Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha billionaire has a tax-free goods empire in his homeland. And the king of this country has given Vichai his first name.
In 2007, businessman Vichai Raksriaksorn only ranked No. 21 in the list of Forbes richest Thais. Back then, he owned $200 million. But after nearly a decade, Leicester City boss had climbed to No. 4 with $3.2 billion of assets. He was also given the first name of the King of Thailand, and then he changed his name to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Although being a celebrity, Vichai rarely appeared in front of the media and accepted any interview. He often let his son - Aiyawatt (Top) act as the family's spokesman. "He is a successful entrepreneur and always tries to challenge himself to accomplish something," Top - now the vice president of Leicester told the AFP, "About 2 or 3 years ago, he wished the team success in the Premier League. And now we have done it ". Vichai was born in 1957 in a family of ethnic Chinese Thais. He has always shown the ingenuity to overcome the recent political upheaval in Thailand to make his empire increasingly successful. Vichai is the founder and CEO of duty-free stores - King Power. In 1989, it was just a small shop in Bangkok. But by 2006, King Power achieved great success won the right to sell duty-free goods at Suvarnabhumi airport, where they have the opportunity to reach millions of tourists. In 2013, his family was given the king’s name. "Any company wants to have long-term support from the government in Thailand cannot be political ignorance", Pavida Pananond at Thammasat University (Bangkok) said, "The fact that Vichai regularly appears next to the celebrities and members of the royal family has confirmed his strong relationship with important people". Vichai’s success also spreads to football. Being the new champion of the English Premier League, the value of Leicester now worth several times that number Vichai spent to acquire a few years ago. Proponents of Leicester warmly welcomed Vichai when he bought the club in 2010 for 40 million pounds (58 million dollars). That was when Leicester was in a very difficult situation. Vichai is a Buddhist. He believes in the power of Buddhism and used to bring Thai monks to give blessings to the team. Players also got the good luck charm. And although pumping million dollars to develop the team, pay debt and build facilities, Vichai still knows quite how to spend wisely. Leicester's success comes from the team spirit, effort and leadership of Claudio Ranieri, rather than the expensive star players. "The success of Leicester thanks to Mr. Vichai”, the Chairman of the Thai Football Association - Somyot Poompanmoung commented, "He cared about the players, like father and son. He was very close to them". Somyot has also been an acquaintance of Vichai for more than 30 years. Before football, Vichai liked polo. He and his son - Top were keen players. Vichai had a lifetime membership card at Ham Polo Club in London (UK). "Vichai is very smart," Sak - a Thai worker in the commercial center of King Power in Bangkok said, "He is the pride of the Thai people."