No Facebook for this financier

PHOTO: No Facebook for this financier

THAILAND - Chongrak Rattanapian, executive chairman of Kasikorn Asset Management, admits that he is not one of the more than 10 million Thai fans of Facebook.

"I have no time for posting," he said.

He doesn't mean to buck the trend, but his day is too hectic to spend time uploading photos or other updates on Facebook.

His job requires appearing at various business functions. Lots of thinking is required as KAsset is well prepared to hold its leading position in the fund industry by growing assets under management toward the Bt1-trillion mark this year.

Each day, over 100 emails land in his mailbox, many of them analyses and reports necessary for the fund company's investment decisions.

He is also connected with many people through Line. There are some 30 groups.

Chongrak could be slow to respond, though, given his tight daytime schedule. He usually spends time at night reading all the chats on his iPhone 5s.

"One day, there were over 1,000 chats," he said. "Obviously, I have no time to keep updated throughout the day."

Well, Facebook's creator Mark Zuckerburg should not be upset.

No more fear of overseas trips for Thongma

Thongma Vijitpongpung, CEO of Pruksa Real Estate, is ranked the 14th richest Thai by Forbes Magazine.

One question is what does he do with his US$1.25 billion (S$1.57 billion) in net worth as of July, which placed him 736th on the billionaires list? Jetting abroad is not part of his to-do list.

The property development company has spread its wings to India and Vietnam, with a possibility of venturing into the Indonesian market. Yet, he has been to the sites just a few times.

Still, he has learnt something from rare overseas trips. Last year, his family including his 14-year daughter went to Japan. He was frightened at first, when his daughter said they should not buy a tour package so that they could go wherever and do whatever they wanted.

His fear was that they would get lost along the way.

"The signs were in Japanese. But then, there were people at the information booths to tell us how to get to our destination and how much we should pay. If you can get around the Japanese railway system once, you will never fear losing directions again," he said.

Now, he is entertained by his daughter's proposal for a trip to the Maldives later this year. Well, he should be relieved that there is no train in the island nation.

Today, not only do general people complain about the high cost of living, but also a billionaire like Pun Paniangvait, a senior executive of the country's best-selling instant noodle maker - Thai President Food.

Catching a flight from Don Mueang International Airport to Trang to attend the 31st Thai Chamber of Commerce convention, Pun was shocked when he went to a beverage kiosk to fetch some water for his father, Pipat.

"That bottle cost Bt40 (S$1.56)!" he said. Well, he didn't want to buy it but had to, as his father was thirsty.

At Bt40, it was more than four times the price quoted by convenience stores outside.

Well, Pun should have asked if "Mama" instant noodles were available. He could have been more surprised to learn that the price is far beyond the product's cost!