As part of our special Women of Power 2022, Prestige speaks with Wallapa Traisorat, CEO and Chairman of Asset World Corp Public Company Limited.
What is the mantra that Thailand’s top business tycoon keeps repeating to his children? Is advice believed to be the key to health, wealth, and the good life in general? The answer comes as a bit of a surprise.
“Eat. Sleep. Exercise,” says Wallapa Traisorat, the second daughter of Charoen and Wanna Sirivadhanabhakdi, whose net worth of more than 390 billion baht places them among the richest people in Thailand. every day. In fact, he called me the other day and reminded me to eat enough and get some more sleep. He said if we could do this right, we wouldn’t have to worry about other things in life.”
According to Wallapa, without good health one will never have the energy to pursue his ambition, and without ambition, there can be no success. This clarity of thought forms the basis of his strength, a strength that turned the family’s fledgling real estate business into an internationally acclaimed multi-billion baht empire.
An architecture graduate from Silpakorn University, Wallapa earned two master’s degrees: in land economics from Cambridge University and in regional and urban planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and after finishing her studies, she worked in Hong Kong. Kong as a financial analyst at Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific Limited. However, in 2001, her father asked him to come home to help with her family business.
Although the TCC Group, which his parents founded in 1960, started an ownership unit in 1989, only Pantip Plaza and Imperial Hotels generated revenue. The rest of the assets were land – many – and suspended projects.
“I believe that life is about an opportunity to learn. My father also taught me that we all have homework. Having the opportunity to do something is a blessing. Give it your all and do it with passion.”
“I organized the portfolio and decided which parcels could be developed for what purposes,” he explains. “I also started building teams and gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to excel in this field.” In 2002, she co-founded TCC Land Co, and under her supervision, the company’s portfolio, comprised primarily of land, grew to include hotels, retail stores, commercial buildings and golf courses. The following year, TCC Land entered into a joint venture with Singapore’s CapitaLand Ltd and entered the luxury condominium market with Athenee Residence on Wireless Road.
Asset World Corporation was subsequently established as a holding company and Wallapa took over. In 2019, he led the company to listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, creating the largest initial public offering (IPO) in Thai history and the world’s largest IPO at the time for the real estate industry. Today the company is worth more than 160 billion baht and, as proof of Wallapa’s business acumen, AWC is among the few companies that continued to grow during the Covid-19 pandemic. By the way, Wallapa herself was recognized in 2021 as one of Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen.
Although she admits to being proud when AWC projects win international awards (nearly 300 last year, in different categories), she is not someone who counts success only in terms of numbers. “When I build something of value and see that people appreciate what I put in and the project brings benefits to the community, that, for me, is success.”
As its long-term goal is to help make Thailand a world-class tourism and lifestyle destination, the list of “happiness” projects AWC has in the works seems staggering. Among the most notable is the mixed-use A Siam Asiatique in Bangkok, which will include two hotels, JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton, plus a Ritz Carlton residence and lifestyle office. Meanwhile, right in the heart of Bangkok, the 16 billion baht Woeng Nakhon Kasem is about to go big, and Wallapa hopes it will open up more space for creativity and festivity in the busy Chinatown area.
Of course, obstacles are an integral part when it comes to megaprojects, especially when not just one, but several are happening at the same time. “Everyone has a plan when they get going,” he says, “but plans often don’t match reality. What I try to do is focus on the risks. What is the worst that can happen? If the risks are within an acceptable range, we mitigate them. If certain opportunities really exceed our standards, then we have to give up.”
When it comes to giving advice to aspiring professionals, Wallapa goes back to his father’s teachings. “Patience is success. Sacrifice is freedom from danger. Listening is wisdom. Joy is long life. My father often quoted this Chinese saying to us,” he says, adding that he learned from an early age that gender has nothing to do with people’s performance and merits.
“My parents always work together, whether it’s at the conference table or when they travel. I have two sisters and two brothers, and they never treat us differently or assign us certain tasks because of our gender,” she notes. Not surprisingly, that idea of inclusion, as well as acceptance of diversity and equality, are among AWC’s human resources principles.
As for her own personal style, this mother of five laughs and says she hasn’t found one yet. “I go for what is appropriate for the occasion. I can wear shorts when I go out with my kids, but for something more formal, my outfits should be what my mother will approve of.”
In short, Wallapa is the type of person who appreciates every moment. “I believe that life is about an opportunity to learn. My father also taught me that we all have homework. Having the opportunity to do something is a blessing. He gives all of you and do it with passion”.
To learn more about Wallapa, view his full profile here.
Photographer: Bert Sivakorn
Assistant Photographer: Sakonlapak Petcharayutapan
Editorial Coordinator: Kanyaphat Somwong
Location: Bangkok Marriott Hotel Surawongse