In September 2014, the publication Global Indonesian Voices focused on the richest men heading companies based in Singapore. Sukanto Tanoto, the Indonesian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist who leads the RGE Group of natural resources manufacturing companies, ranked number five on the list. He ranked just behind Philip Ng, Eduardo Saverin, Richard Chandler, and Kuok Khoon Hong. The publication drew on research recently published by Wealth-X, a Singapore-based firm dedicated to providing high-level business research on ultra-high net worth corporate leaders.
Sukanto Tanoto, who has manufacturing operations in Indonesia, Brazil, and China, maintains a worldwide presence at the head of RGE companies such as the palm oil manufacturer Asian Agri and the wood pulp and fiber producer Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL). Wealth-X reported Mr. Tanoto’s total wealth at more than 27 trillion Indonesian rupiah. RGE Group, a $15 billion corporation, grew from Mr. Tanoto’s early start as a seller of plywood products in the 1970s. He was instrumental in helping to propel Indonesia from a net exporter of raw materials to a fast-growing producer of finished products.
Some 50,000 people work for RGE Group, adding to the economic and social stability of the countries in which it has based its numerous international production sites and offices. As a philanthropist, Sukanto Tanoto and his family also formed the Tanoto Foundation to assist the educational, medical, and infrastructure needs of people in Southeast Asia and beyond, particularly those in the local communities in which their manufacturing and processing plants operate.
Philip Ng, who leads the real property acquisition giant Far East Organization with his brother, Robert, is a citizen of Singapore whose net worth is estimated in excess of 62 trillion rupiah. Eduardo Saverin of Brazil, who leads the technology company Anideo, comes in second with more than 50 trillion rupiah in net worth. Richard Chandler of New Zealand directs the operations of the multibillion-dollar private investment firm known as the Chandler Corporation. His estimated net worth totals more than 33 trillion rupiah. And Kuok Khoon Hong, who has a net worth approaching 30 trillion rupiah, leads Wilmar International, which, like several of Sukanto Tanoto’s business concerns, focuses on palm oil production.