Richest man in Indonesia named
Forbes has named Sukanto Tanoto as the richest man in Indonesia in 2008 with a total net worth of US$3.8 billion.
Tanoto ranks first ahead of other Indonesia’s rich men including R Budi Hartono, Michael Hartono, Putera Sampoerna, Martua Sitorus, Peter Sondakh, Eddy William Katuari and Eka Tjipta Widjaja.
The billionaire is known to make his name through Pertamina, the state-owned oil company, and later moved to a host of other businesses including Asia Pacific Resources and Raja Garuda Mas (RGM International).
RGM is a holding company with broad range of core businesses such as palm oil, paper processing, construction, energy and facilities.
Sukanto is a son to a Chinese immigrant, and shares similar stories with Robert Kuok, currently the richest person in Malaysia, the neighbouring country. However, in terms of wealth, Kuok is about three times wealthier than Sukanto with US$10 billion net worth.
Sukanto’s father migrated from the Fujian province in mainland China. When his schooling was halted after Suharto took over as Indonesia’s President, Sukanto’s life in business started. The eldest of the seven children worked for 16 hours per day, and started to grow his business day by day, before his first big break came with a large contract from a multinational company.