Dhanin Chearavanont is one of the richest persons in the world.
Now 79 years old, he owns familiar businesses not only in Thailand but also in many countries including China and the United States. According to Forbes Asia, he was the 4th richest person in Asia and the second richest in Thailand with a networth of US$13.9 billion. This is almost 13 times his networth in 2009 which was only $1.3 billion.
Dhanin Chearavanont (Photo credit: forbes.com)
The son of a Chinese immigrant, he was born in Bangkok on April 19, 1939. His father, Chia Ek Chor, started a seed and agricultural chemicals business. Though he was the fourth and youngest son, he has the attributes to be chosen as the main man to continue managing the family business.
And managed very well he did! Through the adoption of new technology, he grew and expanded the family business not only in Thailand but also overseas especially in China and countries in Southeast Asia. The group is now a massive conglomerate with operations in agriculture, insurance, telecommunications, retail and distribution, real estate, motorcycle manufacturing and education.
Dhanin has obtained a degree from the National Defence College in Thailand. As a child, he finished his primary education at a Chinese school in Bangkok before he left for Hongkong to continue his studies for secondary and college. In 1958, he returned to Thailand to help in the family business as an apprentice in management. He gained control of the company from his father in 1969.
Using the “farm to fork” strategy, he transformed the little-known company into an integrated corporation, from feed and chemicals production to distribution, from livestock raising to export of meat and seafood including frozen cooked meals. “We want to become the kitchen of the world”m he says in one interview with Forbes magazine. In the 1980s, he invested heavily in China and now, his company has factories and farm nationwide. In the 1990s and onward, he began expanding into unrelated fields such as telecommunication, retailing, and insurance.
Business was not his only concern. He was appointed as adviser/consultant in many of Thailand’s government ministries and offices particular on matters of economics and finance. At one time, he was a member of National Legislative Assembly.
Dhanin Chearavanont has five children with his wife Khunying Tawee Chearavanont. It was reported by The Nation newspaper that he has crowned his youngest son Suphachai as chief executive officer and Suphachai’s elder brother Soopakij as group chairman.
The following companies are the major subsidiaries of the CP Group:
1. Charoen Pokphand – a holding company
2. 7-Eleven Convenience Store
3. Siam Makro
4. Lotus Supermarket Chain
5. Chester’s Fastfood chain
6. CP Land – a real estate company
7. True Corporation – mother company of True Move telecommunication
8. Ping An Insurance – the C.P. group is the largest shareholder