Thai Billionaires Embracing Yingluck Soft Power for Asia Exports

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In the hubbub of the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok in May, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, a scion of a business empire stretching from beer to real estate, jumps up from his seat during an interview when he sees Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra passing by. He bows to her, beaming, his palms pressed together near his forehead as he utters, “Sawatdee-khrap,” which means “Hello” in Thai.

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