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China muscling U.S. aside in Thailand
Thailand’s incoming prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, appears eager to expand business ties with China. She favors a Chinese proposal to construct high-speed trains and replace Thailand’s decrepit railway.
In January, Chinese investors began building a $1.5 billion China City Complex near Bangkok to manufacture clothing, household items and other goods.
Today many ethnic Chinese hold some of Thailand’s highest political, economic, military and cultural positions.
Chinese faces, fashions and symbols are promoted in Thai advertisements and pop culture as badges of financial success.
Several top Thai corporations, meanwhile, are trying to make profits by investing in China and hoping to copy the success of Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, which opened a chicken-processing plant in China in 1979.
The CP Groupt also invested in huge supermarkets, entertainment complexes and other industries.
Thai exporters use Bangkok’s port to ship goods along the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea into Hong Kong.
“People in Thailand are worried,” one former Thai diplomat told The Washington Times. “China’s economy is so big, and ours is so small, that we cannot compete with all the Chinese things being sold here.”
Another official expressed alarm over China’s growing economic clout.
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