I hinted at this on a recent article regarding myths about Bangkok, and one myth I didn’t really include is the fact that Thailand is a third world country. I guess it’s still up for debate and something for another time, but one thing is for sure, Bangkok is one city not short on millionaires (and I mean Dollars not Baht), in fact make that billionaires!
Some of the big media moguls and entrepreneurs in Thailand have amassed huge wealth, not just for a Southeast Asian country, but for any country in the world. Here’s a list of Bangkok’s top 5 current richest residents:
Number 5 – Krit Ratanarak – Net Worth $3.9 Billion
The head of the Bangkok Broadcasting & Television Company, Krit Ratanarak is what you would call a media mogul. He owns and runs Thailand’s biggest TV station ‘Channel 7’, which has a massive one third share of the national viewing figures. He also has his hand in several studios and media companies, and has the controlling stake in BBTV.
In addition to this, he inherited the Bank of Ayudhya, which was founded by his late father, Chuan, which he recently sold a controlling stake in, to Japan’s biggest bank, the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, for an estimated $5.6 billion. Ratanarak also owns a large percentage of Siam City Cement, the second largest cement company in Thailand, and Eastern Star Real Estate.
Number 4 – Yoovidhya family – $7.8 Billion
When Red Bull cofounder Chaleo died in March of 2012, he left an enormous estate to his family (which is yet to be fully divided amongst its many members). Soon of a poor Thai-Chinese family which raised ducks in the small city of Pichit, Chaleo started out as an antibiotics salesman, and went on to form his own small company, TC Pharmaceuticals.
Chaleo then invented the Red Bull drink many of us know as the ultimate 7/Eleven pick me up. That was around 1976. A few years later it was discovered by a German Businessman, Dietrich Mateschitz, who found it cured his jet lag, and set up a partnership with Chaleo, helping to turn Red Bull into the huge global brand it is today.
As well as inheriting a 49% stake in Red Bull, the Yoovidhya family also now own a number of other investments in hospitals, real estate, and sports teams.
Number 3 – Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi – $10.6 Billion
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi was raised as the son of a street vendor and went on to become the king of Thai alcohol, with his popular Chang Beer and Sang Som Rum. His brewing company, Thai Bev, is the largest in Thailand, and without doubt the most successful.
Charoen has since made further investments beating off competition from Indonesia’s wealthy Riady family to buy Fraser & Neave, property and beverage conglomerate, for an estimated $11 billion. As a result Charoen now owns the most Marriott Hotels in Asia Pacific, as well as an additional six InterContinental hotels. He also owns the Pantip Plaza in Bangkok, where many of us head for our tech needs.
Number 2 – Chirathivat family – $12.3 Billion
A Thai family of Chinese decent, the Chirathivat family’s vast fortune has come from retail and real estate, owning a number of Bangkok’s huge department stores and the famous Central Group.
The family has also seen huge profit increase in their three largest companies, Central Plaza, a hotelier group, Central Pattana, Thailand’s largest retail group, and Central Retail, which is run by Tos Chirathivat.
The family is actually pretty huge, with the head of the family, the late Tiang Chiravat, having had three wives and twenty-five children, several of which now have major stakes and holding in other successful businesses in Bangkok and beyond.
Number – 1 Dhanin Chearavanont & family – $12.6 Billion
Thailand’s richest man, Dhanin Chearavanont, has recently been a man on a mission, making huge investments and leading a number of major takeovers both here in Thailand and abroad. In fact, such are his recent acquisitions, Dhanin was responsible for over half the $31 billion spent in Thailand on business sales and mergers in 2013.
Dhanin’s main areas of business and investment are food, telecommunications, and retail. Notably, he is third-largest operator of 7-Eleven stores in the world, and anyone who has ever been to Thailand will be able to tell you about the mass of 7-Eleven stores you’ll find here, and how popular they remain. He also owns discount retailer Siam Makro, and has a 15% stake in Ping An Insurance. The jewel in his crown is perhaps his telecommunications company, True, which is one of the leading mobile networks in Thailand and the nation’s largest residential broadband network.