Rabeth-KhanDhanin Chearavanont is Thailand’s wealthiest man, an achievement he has accomplished by dedicating himself to a pragmatic business philosophy where benefit accrues to all those who are involved. In his capacity as the head of the Charoen Pokphand (CP) Plastics Business Group, he has overseen the construction of an agribusiness empire that even expands into IT. He was among the first wave of businessmen to invest in China’s agricultural sector – as early as the 1970s. This empire began as a humble seed shop set up by his father in Bangkok in 1921. By 1997, the group had become a serious player in the international production and distribution of food items. Its subsidiaries and businesses have delved into diverse fields like retail, insurance, breweries and pharmaceuticals. CP has benefited from his wise leadership. In the years of serious financial difficulties in Asia during the 1990’s, he steadied the ship by slimming down the diversity and scope of investment, as well as by focussing on pleasing investors inside and outside Asia. He is a man who has developed an immense social network and commands great influence and can be seen as responsible for much of the company’s sterling reputation abroad. He is a man who believes that benefits should extend to the clients, the employees and the shareholders. He is of the opinion that one of the keys to his economic success lies not in exploiting the farmer but in making him richer. His acumen for adapting to technological advancements, his philosophy of common benefit and his instinct to incorporate change have all been central to the rise of the group as a major player on the global stage.


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