Chapter 21: Explaining the Emergence of Thai Multinationals
Pavida Pananond1 The increasing participation of Asian ﬁrms in the global economy has been one of the key indications of the development of Asian business over the past few decades. Starting with the Japanese ﬁrms that emerged after the 1970s, but sharply increased their foreign direct investment (FDI) as a reaction to the rapid and steep appreciation of the yen in 1985 (see Itami, 1994), new players from the four Asian newly industrialized economies (NIEs) – Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – joined their Japanese predecessors in rapidly increasing their outward FDI during the 1980s (see Yeung, 1998). Household names, such as the Acer group of Taiwan and Samsung of South Korea, became renowned across the globe, not just in Asia. Later in the 1990s, a new generation of ﬁrms from smaller Southeast Asian economies began to venture beyond their borders, contributing favourably to the rise of outward FDI from Asian developing economies (see also Chapters 9 and 20 in this volume). Among the World Investment Report 2004’ s top 50 non-ﬁnancial multinational enterprises (MNEs) from developing economies, 2 14 hailed from Southeast Asia, including the CP group of Thailand (UNCTAD, 2004: Table I.3.1).3 Although the CP group was dropped from the list in 2005 (UNCTAD, 2005: Annex table A.1.10), partly owing to the rise of many MNEs from China (see Chapter 22 in this volume), its prominence remained high. The group’s president, Dhanin Chearavanont, was included as one of Asia’s top 25 most powerful business leaders in...
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