The Richest Men in Indonesia

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A founding member of ASEAN and a member of the G-20 major economies, Indonesia is the world's sixteenth largest economy of the world by nominal GDP and fifteenth largest by purchasing power parity. In 2011, Indonesia’s GDP, 70% of which is based on its domestic economy, was on track to expand 6%  while the stock market rose 3%, helping boost the combined wealth of its 40 richest by 19% to $85.1 billion1. Here is a list of the richest men in Indonesia on the basis of their net worth evaluated in US dollars.
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R. Budi Hartono

With a net worth of $6.5 billion, R. Budi Hartono is the richest man in Indonesia apart from figuring at the  146th spot among the world’s billionaires2. The source of his wealth is Djarum, the clove cigarette company that Budi and his brother Michael inherited from their father. Despite being banned in United States along with other clove cigarettes since 2009, Djarum has launched Dos Hermanos, a premium cigar blending Brazilian and Indonesian tobaccos.
However currently the Hartono brothers owe their fortune to their revenues from Bank Central Asia, country's largest private bank. Among other interests of the Hartono group are palm oil investments interests including the 65,000 hectares of land in West Kalimantan that was acquired in 2008. Together the Hartono brothers also own Grand Indonesia, a luxury shopping mall, office building and hotel complex in the center of Jakarta. Through their newly created Global Digital Prima Ventures, they have again bought Kaskus, Indonesia's most popular website.

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In 1974 Budi Hartono as CEO of Djarum also founded the Djarum badminton club (PB Djarum) where players such as Liem Swie King and Alan Budikusuma have participated and won numerous championships for Indonesia.

Michael Hartono

Closely following younger brother Budi, Michael Hartono is the second richest man in the country with a net worth of $6.3 billion. Like younger brother, Michael inherited from their father Djarum the third maker of clove cigarettes in the world. In 2004 the Djarum Group acquired a 30 year BOT contract from the government to develop and renovate Hotel Indonesia in Jakarta under the Grand Indonesia superblock project. However now he owes most of his fortune to joint ownership of Bank Central Asia which is the largest private bank of Indonesia. 73 year old Michael lives in the city of Kudus in central Java like his 71 year old brother Budi. Michael is married and is father of four children.

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Low Tuck Kwong

Coal and mining magnate Low Tuck Kwong enjoys a net worth of $3.6 billion which makes him the third richest man in Indonesia besides ranking 304th among the world’s billionaires. Kwong heads the Borneo-based coal mining outfit Bayan Resources whose stock prices has tripled since its 2008 listing in Indonesia. Buoyed up by the surge, the company recently announced a $270 million deal to acquire a controlling stake in an Australian mining company. He also has stakes in Singapore-listed Manhattan Resources and Singapore HealthPartners, which plans to open an integrated hospital, medical center and hotel there in 2013.

Born in Singapore, Low worked for his father's construction company there in his 20s. He moved to Indonesia in 1972 in search of better opportunities. He thrived as a building contractor but made it big only after moving into coal mining. A passionate wild-life conservationist, Low has a zoo in Borneo with dozens of animals including gibbons, sun bears, and peacocks. Each year he makes substantial grants to his favourite project of rehabilitation of orangutans for reintroduction into the wild.

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Martua Sitoris

The next name to figure among Indonesia’s richest men is that of Martua Sitoris. With a net worth of $3 billion, Sitoris is the fourth wealthiest individual in Indonesia. The source of his wealth is palm-oil and he heads Wilmar International, one of world's largest palm oil producers in the world. Sitoris co-founded Wilmar International with Kuok Khoon Hong, who is the nephew of Malaysia's richest man, Robert Kuok. They merged Wilmar with the senior Kuok's plantation and agribusiness group in June 2007.  Currently Wilmar has over 300 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia, United States and some 50 other countries.

Post merger, Wilmar is on a path to expansion and Sitoris seems keen on making use of every growth opportunity in his way. The firm announced last year plans to build a natural alcohol plant in Netherlands with Texas' chemicals maker Huntsman Corp. Apart from this, there are also plans of investing in property in China.

Sitoris lives in Singapore; he is married and father of two children.

Sukanto Tanoto

With a net worth of $2.8 billion, Tanoto figures among the top five wealthiest men of Indonesia. He heads the Royal Golden Eagle – a business conglomerate with $12 billion in assets. It owns papermaker April and palm oil firm Asian Agri, besides having operations in China and Brazil. Tanoto’s energy company, Pacific Oil & Gas announced the launch of its LNG project, a joint venture with two Chinese partners, in Jiangsu Province, China. Tanoto is also a member of the Asia executive advisory board of Wharton and a member of the Insead International Council.

A self-made billionaire, Tanoto is fiercely proud of his humble beginnings. The eldest of seven boys, he dropped out of school at age 17 to help support his family. Reportedly, he taught himself English by translating Readers' Digest, Life and Newsweek.

Peter Sondakh

The next Indonesian to figure among the wealthiest men of the country is Peter Sondakh with a net worth of $2.6 billion. Owner of the Rajawali Group, Sondakh has been successful in almost every venture he has invested in – earlier he had stakes in cement maker Semen Gresik, tobacco firm Bentoel International and cell phone firm Excelcomindo Pratama all of which he sold to healthy profits. Currently the Rajawali group owns interests in mining, plantations, hotels, second-largest taxi operator in the country as well as a toll road operator.  Sondakh’s Group also owns St. Regis Bali, Surfers Paradise in Queensland.

Married and father of three children, the sixty year old self-made billionaire lives in Surabaya though he is believed to own a vacation home in Beverly Hills as well.

References:

  1. Forbes - Fortunes Of Indonesia's Richest Up 19%
     
  2. Forbes - The World's Billionaires – Indonesia