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Thailand: An economy on the path of globalization

The series tells the story in large part through interviews with local and foreign personalities — economists, historians, business leaders, and policy makers

Olivier Languepin



Thailand’s economic development has come a long way in the last 160 years since the signing of the Bowring Treaty with Britain in 1855.

That historic agreement opened the country to international trade and modernization stemming from the West’s industrial revolution.

The severe floods of 2011 were an indicator of Thailand’s globalized economy. This natural disaster affected the world supply of hard disk drives and automobile parts. It also inflicted one of the most severe cumulative insurance losses in history.

The severe floods of 2011 were an indicator of Thailand's globalized economy

The severe floods of 2011 were an indicator of Thailand’s globalized economy

“When I saw the impact of the floods on the global supply chain, I felt there was a need to tell the story of how this country had gone from a mostly agricultural society to a multi-faceted and fully globalized economy,” says Laurent Malespine, the film’s maker.

“In doing so, we also tell the story of how globalization and this closely integrated world is reflected everywhere.”

Malespine produced his five-part documentary with the support of Siam Commercial Bank, Siam’s first local bank.

Production began in early 2016 and took about 15 months to complete. The series tells the story in large part through interviews with local and foreign personalities — economists, historians, business leaders, and policy makers.

They include Anand Panyarachun, Ammar Siamwalla, Andrew Sheng, Surin Pitsuwan, Dhanin Chearavanont, Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, Jada Wattanasiritham, and Philip Bowring.

The 50-minute episodes are being broadcast on Thai PBS and are due for further transmission on TrueVisions and by the Nation Multimedia Group.

Malespine will be in the FCCT to narrate the first episode, which describes the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with Siam concluded by King Mongkut and the older Bowring, and the world of commerce it opened up.

Laurent Malespine, a Frenchman fluent in Thai, first came to Thailand in 1978, and has therefore been witness to about a quarter of the period in question. His work experience includes over 10 years reporting for leading international financial news agencies, including the Dow Jones Newswire and Bloomberg. He is also a former correspondent director of programmes at the FCCT.

7pm, Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Members: free, Non-members 450 Baht, Thai journalists and Students with valid ID: 150 Baht

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel.: 02-652-0580
Web Site:

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