Protests over the sale of Thailand's largest mobile phone operator to a Singaporean company are helping to fuel more widespread dissatisfaction with the country's controversial prime minister.
But despite complaints from Thailand's political opposition and calls for a boycott of Singaporean products, Singapore's government-owned Temasek Holdings is in the final stages of its $2bn takeover of Thailand's Shin Corporation, reports said today.
Shin Corp owns Thailand's largest mobile phone company, Advance Info Service (AIS), as well as a TV station, and also controls Thailand's main communications satellites.
Concerns have been raised by opposition politicians in Thailand about the sale of these significant communications assets to foreign interests.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that Shin is still controlled by the family of Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, the company's founder.
In addition, the buyer, Temasek Holdings, is owned by the government of Singapore, and its chief executive is the current Singaporean prime minister's wife.
Singapore's government has repeatedly stated that it has no control over the investment decisions of Temasek, which it says acts as an independent company, despite being government-owned.
The sale of Shin Corp with its mobile phone arm, AIS, comes as profits begin to decline in Thailand's mobile market.
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