Thai Chinese

Thai Chinese are Thai citizens of Chinese, primarily of Han Chinese, origin who live in Thailand. Thailand is home to the largest overseas Chinese community in the world and is also the oldest, most prominent, and well integrated overseas Chinese community in the world with a population of approximately nine million people, accounting for 14% of the Thai population as of 2012. Most Thai Chinese have been in Thailand for five generations or more; the Thai-Chinese have been deeply ingrained into all elements of Thai society for the past 400 years. The present Thai royal family, the Chakri Dynasty, was founded by King Rama I who himself was partly Chinese. His predecessor, King Taksin of Thonburi dynastry, was the son of a Chinese immigrant from Guangdong Province and a Thai mother. Nearly all of Thai Chinese identify themselves completely as Thai due to the highly successful integration of Chinese communities into Thai society. Descendants of most once ennobled Chinese are among the leading Thai families today. In addition, over half of ethnic Thais (the rest are southern Thai who are mostly of Hainan, Gujarati and Malay descent) are descendants of people who migrated from southern China approximately 1,000 years ago and are directly associated racially, culturally, and linguistically with China's modern day ethnic minority group, the Dai people.

Thai Chinese are well represented in all levels of Thai society and make up a significant percentage of Thailand's business and upper class. They are estimated to produce 50% of Thailand's overall GNP. They play a leading role in the Thai business and commerce sector as they are estimated to control 81 to 90 percent of the Thai economy. The Thai Chinese business class is also dominant in the Thai finance sector. Thai Chinese are also well represented in the Thai political scene and most of Thai Prime Ministers were of Chinese origin.

Slightly more than half of the ethnic Chinese population in Thailand trace their ancestry to the Chaozhou prefecture in eastern Guangdong. This is evidenced by the prevalence of the Minnan Chaozhou dialect among the Chinese in Thailand. A minority trace their ancestry to Hakka and Hainanese immigrants.

Read more about Thai ChineseDemographics, History, Culture, Language, Trade and Industry, Religion, Dialect Groups, Surnames, Thai Prime Ministers of (partial) Chinese Origin

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