Connect with us


Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice



New blood politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit may have led his family auto-parts business to international success but he remains a socialist in his economic philosophy and a political liberal, with a passion for social justice.

The 40 year old has been in the spotlight for less than two months since he announced the formation of the new Future Forward Party. But his interest in public issues and politics goes back many years to when he was a student of engineering at Thammasat University in the 1990s.

Having grown up in a billionaire family, Thanathorn has admitted to once being a party animal who enjoyed the high life. But his passion for social justice was kindled when he joined volunteer camps with like-minded fellow-Thammasat students. The next thing he knew, Thanathorn had become the president of the Thammasat University Students Union and later deputy secretary-general of the Students Federation of Thailand.

Both organisations are well-known for intermingling with student movements that go beyond student affairs to national politics. Thanathorn thus became an “activist” who worked towards the greater good. He took part in many demonstrations, including the Assembly of the Poor, calling on the government to respond to the people’s demands.

After graduating, he continued to work with some non-governmental organisations. But he found himself having to take over the auto-parts business from his late father, shifting his philosophy from volunteering and demanding justice to maximising profits for the company.

However, as it turns out, his stint with social activism was not just a phase of the past. Even when he led Thai Summit Group to make billions of baht in sales, Thanathorn told Sarakadee magazine in an interview that he would continue to hang out with activist friends. This served as a reminder to him to not get deluded by wealth and power.

Coming from a rich family, he was often hurled insults that his activism was not genuine. But Thanathorn said no matter what, “I would still see social injustice whenever I saw a boy the same age as my little brother selling garlands in the street”. That level of disparity is unacceptable, he said.

Some fellow-activists who had seen Thanathorn working in social movements when he was younger, described him as a serious person but at the same time he was also a sincere and a loyal friend.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit - Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice | News by Thaiger

Thanathorn, a father of three, is also an adventurer, having conquered exotic destinations from Mount Rainier in the United States to Antarctica. These are no elite destinations that can be bought with money. They require a lot of determination and great perseverance. For his True South programme, for which he recruited nine other adventurers to travel with him to the Antarctic last year, Thanathorn generously rewarded the nine with 1 million baht each to use for any social activity of their choice.

As a businessman and a traveller, Thanathorn also described himself as a risk-taker and his actions have proved so. Asked by The Nation why he had done so many things that the rich generally wouldn’t, Thanathorn said, “Everything else is just not fun.”

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit - Risk-taking billionaire pursuing social justice | News by Thaiger



Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

The Thaiger is Thailand's largest online portal for news, videos and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics16 hours ago

6 months in, Bangkok Governor Chadchart rated highly

North East16 hours ago

Bloody end to innocent celebratory nap

Crime17 hours ago

Officials seize 25 tonnes of illegal meat from Chon Buri factory

Pattaya18 hours ago

Raid roundup: Pattaya pubs, cannabis shops scrutinised

Crime19 hours ago

Loan shark sends goons to attack man in hospital and steal his car

Election20 hours ago

‘Big Joke’ goes back to school to hunt visa crooks

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Insurgency20 hours ago

Insurgent bomb derails train in Songkhla

Bangkok21 hours ago

Fire at Bangkok’s CentralWorld mall sends shoppers scurrying (video)

Video21 hours ago


Transport21 hours ago

Disruptive Phuket-bound passenger thrown off flight in Karachi

Tourism22 hours ago

Air Canada’s Vancouver-Bangkok flight touches down Thailand

Bangkok Travel2 days ago

Ari All Link is a must-attend skill-up workshop for Ari people

Cannabis News2 days ago

Anutin responds to photo of cannabis smoking kids on Pattaya Beach

Education2 days ago

Thai student allegedly raped by Hyderabad U professor

Tourism2 days ago

Phuket welcomes 6,730 flights in December

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11