How Thai Startups Survived During Political Turmoil: BBC

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Thai protests in Bangkok

Despite barricades all around the city, Thai businesses found a way to carry on.

In an interview with BBC News, aCommerce Founder and Group CEO Paul Srivorakul talks about setting up a company in the middle of a political coup and how, despite the turmoil, the tech logistics startup managed to find a silver lining during a tumultuous situation.


People stayed at home. They were scared to go out and shop, therefore they did more ecommerce.- Paul Srivorakul

The experience showed the American-Thai CEO that businesses should not be reliant in one area, especially in a developing country such as Thailand, where risks are higher. Diversification of services offered, as well as geographical diversity can also enhance business visibility and minimize risk when there is an issue in one market.

Siam Piwat Group, a Thailand based shopping mall and real estate enterprise also has a policy of actively trying to invest and expand in a time of domestic turmoil. Siam Piwat owns and manages Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok’s most iconic luxury shopping center. CEO Chadatip Chutrakul says this decision makes sense, as it is the cheapest time to do so.

All the construction costs go down. When we build, it takes around two to three years to complete. By that time, the economy would catch up, which it did everytime- Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Group

Despite Thailand’s political instability, growth in the country remains relatively robust. Thailand’s GDP grew 3.2% year-on-year in Q1 of this year, up from the previous quarter’s 2.8% growth. During times of turmoil, private companies mostly continued operating as normal, with ongoing instability making companies more efficient. Ho Ren Hua, CEO of Thai Wah Group, a large food products business with operations across Asia, credits Thailand’s private companies as growth enablers.

The role of the private sector is to continue to help deliver economic growth, innovating new jobs and services.- Ho Ren Hua, CEO of Thai Wah Group.

With two government overthrows in the span of six years (2006 and 2014), Thailand has indeed been a politically volatile country, a factor that may scare off short term investors. However, as Thai companies and CEOs continue to successfully find opportunities despite government issues, it continues to makes for a interesting economic landscape.

A version of this appeared in BBC News on June 28. Read the full article here.