Forbes magazine has published its 2008 list of Thai billionaires known as Thailand’s 40 richest.
Thailand’s 40 richest people have proved to be a stable lot. Perhaps because the list is dominated by businesses established decades ago, or perhaps because the same families have run the enterprises for so long, there has been little change. All 40 appeared on the list in 2007 or 2006, or have taken the spots of relatives who previously appeared.
Only the top five are actual dollar-billionaires. Kratin Daeng (Red Bull) tycoon Chaleo Yoovidhya is reportedly the richest Thai, with $4 billion to his name, half a billion more than he had a year ago. Thai Beverage pooyai Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi added another $600 million to his fortune over the past year, and is just $100 million behind Mr Chaleo.
Forbes admits freely that figuring wealth in Thailand is tough, because the Thaicoons lay off their money on children and family (and maids, right Mr Thaksin?). So they reckon that the third richest Thai is the shadowy Chirathivat family of Central Department Store and the Bangkok Post. Fourth is Dhanin Chearavanont and family, known collectively as the Chicken People of Charoen Phokphand, True, UBC and so on.
Still, even though the others on the list have something less than one billion actual US dollars to their name, it’s not bad being, say, Bill Heineke, the former International School of Bangkok dropout whose Pizza Company, hotels and other holdings give him and his high school sweetheart Cathy $460 million. Thaksin Shinawatra and family may be only the 16th richest in Thailand, but they have $400 million, plus they may get frozen assets back.
Most of the rich people are pretty plain to look at; they got brains and nerve instead of looks. That’s not true of the world’s 19th richest Thai, Nishita Shah, who got it all. She is the director of dry-bulk Precious Shipping, and is also the head of Burn Baby clothing. Khun Nishita is launching her own fashion label Nsha late this year.
According to the Precious Shipping disclosure form, she is
also the Director and shareholder of Globex Corporation Limited, Graintrade Limited and Unistretch Limited.
Guys, she is 28, beautiful, smart (Boston University degree), has a pilot’s licence, loves anything in hot pink, is worth $375 million and more every day — and is single.