If you ever read Forbes, you’re probably aware that Indonesia is quickly becoming a country to watch in terms of globalization and economic development. But did you know that Indonesia’s wealthiest men are sitting on billions of dollars, too? Here are just seven of the richest and most successful people in the country.
- Eka Tjipta Widjaja
The founder of the Sinar Mas Group, one of the world’s biggest conglomerates, Widjaja is worth a fortune of more than $3 billion. His success can be linked to both entrepreneurial pursuits and a savvy sense for the right investments at the right time. It’s not bad for a 91-year-old who grew up in a small Chinese village!
- Sri Prakash Lohia
Originally from India, Lohia moved to Indonesia to pursue business opportunities after graduating from the University of Delhi in 1971. This risk paid off in spades as he completed venture after venture. Moving from yarns to textiles to petrochemicals, Lohia quickly proved to his investors that he had the Midas touch, and today he enjoys immense wealth as the result of his diverse endeavors.
Born to Chinese immigrants, Tanoto’s youth was riddled with hardships. For one, his parents had seven children and not enough money to feed them all; he was also denied access to an education by discriminatory laws in his youth. He persevered, however, literally toting a Chinese dictionary to business meetings, and today he’s one of Indonesia’s wealthiest citizens with a net worth of $2 billion.
- Djoko Susanto
Looking at the billion-dollar success of his mini-market chain, it’s hard to believe that Sustano only has a first grade education. What he lacks in classroom knowledge, however, he makes up in real-world experience: He was running his family’s street market stalls at 17, and just a few years later he graduated to brick-and-mortar businesses that sold groceries, cigarettes and electronics.
- Anthoni Salim
Most people only eat noodles, but Salim made a career out of it. The youngest son of Sudono Salim, himself a successful businessman, Salim carried on the family business by investing in everything from instant noodles to flour mills. He also bought several oil palm plantations and continues to reap their benefits today. As of 2014, he’s worth $2 billion.
- Martua Sitorus
Another oil palm producer, Sitorus does everything from cultivating to refining the beans. Not only does he own more than 500 plants in total, but they also work in tandem through a multinational distribution network of a half-dozen countries. Sitrous isn’t afraid to spend money to make money, and that’s probably why he’s one of Indonesia’s richest people.
- Robert Budi Hartono
Along with his brother Michael, Robert Budi Hartono is one of the wealthiest businessmen in all of Indonesia. His fortune can be traced back to the inheritance of a tobacco company at the ripe old age of 22. Despite his youth, Hartono turned the corporation into a successful enterprise, and it’s now the third-largest manufacturer of clove cigarettes in the entire world.
These are just seven businessmen that rose through the ranks to become some of Indonesia’s wealthiest people. They’re living proof that humble origins don’t matter: If you have a dream and a willingness to work hard, even a fruit seller can become a billionaire.