Sura Khanittaweekul: From smart device sales to $670 million in one year.

With soaring sales of smart devices, entry of Sura Khanittaweekul on the list for next year comes with a $670 million wealth.

  Sura KhanittaweekulKittidech Charoenporn/Forbes Thailand
Sura KhanittaweekulKittidech Charoenporn/Forbes' take on Thailand

Forbes' coverage of Thailand's Richest 2022 includes this story. See the full list here.

The huge demand for smart devices during the pandemic drove up the wealth of Com7 cofounder and vice chairman Sura Khanittaweekul, who is new to the list with a $670 million fortune. Improvements in stock management—coupled with more pop-up stores and expanded services like hire-purchase loans—boosted earnings at the Bangkok-based IT retailer, which is one of Thailand's biggest Apple product distributors. First-quarter net profit rose by over a third to 782.1 million baht ($22.4 million) from a year earlier, on a 23% increase in revenue to 14.6 billion baht.

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In 2022, Bangkok-based Kasikorn Securities' senior equity research analyst Pisut Ngamvijitvong expects net profit to rise 8% to 2.9 billion baht from a year earlier and revenue to increase by 15% to 59 billion baht. "We believe that Com7 is in the good position to gain market share from smaller retailers," Pisut says. "Also, we think Apple products are for high-end customers, which are typically immune from the sluggish economy."

Com7, the company that relies heavily on US tech giant, aims to diversify its business in order to reduce its dependency. In April, Com7 partnered with a subsidiary of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services - the largest private hospital operator in Thailand owned by billionaire Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth - to launch a chain of drug stores in shopping malls this year. A month later, the company subscribed to a 3.6% stake of Bangkok-based fintech Sabuy Technology for 40% stake in Com7 distribution subsidiary Double7, so as to reach more customers

Suro, who majored in finance in the United States, opened his first store at Pantip Plaza, Bangkok's electronic mall, in 1996. As of January 2019, Com7 operates over 1,000 outlets under brands BaNANA and Studio7.