On December 25 in the year 1949, another billionaire of Chinese descent in Southeast Asia was born in North Sumatra, Indonesia. His name is Sukanto Tanoto, the founder of Singapore-based Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), a conglomerate involved in timber, palm oil, pulp and paper, and power generation. According to forbes.com, his net worth was $1.4 billion as for December, 2020.
Sukanto Tanoto was the eldest of seven children of a businessman who owned a spare parts shop. In 1967, his father suffered a stroke and had to drop out of school to take over the business. With his business acumen, he became a supplier to government infrastructure projects. In 1973, he organized a plywood company with the help of a general and named it Rajah Garuda Mas. The factory was inaugurated by President Suharto himself in 1975. Later, the company was renamed Royal Golden Eagle (RGE).
Subsequently, RGE put up Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Ltd as its pulp and paper subsidiary. It also expanded into palm oil and energy industry. In 2016, Sukanto completed the purchase of Bracell, reputedly the world’s largest producer of specialty cellulose. It was also reported to be building a huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) in British Columbia, Canada.
Sukanto Tanoto has four children with his wife Tinah Bingei. At present the RGE Group controls assets worth more than $18 billion employing over 60,000. It has established corporate offices in Singapore, Hongkong, Beijing and Nanjing to complement its Djakarta Head Office. It manages manufacturing operations in Indonesia, Brazil, and China.