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Thailand’s richest man to build Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper

Thailand’s richest man wants to set another record.

Billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, via his recently listed property unit Asset World Corp, has his sights on building the nation’s tallest skyscraper.

Details are scant — no official height has been set and completion isn’t expected until 2025 — but the tower, at the centre of another $948 million project on the banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river, is emblematic of Asset World’s aggressive growth strategy.

“It embodies what our company aims to do — set new trends and lift the benchmark,” said Asset World’s Chief Executive Officer and Charoen’s daughter, Wallapa Traisorat. The skyscraper will be a “new landmark” and draw more visitors to Thailand, she said.

Its planned construction, however, comes at a difficult time for the Southeast Asian nation’s property and tourism markets. Bangkok is facing an apartment glut, with 100,000 empty units and more to come. And Chinese investors, who for years have propped up the real estate sector, are staying away because of the travel curbs and economic havoc caused by the coronavirus.

Foreigners are set to account for as little as 10% of apartment purchases in 2020, down from a fifth two years ago, consultancy Agency for Real Estate Affairs estimates.

Tourism in Thailand, meanwhile, which comprises around 20% of gross domestic product, is also taking a hit because of the outbreak. Receipts tumbled 3.6% in January from a year earlier to 188.8 billion baht, hurt by a 10% slide in outlays from Chinese visitors, data released earlier this week showed.

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