Thai tycoon Dhanin Chearavanont has reaped the rewards of investing in China, from the beginning of reform and opening up until now
Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, or Chia Tai Group, has become a household name in China. It was during the 1990s, when China Central Television began to present a weekly show called the Chia Tai Variety Show, that many Chinese people learned of the enterprise as well as its chairman, Dhanin Chearavanont.
On Sept. 3, 2015, Chearavanont was invited to ascend the Tian’anmen Rostrum in Beijing to observe the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the victory in the World Anti-Fascist War. He said that his participation was a recognition of Charoen Pokphand’s impressive development in China.
In the initial stages of China’s reform and opening up, Chearavanont, then at the age of 40, made the decision to invest in China. With Shenzhen’s No. 001 business license for a Sinoforeign joint venture in hand, he established Chia Tai Conti Co., Ltd., which back then was the largest modernized animal feed producer in China with an annual production capacity of 80,000 tons. Chia Tai Conti was not only the first foreign-funded enterprise to be established on the Chinese mainland after China introduced reform and opening up, but also the earliest and largest foreign-invested project in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.
The proactive move that Chearavanont took shocked the international business community, which was still assessing the situation in China. It represented a running start for Charoen Pokphand, which afterwards witnessed booming development in China after only a few years, with business expansion in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, petrochemicals, real estate, pharmaceuticals, retail, motorcycles, telecommunication and finance.
Over the past 30 years, Charoen Pokphand Group has accumulated a total investment of 110 billion yuan (US$15.9 billion) and has established more than 300 corporations, with a presence in nearly all of China’s provinces. The group’s total number of employees has surpassed 80,000. Chearavanont has kept a watchful eye on development trends in China, with a hope that Charoen Pokphand Group will continue to grow.