This story appears in the July 2022 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia
This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Thailand’s Richest 2022. See the full list here.
Rising demand for smart devices during the pandemic has fueled the wealth of Com7 co-founder and vice-chairman Sura Khanittaweekul, who debuts on this year’s list with a fortune of $670 million. Improvements in inventory management, coupled with more pop-up stores and expanded services such as hire-purchase loans, have boosted revenue at the Bangkok-based IT retailer, one of the world’s largest product distributors. Apple in Thailand. First-quarter net profit jumped more than a third to 782.1 million baht ($22.4 million) from a year earlier, on a 23% rise in revenue to 14.6 billion baht.
Pisut Ngamvijitvong, senior equity research analyst at Bangkok-based Kasikorn Securities, forecast continued growth in 2022, forecasting an 8% increase in net profit to 2.9 billion baht from a year earlier and a 15% increase in revenue to 59 billion baht. “We believe Com7 is well positioned to gain market share from smaller retailers. Additionally, we believe that Apple products are aimed at high-end customers, who are generally sheltered from the sluggish economy,” Pisut says via email.
In the longer term, Com7 plans to diversify its activities to reduce its dependence on the American technology giant. In April, Com7 partnered with a subsidiary of Bangkok’s Dusit Medical Services, Thailand’s largest private hospital operator owned by billionaire Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, to launch a shopping mall pharmacy chain this year. A month later, the company bought a 3.6% stake in Bangkok-based fintech Sabuy Technology, in exchange for a 40% stake in Com7’s distribution subsidiary Double7, to reach more customers.
Sura, who studied finance in the United States, opened her first store at Pantip Plaza, Bangkok’s electronics mall, in 1996. Com7 now operates more than 1,000 outlets under the BaNANA and Studio7 brands.