Heineken, ThaiBev locked in beer brawl – atimes.com, August 15, 2012
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Charoen was born in extremely modest circumstances, one of 11 children of ethnic Chinese parents in Bangkok in 1943. He was introduced into a group of well-connected Thais who possessed one of the rather archaic liquor licenses handed out on a zonal basis. In 1984, his business group won a clean sweep of all 11 regional liquor licenses that were offered up that year.
By then he was already powerful enough to ignore limiting liquor sales to within allocated geographic zones. There followed a fierce pricing war with his chief competitor until, in a move redolent of smoky back rooms, the two rival entities amalgamated in an arrangement that saw some several leading chieftains retire from the fray.
This left Charoen with a coterie of loyal associates and absolute domination of the hugely lucrative low-end segment of the Thai liquor business. He was already extraordinarily wealthy by this time…