American, who started business in Thailand when he was 16 – 17, is now a US$ billionaire

William Heinecke calls his empire minor group; because he started exploring business while he was a minor, age about 16 to 17. He is now a US$ billionaire. Forbes reports: “American born entrepreneur William Heinecke, 64, makes his debut among the world’s billionaires, thanks to a surge in the value of his Minor International hotel and food company. Shares of the outfit, in which he has a one third stake, were up 5% on Thursday; they have nearly doubled in the past year. Minor, which he founded nearly five decades ago, is now the largest listed hotel operator in Thailand and manages the Four Seasons, Marriott, and its own brand, the Anantara, which has 26 properties in 6 countries. It also operates 1,200 restaurants in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, under such brands as Swensens, Sizzler, Dairy Queen, Thai Express EXPR -2.44%, the Coffee Club and Burger King. Heinecke has been building his fortune in Thailand and throughout Asia for nearly five decades. The son of an American Foreign Service member and a Voice of America journalist, Heinecke grew up in cities across Asia and attended high school in Thailand. More interested in go-karting than studying, he convinced the editor of Bangkok World to run his column on go-karts in exchange for selling ads. He earned commissions, and within months he was making more than most full-time reporters. At age 17 he became the paper’s advertising manager. A year later, after he graduated,  he started a business selling office cleaning services and radio advertising. He was too young to get any loans, so he came up with a clever scheme to raise money, getting sponsors to pay for him to race his car from Singapore to Bangkok (Read More).

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