King Power and the king

22 11 2018

This is a post about kings of commerce and kings of country. The two may or may not be related.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the king of duty free, is barely gone and his empire may be unraveling. A Reuters report explains that the giant Central Group – one of the top 5 capitalist groups in Thailand – and DFS Venture Singapore have “snapped up retail and services concession at an upcoming airport in the eastern province of Rayong … beating out duty-free giant King Power.”

That concession allocation was controlled by the military.

As the report explains:

U-Tapao is the first airport in Thailand to hold an auction with multiple concessions, splitting up duty free and retail operations. Up until now, King Power has enjoyed near monopoly, being a sole operator with concessions in all major airports.

King Power’s monopoly concession ends in 2020.

Meanwhile, the king of the country is preparing for his next propaganda/image-building outing. The palace propaganda machine has now decided that the event can be for hundreds of thousands. Earlier reports were that the junta was recruiting 50,000 for the event, but now that figure is doubled for Bangkok alone.

As part of the incentive to drive participation, the palace has come up with “a uniform for Un Ai Rak cycling event participants” featuring the childish scrawling of the king. This will be given away. That’s a large and expensive exercise. It remains unclear who is coughing up for the free shirts.

The king’s also decided to “rehearse” the ride, promising even more traffic chaos and expense for the taxpayer.



One response

1 06 2019
Duty free awarded as it was always going to be awarded | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] mutterings that football oligarchs at King Power might lose their lucrative monopoly on duty free. Other retailers complained and mumbled about competing with King Power for the monopoly post-2020, when King Power’s […]

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