Thailand, the 1st of September 2010: Dhanin Chearavanont, owner of Thailand’s largest agribusiness conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, is officially the Kingdom’s richest man, with a net worth of approximately US$7 billion. Chearavanont moved up from his second placed ranking in 2008 on the back of a US$4 billion rise in his fortune.
Second place went to 78-year-old Chaleo Yoovidhya, co-owner of international energy drink manufacturer Red Bull, who has an estimated wealth of US$4.2 billion. Thai Beverage Pcl founder Charoen Sirivadhanabhadi  was ranked number three with US$4.15 billion.
The biggest gainer amongst the top 40 this year, in percentage terms, was Aloke Lohia whose wealth soared a staggering 252% after he took polyester company Indorama Centures Pcl public. Lohia was ranked sixth, with an estimated wealth of US$1.25 billion.
A reflection on the Kingdom’s current construction boom, new faces on this year’s list included Keeree Kanjanapas of property and construction firm BTS Group Holdings and Prateep Tangmatitham of real estate developer Supalai Pcl.
Despite the recent anti-government Red Shirt protests in Thailand, dominating headlines worldwide after the death of 91 people, Thailand’s tycoons have reaped the benefits from the nations impressive stock market growth.
Shockingly, the World Bank estimate that the richest 20% of Thai people earn approximately 55% of Thailand’s total income, while the poorest fifth take just 4%, further strengthening Red Shirt claims that the so called ‘elite’ get richer while the poor continue to struggle. Forbes estimate the combined wealth of Thailand’s top 40 richest people equates to over US$36.5 billion.
Meanwhile, a report in July by Forbes magazine confirmed Thailand’s revered King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, as the richest monarch in the world, for a third consecutive year, with an estimated fortune of US$30 billion. His net worth includes assets attributed to the Crown Property Bureau, which owns large sections of prime Bangkok real estate amongst other investments.