32, this is the number of billionaires in Thailand. That’s 4 more than last year, and it’s 10 more than Singapore. Thus, Thailand ranks first, with the most billionaires in Southeast Asia.

These figures reflect economic prosperity, including higher exports of high value-added products and an overall increase in household consumption.

The World Bank expects more than 4% economic growth for the year 2018. A first since 2012.

5 Thai families among the richest in Asia

Two-third of the richest people in Thailand have seen their fortunes rise this year. And in the first place, those who were already richest, since the fortune of the first 4 ranking has soared more than 21 billion Euros in just 1 year.

Of the 5 richest families in Thailand, the top 3 are in the Forbes ranking of the “richest in Asia’.

  1. The Chearavanont brothers, Charoen Pokohand group, who keep their first place with a fortune estimated at 25.5 billion EUR. CP is one of the world’s largest suppliers of animals and livestock. It is the company that generated the largest turnover in Thailand with 13.3 billion Euros in 2017. A figure that jumped 8% over the previous year (source).
  2. The Chirathivat family, which controls the Central Group (Central Plaza, Mandarin Hotel, etc.) moved into second place, one more than the previous year. Their fortune is estimated at 18 billion EUR. By 2022, the group plans to expand from 5,000 stores to 7,500 across Thailand.
  3. The Chalerm Yoovidhya family comes third in the standings with 17.8 billion EUR. Charlerm holds a 51% stake in Red Bull, which is 2017 sold 6.3 billion cans.
  4. Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi rose from 2nd to 4th place with a fortune of 14.7 billion EUR. He owns Thai Beverage, which produces the famous Chang Beer.
  5. With 4.4 billion EUR, it is Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, president and general manager of King Power, which is placed in the 5th position of the classification.

The wealth of the 50 richest personalities in Thailand is 137 billion Euros according to the Forbes ranking. This figure would have increased by almost one tier in just one year.

Billionaires up to nearly 30% in Asia

According to the Wealth-X report, the world has a total of 2,754 billionaires in 72 countries. A record figure up 15% over the previous year (2,473 in 2016) which is mainly fueled by a booming technology sector as well as strong growth in the number of ultra-rich in Asia.

In 2017, the number of billionaires in Asia for the first time exceeded that of the United States. They are 784 billionaires in Asia, 57 more than North America. A figure that jumped 29.2% over 2016.

In 2017, Thailand counted 770 personalities whose fortune was equal to or greater than 50 million dollars (42.5 million Euros). 32 of them are billionaires.

The rise of the Thai middle class

The economic growth of the last fifty years has created a vast middle class in Thailand. According to the BCG report, 17 million Thais are in the upper middle class, a quarter of the total population.

According to the official report prepared by the National Statistics Office in Thailand, the average household income in Thailand amounts to 26,915 THB per month (713 EUR) in 2015. That is an increase of 51% between 2006 (17,787 THB) and 2015.

These figures, however, hide some territorial disparities, since in the North-East region (Isan), the average household income amounts to 18,900 THB (500 EUR) whereas in Greater Bangkok (Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan) average household income amounts to 41,000 THB (1,100 EUR).

The overall increase in the in the standard of living is expressed in particular through a general rise in consumption in the country. On average, household spending increased 47% in 9 years, from 14,311 THB in 2006 to 21,157 THB in 2015.

Thais spend more on costumer goods such as clothing, shoes, but also in leisure (cinema, sports, restaurants, etc.) in education, health and well-being. This overall increase in household consumption and purchasing power stimulates and boosts the country’s economic growth.

The Thai economy is the most delightful, according to Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg’s “Misery” index, Thailand was named the world’s “least miserable” economy in 2018, out of a total of 66 countries. France in comparison is in 21st position.

The “Bloomberg Misery” index is based on the concept that low inflation and low unemployment reflect the happiness of the country’s inhabitants. In April 2018, Thailand had only 1.1% unemployment (one of the lowest in the world) and an inflation rate of 0.8%. Figures that reflect the country’s economic prosperity.

Inequalities that subside

Although inequality has declined over the past 30 years, from 67% in 1986 to 7.2% in 2015 (Source World Bank), significant disparities in household incomes and consumption remain. According to The Independent newspaper, 1% of the wealthiest Thai people hold 58% of the total wealth.

However, on a global scale, the numbers are much higher. In 2017, 82% of the world’s wealth was in the pockets of the richest in the world, which accounts for 1% of the population, according to the NGO Oxfam report.

Despite these inequalities, the Thai private sector plays a leading role in the economy. It is a major source of wealth creation and occupies a prominent place in entrepreneurship and investment, for the development of economic growth and employment.

The group TTC Assets has invested 3 billion EUR in the construction of the largest multi-function development in Thailand: One Bangkok. This major project, the future prestigious business district of the capital, will include several luxury hotels, office, ultra-chic apartments and green spaces. One Bangkok is expected to create 60,000 jobs and its complication date is scheduled for 2022.

The government has implemented several major projects, with the development of infrastructure (transport…) and massive investment, particularly in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) region.

$ 36.5 billion will be invested over the next 5 years, in addition to the introduction of numerous tax incentives. According to the source ASEAN Briefing, this new industrial pole should create 100,000 jobs per year, from 2020.

All these government projects are united in the “Thailand 4.0” program. This major project aims to make Thailand trade towards a knowledge-based economy and high value-added products and to make Thailand a country “developed and rich, according to international criteria”.

Measures that should create wealth, boost the Thai economy and reduce inequalities over the next few years.

Read also: “Great outlook for the Thai economy in 2018”