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Large shopping complexes are opening one after another in Bangkok, one of Southeast Asia's leading commercial hubs. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)
Business Spotlight

Bangkok 'mall war' heats up as coronavirus clouds Thai retail boom

Oversupply fears spike after developers push expansion despite no foreign tourists

MASAYUKI YUDA, Nikkei staff writer | Thailand

BANGKOK -- The eastern outskirts of Bangkok were once a marshland known locally as Nong Nguhao, or Cobra Swamp. The more exalted Sanskrit name of Suvarnabhumi -- Realm of Gold -- was given to the area by late King Rama IX for the capital's international airport, which opened in 2006. With its hint of riches, the name is also apt for the hopes of developers who are turning the area into a new retail battleground.

On June 19, throngs of shoppers eager for a new experience after weeks of coronavirus lockdown came to the grand opening of Siam Premium Outlets Bangkok, a brand-new mall located less than 10 km east of the air hub, the main gateway into Southeast Asia's second largest economy.

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