Indonesia: A Tycoon Under Siege

How Anthony Salim is fighting to save his family's assets--and clout

There was a time when the Salim Group, one of Southeast Asia's largest conglomerates, had everything going for it. Its founder, Liem Sioe Liong, had emigrated to Indonesia from China's Fujian province in 1938 as a poor but ambitious 21-year-old. He worked in his uncle's peanut oil shop in a backwater central Java town, scraping together the savings to start a business. Along the way he changed his name to the Indonesian-sounding Sudono Salim. More important, he befriended a hugely ambitious army officer named Suharto. After Suharto took over as President in 1966, he rewarded Liem with lucrative franchises in banking, flour milling and telecoms. By 1997, the Salim Group had $20 billion in assets and some 500 companies. Liem was not just big among the ranks of Southeast Asia's ethnic-Chinese tycoons. He was gargantuan.

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