Chin Sophonpanich

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Chin Sophonpanich
Born(1909-11-10)November 10, 1909
Bangkok, Siam
DiedJanuary 4, 1988(1988-01-04) (aged 78)
Bangkok, Thailand
OccupationFounder of Bangkok Bank
Spouse(s)Lau Kwei-ying
Boonsri Sophonpanich
ChildrenRobin Chan
Chatri Sophonpanich
Charn Sophonpanich
Chote Sophonpanich
Chai Sophonpanich
Chodchoi Sophonpanich
RelativesChartsiri Sophonpanich (grandson)
Stephen Tan (grandson)
Bernard Charnwut Chan (grandson)
Kalaya Sophonpanich (daughter-in-law)

Chin Sophonpanich (Thai: ชิน โสภณพนิช; Chinese: 陳弼臣; pinyin: Chén Bìchén; 10 November 1909 – 4 January 1988) was a Thai entrepreneur who founded Bangkok Bank and Bangkok Insurance.


Chin was born to a Chinese immigrant father from Chaoyang, Shantou, Guangdong, China[1] who worked at a sawmill, and a local-born Thai Chinese mother in Thonburi,[2][3] Bangkok. At the age of five years, Chin was sent back to China for education, and upon returning to Thailand at 17, he took up his first job as a manual labourer.

In 1944, Chin founded the Bangkok Bank, which started with only two shophouses. The bank later expanded and diversified its branches into Hong Kong, and Chin lived in Hong Kong from 1957 onwards when Thailand came under the rule of Sarit Thanarat, after he fell out of favour with the former dictator.

By 1972, the bank was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Chin died in 1988. He had two wives. With his first wife, Lau Kwei-ying, he had two sons, Rabin Sophonpanich[4] and Chatri Sophonpanich. With his second wife, Boonsri, he had seven children, including Chote Sophonpanich and the Khunying Chodchoi Sophonpanich (Chinese: 陳鳳翎).

Chatri Sophonpanich served as president of the Bangkok Bank from 1980 to 1992, and his son, Chartsiri Sophonpanich, has been president since 1994.

Rabin Sophonpanich (also known as Robin Chan) has since relocated to Hong Kong with his family, and his son, Bernard Chan later became a local legislator and its Executive Council member.

Chin's daughter-in-law, the Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, wife of Chote Sophonpanich, was the Thai Democrat Party's Minister of Science and Technology. On 23 February 2009, she presided over the opening ceremony of the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, ROBIO 2008, held in Bangkok, Thailand. [5]


  1. ^ Chris Baker, Pasuk Phongpaichit. A History of Thailand. Cambridge University Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-521-81615-7.
  2. ^ Murray Weidenbaum, Samuel Hughes. Bamboo Network: How Expatriate Chinese Entrepreneurs Are Creating a New Economic Superpower in Asia. Free Press. ISBN 0-684-82289-X.
  3. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Chinese) 陈弼臣父子两代 情倾家乡教育 Archived 2005-11-07 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Founder Donors Archived 2007-03-17 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics