Taking Asia Digital

The sons and daughters of the region's old-line tycoons have made big bets on cyberspace

For four generations, members of Thailand's Lamsam family have run their business empire the traditional way. The clan elders, ethnic Chinese who own Thai Farmers Bank and the Loxley industrial group, called the shots without much input from the hired help. To communicate with the top brass at Loxley, for example, nonfamily members had to penetrate a rigid hierarchy, using deferential memos cluttered with flowery Thai phrases. The layers of control helped the Lamsams retain a firm grip on operations and discourage anyone from taking risks that could rock the family business.

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