Chairul Tanjung: The Dentist Who Built a Business Empire

On this day, June 18 in the year 1962, one of the richest ethnic Indonesians was born in Jakarta. His name is Chairul Tanjung, the founder of CT Corporation, a retail, banking, and media conglomerate.

Chairul Tanjung
Chairul Tanjung (Credit: Facebook Page)

Chairul was born to a middle class family who owned a magazine company. He studied dentistry at the University of Indonesia. Because the family business was closed by the government for political reasons, he engaged in business himself to help pay for his studies. He sold t-shirts, books, and later added dental and medical supplies and equipment. Later, he formed a company to manufacture shoes but in 1994, he sold his shares to plan his next move. The following year, he bought a bank and renamed it Bank Mega.

In 2001, Chairul became the owner of a television station and in 2006, he purchased another TV station. When the local unit of France-based Carrefour was in trouble, he was offered 40% and he grabbed it. In 2012, he acquired the remaining 60% of the retail franchise. His other business interests include Versace, Mango and Jimmy Choo franchises, restaurant (Wendy’s), hotel, property development, agribusiness, energy, and minority shareholding in the Indonesian national airline, Garuda. His Bank Mega is now one of the largest issuers of credit cards in Indonesia. He established CT Corporation as the holding company for his various businesses. In 2016, he accepted a $400 million investment from Singapore sovereign wealth fund, GIC.

Although critics say his success in business is due to his political connections, Chairul claimed that he was never involved in any corrupt activity. He is said to be closed to the former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who appointed him as minister for economics.

Chairul is married with two children. According to, he is the 9th richest in Indonesia with a net worth of $3.6 billion as of June 18, 2020.

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