Indonesia, with its more than 17,000 islands, is a mosaic of diverse ethnicities, languages, and traditions, making it one of the most culturally vibrant nations in the world. The article unveils the compelling narratives and outstanding achievements of Indonesia’s top 5 richest businessmen. As economic trailblazers, these tycoons play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s financial destiny, contributing to Indonesia’s status as a dynamic force in Southeast Asia’s economic landscape.
Indonesia’s Top 5 Richest Businessmen
R. Budi and Michael Hartono, key figures in Indonesia’s business landscape, amassed their wealth primarily through investments in Bank Central Asia, seizing an opportunity during the 1997-1998 Asian economic crisis. Originally propelled by their father’s kretek cigarette business, Djarum, now led by Budi’s son Victor, the family’s fortune extends to holdings like the renowned electronics brand Polytron and valuable real estate in Jakarta. Notably, they ventured into the digital realm with the listing of Global Digital Niaga, the parent company of e-commerce giant Blibli, in Indonesia’s second-largest IPO of 2022, raising an impressive 8 trillion rupiah ($510 million).
Renowned as the “coal king,” Singaporean entrepreneur Low Tuck Kwong is the mastermind behind Bayan Resources, a prominent coal mining company in Indonesia. In addition to overseeing Singapore’s renewable energy firm, Metis Energy (formerly Manhattan Resources), he holds interests in The Farrer Park Company, Samindo Resources, and Voksel Electric. Low is actively supporting SEAX Global, a venture focused on constructing a submarine sea-cable system to enhance internet connectivity among Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Low’s journey began as a teenager working for his father’s construction business in Singapore, and his move to Indonesia in 1972 marked the turning point, leading to substantial success as a building contractor before hitting the jackpot with his first mine acquisition in 1997.
The Widjaja family, heirs to the late Eka Tjipta Widjaja’s business legacy, inherited an empire that originated with Eka selling biscuits as a teenage Chinese immigrant in Indonesia. Today, their conglomerate Sinar Mas holds diverse interests spanning paper, real estate, financial services, healthcare, agribusiness, and telecom. Eka’s four eldest sons now oversee the empire he built, while others within the family have established their ventures. Collaborating with Agra Surya Energy, state power company PLN, and China’s Trina Solar, Sinar Mas is investing $100 million to establish Indonesia’s inaugural integrated solar cell and module plant in Central Java.
Sri Prakash Lohia amassed a substantial fortune primarily through the production of PET and other petrochemicals. Relocating from India to Indonesia with his father in the 1970s, they co-founded Indorama Corporation, originally focused on spun yarn production, now evolved into a petrochemical powerhouse. Indorama manufactures a range of industrial products, including fertilizers, polyolefins, textile raw materials, and medical gloves. While Lohia continues as chairman, he resides in London, and his son Amit serves as vice chairman. Meanwhile, his younger billionaire brother Aloke Lohia manages PET polymer maker Indorama Ventures Public Co. from Thailand.
Anthoni Salim is at the helm of the Salim Group, a conglomerate with diverse investments in food, retail, banking, telecom, and energy sectors. Serving as the CEO of Indofood, a company generating $6.4 billion in revenue and one of the world’s largest instant noodle manufacturers, Salim also holds a stake in the Hong Kong-listed investment firm First Pacific. This firm has interests in Indofood and the Philippine telecom company PLDT. As the youngest son of the late Liem Sioe Liong, who had a longstanding association with President Suharto, Salim continues to expand the family’s ventures, including increased investments in mining, such as the consortium’s $1.6 billion stake acquisition in Bumi Resources in 2022. Additionally, Salim holds stakes in Medco Energi and Amman Mineral.