Indonesia is a sprawling nation on the equator, towards the north east of the Indian Ocean. This country comprises more than 18,000 islands, making Indonesia the biggest archipelago in the world. In terms of total area, Indonesia is the 15th biggest country in the world. Their tropical climate and proximity between the Indian and Pacific ocean results in a hot, humid atmosphere through most of the country.
Geography aside, how’s this part of the world doing on the world wealth scale?
According to a CIA report , the 254 million residents of Indonesia had a GDP of $1.285 trillion over the past year, which amounts to $5,200 per capita. Despite a strong GDP growth rate of 5.3%, Indonesia suffers from a variety of problems that lead to significant income inequality, such as corruption, inadequate economic regulations and infrastructure issues.
Indonesia’s geographic location allows the country to produce valuable commodities that grow only in specific climates, such as coffee, rubber, plastics, palm oil and tobacco. In fact, the palm oil industry drives the wealth of almost half of the billionaires on this list. Other major sources of wealth are media companies, banks, holding companies, real estate development, construction and transportation.
15. Edwin Soeryadjaya – $1.3 billion
Edwin Soeryadjaya was educated in the United States before heading back to Indonesia to rule over Saratoga Investama Sedaya, which oversees 44 companies. His holdings also include the Adaro Energy coal company and Provident Agro, a plantation company. Soeryadjaya’s goal is to restore his family’s previous fortune, which dipped due to failed ventures. He’s the son of an ex-billionaire who was responsible for creating Astra automotive.
14. Hary Tanoesoedibjo – $1.4 billion
Residing in Jakarta, Hary Tanoesoedibjo is a billionaire who owns the largest media company in Indonesia, MNC Group. His latest efforts to expand have led to over half a billion dollars in investments, including toll road concessions, 2,500 acres of land from the Bali Nirwana Resort and another television station.
Many of his deals feature the involvement of the politically influential Bakrie clan. Two of his shows have been pulled from Indonesian airwaves over his political connections with the People’s Conscience Party.
13. Ciputra and family – $1.7 billion
Ciputra started the Ciputra Group as an architect and has led the company to incredible profits. He also created the Ciputra Entrepreneur Foundation, which helps migrant workers learn english. His latest creation is a real estate development that includes a group of offices, apartments and malls that spans over 123,000 square feet.
12. Martua Sitorus – $1.7 billion
As a self-made billionaire, Martua Sitorus built Wilmar International from the ground up, becoming the world’s biggest provider of palm oil and part-owner of Aviva Tower in London. His first entrepreneurial work was trading fish as a teenager. His latest interest is the family business, which recently acquired a piece of Whitehaven, a coal outfit in Australia.
11. Murdaya Poo – $1.7 billion
The past year has been full of unwelcome scandal for Murdaya Poo, who was caught in a web of bribery charges that saw his wife imprisoned and landed executives of Hardaya Inti Plantation in serious legal trouble. Nonetheless, Murdaya controls a vast group of assets that have made him a billionaire. His first business activity was selling newspapers.
10. Theodore Rachmat – $1.9 billion
Another Indonesian billionaire with links to the palm oil industry is Theodore Rachmat. However, the bulk of his profit were derived from his stake in Daya Adicipta Mustika, a motorcycle company. He controls the Triputra Group, which has managed to survive and thrive despite a large drop in one of their significant holdings.
9. Bachtiar Karim – $2 billion
Margarine and soap are the main sources of Bachitar Karim’s billions, due to the Nam Cheong Soap Factory that his dad created over four decades ago, which continues to thrive. He also owns Musim Mas, which owns one of the biggest refineries of palm oil on the planet, as well as tankers and a chemical production site. He gives back to the community by donating to the National University of Singapore and running an entrepreneur-focused program at the University of North Sumatra.
8. Tahir – $2 billion
Son-in-law of fellow billionaire Mochtar Riady, Tahir is a huge philanthropist who announced $100 million to target malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis while helping people with family planning through the Tahir Foundation. He signed the Giving Pledge and partners with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Indonesia. He’s a self-made billionaire who directed the Mayapada Group to massive profits in real estate and banking after being forced to drop out of medical school to take care of his father.
7. Sukanto Tanoto – $2.3 billion
The past year has been rocky for Sukanto Tanoto, who has been mired in $200 million of tax problems through his company Asian Agri. He also suffered a loss of $700 million due to A.P.R.I.L., his paper and lumber business. He responded by teaming up with the Wharton School in Pennsylvania to found the Tanoto Initiative for ASEAN education. Part of his fortune is from palm oil production managed by the RGE Group.
6. Peter Sondakh – $2.3 billion
Peter Sondakh has racked up a fortune through varied investments to become the sixth richest person in Indonesia. He leads the Rajawali Group, a company that oversees hotels, plantations, transportation and mining. When he unleashed his coal mining company to public markets through a bit of misdirection, its value skyrocketed by 18-fold since 2010. He also owns St. Regis Bali, operates Archipelago Resources and a toll road company.
5. Mochtar Riady & sons – $2.8 billion
Riady started with a bike shop and now owns the biggest tower in California, the U.S. Bank Tower, after purchasing it for $368 million. His son Stephen leads business in Singapore while James focuses on Indonesian affairs. Mochtar’s latest expansion was acquiring $476 million for an IPO linked to the Overseas Union Enterprise. His Lippo Group is pushing for profits in retail, healthcare and a movie chain.
4. Chairul Tanjung – $4.3 billion
Chairul Tanjung is a self-made billionaire who started as a dentist making roof tiles and footwear. Eventually, he owned CT Corp, which invests in banks and franchises such as Versace. He also owns Trans Corp, which recently purchased 80% of TelkomVision from the Indonesian state, resulting in control of two of the biggest stations in the country.
3. Sri Prakash Lohia – $4.5 billion
Born in India, living in London and an Indonesian citizen, Sri Prakash Lohia made billions in the plastics industry. He leads Indorama Ventures, which is one of the greatest producers of chemical compounds for plastic bottles in the world. A rabid art collector, he believes his collection of color lithographs is the second biggest. He also spent time and millions setting up a new school in West Java, named Politeknik Enjinering Indorama.
2. Michael Hartono – $8.9 billion
Michael Hartono is another Indonesian billionaire who has seen a significant reduction of wealth in the past year, enduring a $900 million loss of fortune. Some of the rest of his billions is from tobacco sales, specifically the Djarum company. His largest investment is with Bank Central Asia. He also owns part of Sarana Menara Nusantara, a telecom company.
1. R. Budi Hartono – $9.3 billion
R. Budi Hartono endured the same $900 million loss as his brother Michael. He’s co-owner of the Bank Central Asia, Sarana Menara Nusantara and Djarum, which was created by their dad. His sons followed in his footsteps, with Martin investing in Internet companies while Armand acts as a director of Bank Central Asia.