LONDON – The recent turmoil around the Adani Group in India has renewed old debates about inappropriate connections between the country’s politicians and its biggest businesses. Similarly, Thailand’s recent election revealed widespread frustration toward a regime that appeared to have grown too cozy with the monarchy, the military, and business elites.
None of this is new in Asia. When Suharto was ousted from power in Indonesia 25 years ago, similar concerns bubbled to the surface, if only briefly. Now, ties between business groups and politicians are coming under scrutiny once again, and not a moment too soon. Market concentration has been deepening across the region as big, highly diversified business groups – most of them family-owned – come to occupy the commanding heights of national economies.