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Wednesday, May 03, 2006
By : Christovita Wiloto
CEO & Managing Partner
Wiloto Corp. Asia Pacific
Actually, nothing is unusual about the list of the richest people in the world in 2006 according to Forbes Magazine in its March edition. Indeed, the list now contains 10 newest rich persons from India, making the total richest people from that country into 23 names. While, Russia added seven new names, and pushed the total into 33 people.
But, the names occupying the top two are still the same, Microsoft boss Bill Gates, and veteran investor as well as the owner of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett. They are worth US$50 billion and US$42 billion respectively.
Underneath them, many popular names occupied the list, one of them is Lakshmi Mittal, the king of steel business from India, reputedly worth US$23,5 billion. What makes it interesting is that Mittal started his business 30 years ago in Surabaya!. Even he still owns PT PT Ispat Indo in Surabaya.
Another familiar names include the part owner of Microsoft, Paul Allen (US$22 billion), Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Al-Saud (Saudi Arabia, US$20 billion), the Mexico telecommunication tsar Carlos Slim Helu (US$30 billion), the retail king of IKEA, and Ingvar Kamprad (Sweden, US$28 billion).
What about Indonesia?
Now, was there any Indonesian that made it into the list of Forbes this time? It is easy to predict, the names are associated with the king of cigarettes company namely Rachman Halim, the owner of Gudang Garam, worth US$1,90 billion in the number 410 and Budi Hartono, the owner of Djarum, worth US$1,80 billion in number 428.
I don’t understand why Forbes did not include the name of Aburizal Bakrie and Putera Sampoerna in that March issue. The fact is currently Bakrie family is the richest in Indonesia with assets “reportedly” worth more than US$ 4 billion (around more than Rp 38.8 trillion) and Putera Sampoerna, who recently sold his shareholding in HM Sampoerna worth US$2 billion (around Rp18,4 trillion) to Philip Morris. Maybe, because this information has not reached the Forbes board of editors.
But, the most important thing is how this richest family of Indonesia can made it into the list of Forbes. The family of Rachman Halim a.k.a Tjoa To Hing, for instance, inherited the cigarette factory Gudang Garam, founded in June 1958, from its founder Surya Wonowidjojo.
Gudang Garam itself is the biggest cigarette producer in Indonesia, with the factory covering an area of 514 hectare in Kediri, East Java. This factory employs thousands of people from Kediri and its surrounding. It is no surprise that Gudang Garam becomes the driving force for the economic condition in that city. Without Gudang Garam, maybe Kediri – even though it has Sugar refinery of Ngadirejo – will still only be a small town among various towns and municipalities in East Java.
Halim family itself is no stranger to the label of the richest person. He has been in the Forbes list since few years ago. In Southeast Asia, he even managed to occupy the fourth rank. Likewise with Budi Hartono, also inherited the cigarette company Djarum from Oei Wie Gwan. Together with his brother, Michael Bambang Hartono, both the sons of this conglomerate from Kudus work hard to bring Djarum Group to its prominence even up to overseas.
The perseverance of the founder and manager of Gudang Garam and Djarum is what make them champion in their field. Totally, Gudang Garam and Djarum now has the market share of more than half of the domestic cigarette market. They each have their champion brands that almost become generic, such as Gudang Garam Filter, and Djarum Super. Popularity of these two brands only receives the threat from A Mild by Sampoerna, that is the market leader in the mild cigarette.
The interesting thing is that at the time when Halim family is consistently doing the cigarette business that has been at the core of their business for almost half of the century, Djarum Group decided to branching out into the property and banking business.
In the property, Djarum developed WTC Mangga Dua, Pulogadung Trade Centre and Grand Hotel Indonesia. While in the banking, Djarum owns Bank Haga and Hagakita, as well as 5% shares in BCA through Alaerka, which is a member of consortium Farindo Investment, that owns 51.19% shares of BCA.
The lesson that we can learn is how those Indonesian businessmen worked hard and persevere, able to grow their business and sitting alongside the other world class entrepreneur from all over the world.
Also, they give a major contribution to the people in the surrounding of their factories. They gave contribution also in giving prominence to the Indonesia in the sport arena. Badminton club Djarum Kudus, for instance, becomes the biggest contributor towards the national athletes that often won the international championship.
Meanwhile, we understand also that this kind of company is the biggest taxpayer in this country. Their contribution probably can only be matched by the big state-owned company such as Pertamina, or foreign company like Freeport.
Indonesia, I guess is tired with the black and dark businessmen with their dubious business reputation. Indonesia currently needs to have more businessmen with reputable integrity, respectable, honest, perseverance, hardworker and careful in doing their business, can be a good model for others, and able to sit alongside world-class businessmen.
If necessary, they can acquire also the world class companies in the world for the sake of bringing the glory for our beloved Indonesia.