Thailand's Anxious Giant

How Charoen Pokphand plans to ride out Asia's slump

As chairman of Thailand's biggest business group, Dhanin Chearavanont may be one of the richest men in Asia. But he still appreciates a good bargain. Sitting in a 23rd-floor conference room of one of his Bangkok office buildings, Dhanin discusses the strategy of his Charoen Pokphand Group. He points proudly to his white dress shirt. It was cheap, he says. He got it from one of his own stores. "It's not even $10," he boasts. He then points to his black acrylic socks. "These socks of mine, how much are they?" asks the Thai tycoon, who reputedly is worth more than $1.5 billion. "One dollar!"

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