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Thai billionaire turns travel writer

Update: March, 29/2012 - 09:52

 

Time is money: Billionaire Vikrom Kromadit signs books and chats with readers in his mobile home and office during a stop in HCM City's District 7. — VNS Photo Van Dat
HCM CITY — Thai billionaire Vikrom Kromadit, a businessman, philanthropist and writer, arrived in HCM City on Tuesday during his trip through six Asian countries, praising the development of Viet Nam in the last 20 years and saying that he plans to write about Viet Nam in his forthcoming book about Asia.

Vikrom made his announcement during an outdoor party introducing the Vietnamese translation of his autobiography, Be a Better Man published by Tri Viet Book Company, which has been sold more than 1.6 million copies and has been turned into a television series in Thailand.

"HCM City is very different from 20 years ago when I arrived in Viet Nam for the first time. I feel proud that the tallest building here is owned by a Vietnamese corporation," Vikrom said.

The founder of the Thai-based Amata Group, and one of the 40 wealthiest men in Thailand, said he completed two chapters for his new book, titled Journey to Mongolia, after leaving Cambodia on his current Asian swing.

During his 40,000km journey, Vikrom said he would like to learn more about other Asian countries and tell everyone about his life story. "Yesterday we cannot change, but we can make tomorrow better," he said.

"It's now the time for Asia," he replied when someone asked him why he had chosen to take a long tour of Asia.

"I usually travel by plane, but you cannot see much of anything this way. Travelling by car offers you more of a chance to see and experience new things," he said, explaining why he chose to travel on a caravan tour, which includes five luxury vehicles.

Three of the vehicles are designed as luxury mobile homes and offices, where he can take a rest and operate his business as he would at home.

The cars are accompanied by 13 people, who help him in cooking, office work and technical work.

After celebrating his 59th birthday on March 17, he started his seven-month trip on mobile homes from Bangkok, and then travelled to Mongolia, Cambodia and now Viet Nam. He will travel to China next.

Last year, Vikrom travelled three months to Laos, Cambodia and China via cars for a distance of 12,000km.

In Viet Nam, he and his team will travel to popular tourist destinations in Quang Nam Province, Da Nang, and arrive in Ha Noi on April 11.

Born into a poor family in Thailand, Vikrom is the eldest brother of 24 brothers and sisters. His father had several wives, which caused problems for him during his childhood, a topic that he discusses in his autobiography.

As a businessman, he created a giant industrial-park group of which he holds a 25 per cent stake.

Currently, he has two such industrial parks in Thailand and one in Viet Nam, with a total of 850 factories with gross output of some US$30 billion. The factories employ a total of 200,000 people.

Vikrom once was encouraged to enter politics and run for the post of prime minister, but rejected that kind of role because it was not suited to his work style and went against his philosophy in life, he was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post newspaper. — VNS

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