The overseas Chinese enterprise groups throughout East Asia have grown into a significant economic driving force in the 1990s. Some social scientists and management scholars have, however, been uncertain about the real value of their roles in the industrialisation of the developing economies. The overseas Chinese entrepreneurs have often been seen in the light of mere opportunists, carrying on the tasks of a middleman and users of foreign technology but not making a genuine contribution to the process of industrialisation in the countries in which they are operating. Their tightly knitted family structure have also been cited as a strong barrier to the effective running of large corporations. This paper seeks to make a longitudinal, single-example study of the largest overseas Chinese conglomerate in Thailand, the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), and attempt a qualitative assessment of the contribution of this industrial-farming enterprise to the Thai economy in general, and the agricultural sector in particular. The findings show that although CP has its primary core competency in trading, it has nurtured a secondary core competency in integrated farming over the last three decades. It has successfully adapted modem farming technology from the USA and has been transferring the technology to the Thai farmers. The CP Group has made a significant economic contribution to the Thai agricultural sector where more than 70 percent of the population reside.
Faculty of Business staff papers, no. 102
Swinburne University of Technology
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