Rich, rich, rich II

6 07 2013

PPT recently posted on the new Forbes list of the filthy rich. In a related story, Forbes discusses the rises and falls on this list of the fabulously wealthy. We only want to comment on two of these.

Global HouseAmong the new names on the list, the richest was Witoon Suriyawanakul, worth $700 million. Somewhat surprisingly, Witoon’s Siam Global House is based tiny Roi Et in the Northeast. Global House is a building supplies retailer, a bit like Lowes or Home Depot in the U.S. Witoon’s stores are concentrated in the Northeast, the country’s poorest region. Perhaps his rapid rise is something to do with the recent posts we have had on inequality and politically-generated growth in the Northeast (see here and here).  Forbes has a brief story about Witoon.

The second observation is about Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Who?

Readers may not recognise this name. However, they will recognise his business. Vichai’s near-monopoly, state-allocated, duty-free airport stores under the King Power name is well known. King Power has made him very, very rich. And his wealth has shot higher as tourists have streamed into Thailand. Apparently 52 million in Bangkok’s international airport alone in 2012! Clearly the near-monopoly position is a license to print money.King Power

The name King Power always seems incongruous for lese majeste bizarre Thailand.

Then Forbes tells us who Vichai was:

Previously listed under Raksriaksorn, Vichai switched his last name when the monarchy bestowed upon him the honorific Srivaddhanaprabha, which means “light of progressive glory.” An apt description given his past year….

The best available account of King Power and its economic and political power is by Chang Noi.

Readers might recall that PPT posted on this name change earlier this year. Back then we commented that royal recognition is a reward, and we wondered if this reward was political, for Vichai has been a political supporter of Newin Chidchob who was so critical to the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime and in opposing red shirts while holding the royal banner high. We did also note that Vichai is credited with having “plagiarized” the (now disgraced) Lance Armstrong and his plastic bracelets in Thailand and made them “Long live the king” bracelets and raised a fortune that he apparently pushed over to the palace. As we observed then, for the Chinese business class in the 1920s, getting a royal family name was a sign of inclusion and acceptance. Today, it must be a fitting reward for a very wealthy supporter of the wealthiest.


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28 10 2018
King Power helicopter down | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Rich, rich, rich II is about Vichai in the Forbes super-rich lists. […]

28 10 2018
King Power helicopter down | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Rich, rich, rich II is about Vichai in the Forbes super-rich lists. […]

28 10 2018
King Power helicopter down I | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Rich, rich, rich II is about Vichai in the Forbes super-rich lists. […]




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