several of the richest families kicked in loot to back the anti-democrats, and things just haven’t seemed conducive for the rich to add hugely to their fortunes. So what has happened?
Most years PPT has posted a list of the wealthiest, always noting that the list leaves off the wealthiest family. That’s the “Mahidols,” also known as the royal family. In 2011, the Forbes list was:
- Dhanin Chearavanont, $7.4 billion
- Yoovidhya family, $5b
- Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, $4.8b
- Chirathivat family, $4.3b
- Ratanarak family, $2.5b
- Aloke Lohia, $2.1b
- Bhirombhakdi family, $2b
- Vichai Maleenont, $1.5b
- Isara Vongkusolkit & family, $1.4b
- Praneetsilpa Vacharaphol & family, $1.05b
The combined wealth of this top 10 was $32.05 billion, still quite a lot less than the royal family’s Crown Property Bureau.
What does the list look like in 2014? With a little adding together of the same families listed twice and lengthening to show changes, it is:
- Sirivadhanabhakdi family, $12.9b
- Chirathivat family, $12.1b
- Dhanin Chearavanont, $11.5b
- Yoovidhya family, $9.9b
- Ratanarak family, $5.1b
- Chaiyawan family, $3.9b
- Bhirombhakdi family, $2.8b
- Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, $2.3b
- Vichai Maleenont, $1.7b
- Shinawatra family, $1.7b
- Chatri Sophonpanich, $1.6b
- Thirakomen family, $1.5b
- Thongma Vijitpongpun, $1.4b
- Prayudh Mahagitsiri & family, $1.4b
- Keeree Kanjanapas, $1.4b
- Bencharongkul & family, $1.3b
- Aloke Lohia, $1.2b
- Osathanugrah family, $1.2b
- Wichai Thongtang, $1.1b
- Isara Vongkusolkit & family, $1.1b
Praneetsilpa Vacharaphol & family dropped to No. 25 on the list but increased its wealth to $1.1b. Of the top 10 families in 2011, all but the Vongkusolkit family had increased their wealth, most of them very substantially.
By 2014, the combined wealth of the top 10 on the list had rocketed to $63.9 billion. We have no way of knowing what the current assets of the royals and CPB are at present – they don’t have to provide such trivial details to the public. All we can note is that the wealth of the top 10 is now about double the 2011 assets of the CPB.
The wealth of the Shinawatra family increased 4.25 times between 2011 and 2014, outstripping the growth of the top 10. However, others did well to. The Chirathivat family wealth increase by about 3 times and the Chaiyawan family at about the same rate as the Shinawatra family.
Update: Our writer yesterday has been admonished and, in the spirit of “good order,” was made to stand outside her condo displaying a dangerous 3-fingered salute for neglecting to link this post about the richest with those who were thought to have funded the anti-democrat movement. He is truly sorry.