Bullets From Bangkok
- At roughly 300 stores per million Thais (in a population of nearly 70 million), the multi-brand retail scenario is comparable to the US
- Following a relaxation in FDI rules after the ’97 financial crisis, MNCs had easy access into retail sector
- Local capital proved no pushover; their protests forced out Carrefour
- New threat from the proliferating foreign-owned convenience store
Mr Lim, a third generation Chinese Thai, and his family manage to keep their 20-year-old, rundown ‘kirana’ shop open despite poor sales. Last year, in this now affluent part of Bangkok’s Klong Toey district, a brightly-lit 7-Eleven convenience store, open 24 hours, sprang up right opposite his home-cum-shop, and now has a steady flow of customers. Lim doesn’t entirely blame these “Sevens”, as they are known here, for the decline of his business. He notes a larger change in the architecture of the locality and the...