Since arriving in Chiang Mai to start field research I have begun to study Thai as well as had a meeting with Ajaarn Aryana Siriphon (Monday 1st Oct), who is a researcher at RCSD, she is part of a research team headed by Yos Satisambot who are looking at the influence of Chinese in a number of Southeast Asian countries. Aryana is looking at the Chinese in Thailand, which is why Danielle Tan arranged for us to work together. We discussed a few ideas for how our chapter on Chinese influence in Northern Thailand might play out. Before I forget here is a list of some of the points we covered.
New wave of Chinese in Thailand: Aryana mentioned three types of ‘Chinese’ she has identified as being part of the ‘new wave’ of Chinese in Thailand. They are located in one of three northern Thai border towns, Mae Sai, Chiang Sean and Chiang Kong.
- In the border location of Mae Sai (A border town in Chiang Rai province, Thailand which sits opposite Taichelek in Burma http://goo.gl/maps/xl9uS) at “Dai Wah” Market. These new Chinese are small business/entrepreneur type traders. It would be interesting to see whether these Chinese come from Yunnan province mainly or from other areas in China also to see how they have built networks with existing Yunnanese who are descendants of the KMT (50-60 years ago). There are also two Chinese Associations in Mae Sai, one is Yunnanese and the other is for Overseas Chinese. There is also a Chinese school in the area “Guang Ming”.
- In the port towns of Chiang Sean and Chiang Kong there is a Chinese presence in Shipping companies attracted by the FTA. Here the Chinese businessmen will hire a warehouse and also employ Chinese labour (200-300 Chinese labourers).
- In Chiang Rai there are also large privately owned companies, Chinese companies doing business with Thai companies. For example Sin Sing rubber, registered in Thailand, has recently bought 300 Rai of land next to the R3A where they plan to build a rubber factory.
Across the border in Laos there are also interesting developments involving large Casino’s. Across the river from Chiang Sean in Ton Pheung, Laos ( see http://thediplomat.com/2010/12/24/laos%E2%80%99s-chinese-gamble/).Meant to take up 3000 Rai, its owner is Jiao Wei, from Macao.
Can we do some analysis of the different waves of Chinese businessmen in Northern Thailand how this New Wave is interacting with the Older Waves? Are the Older Waves looking for opportunities by reaching back into Yunnan?
Suggest a survey to be done in the next few months in this area.