Mr. Dupiech has steered KASA on a ride through stormy waters on its turbulent journey to get to where it is today. KASA’s success has been forged through the sweat and tears of this daring young French entrepreneur with a gauntlet of steep learning curves, costly deals with questionable business affiliations and an equal measure of trial and error. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and this is a story about the resolve of KASA’s founder, how he’s been tested, and the character of the company which has emerged unscathed on the other side.
Mr. John Dupiech came to Thailand from France in 2012 at an ambitious age of 22. He had to transit through Thailand on his way to study finance at a university in New Zealand and that’s when he stumbled upon a glaring opportunity on the southern island of Koh Samui. Having a keen eye for business, he noticed there was a lot of land in Koh Samui being sold at a price far below what could be fetched in the foreign market, a perfect match of high quality real estate directed towards international clientele.
The opportunity to invest in promising real-estate presented itself by purchasing a large plot of land and then subsequently subdividing them and selling them out at a profit. True to form, the company got off to a rocky start, and just as things began to look promising, John’s partner mismanaged the entity’s funds and their venture was immediately thrown into jeopardy.
Views on Thailand
After his first couple of years in Thailand, Mr. Dupiech had come to realise a few things about Thailand that would inevitably affect his future in the kingdom. Mr. Dupiech’s story — KASA’s story — is more than a tale of a man and a company fighting to adapt, it is also in many respects a story of Thailand and its inhabitants, it’s multifaceted societies and this place he has adopted as his new home. The context in which John found himself was one that could be easily misunderstood by those who’ve never experienced a culture shock of this great magnitude and that deserves a great amount of attention.
He had landed in a country more foreign to him than most and not only that, he’d landed on the remote island of Samui — a downright unfamiliar, yet full of potential environment. John later moved to Bangkok and has since had the opportunity to reflect on what he has identified about Thai culture, both in Samui and Bangkok, as well as how it differs from his European upbringing.
The West’s image of Thailand is probably far from accurate. Many people bundle Thailand in with the likes of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines or Myanmar, but the truth of the matter is that Thailand is leagues ahead in many aspects. Whereas these ASEAN economies are far more impoverished, Thailand is still viewed as underdeveloped even though it is light years ahead, even more so than some European countries.
Influences from outside of Thailand have had this strange effect on the country where certain facets of society are uniquely hybrid and very well-developed while others haven’t changed over decades. The country is lauded for how it has survived through it all.
Throughout all this, John and William have managed to foster strong friendships with the locals, some of whom have emerged to be lifelong partners in the industry.
Construction on Koh Samui
Driven by a strong sense of community, investing in Koh Samui is an investment in its people, who care deeply about the preservation and sustainability of this pristine island. The southern temperamental nature is not one to be tampered with, however, as it can take some time getting to know the values and norms which are necessary in avoiding any kind of friction with the locals. Manpower was scarce on the island and getting materials from the mainland onto Koh Samui was even harder. On the island everything was extremely slow paced. Slow life, as the locals say.