Thai Beverage is preparing to take its brewery business public on the Singapore Exchange in an IPO that could raise over US$2 billion. The firm behind Chang Beer is one of Thailand’s largest conglomerates and the IPO represents a stark contrast as the country’s economy struggles with the impacts of the pandemic and rising wealth inequality.
The Thai government is using the controversial lese majeste law to target critics of the monarchy after they demanded clarity about the role of a company owned by the king in the country’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The situation is not likely to help save the palace’s reputation or silence its critics.
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have taken the US by storm and now Asia may be looking to replicate this success, with Singapore leading the way.
China has found major buyers for its COVID-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia, even after studies of its Sinovac vaccine have reported wildly divergent efficacy results. The growing acceptance of Beijing’s vaccine without globally-recognized clinical trial results may end up undermining China’s image as a credible vaccine supplier.
In the restive southern Philippines, a new autonomous Muslim government on Mindanao formed by ex-militants is reaching out to Islamic State-linked terrorists. The effort represents the region’s best chance at lasting stability and hinges on bringing extremist militants to the table while also bringing economic growth and inclusive development.
Thailand has ordered millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinovac Biotech. However, misinformation about safety concerns may hinder the country’s planned mass immunization campaign.
An indigenous Karen community in Thailand has returned to their land in a national park years after being forcibly evicted and seeing their homes burned by authorities. The move has prompted heightened tensions in the saga of Kaeng Krachan National Park as the Thai government threatens to remove the villagers once again and prosecute them.
The Myanmar military’s coup is a gluttonous grab for still more power despite the generals’ already entrenched role in the recent civilian governments. The country voted overwhelmingly for another Aung San Suu Kyi government last November and was already struggling under the impacts of COVID-19 and a recent surge in its civil wars.
As Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen suppresses political opponents in an attempt to protect his power and prepare for the next general election, many Southeast Asian countries, particularly Thailand, are facilitating his political repression.
Indonesia is pushing to protect peatlands and mangroves from annual fires that are disastrous for the world’s carbon emissions. The efforts are key to the global climate struggle but face a major challenge from the palm oil, pulp and paper and logging industries.