The Business Pillar of Suharto's IndonesiaAuthor/Editor:
Richard Borsuk,Nancy Chng
New Pb 573 pp.Subject:
Politics,Law & Business,Indonesia,History & Biography,EconomicsCondition:
After Suharto gained power in Indonesia in the mid-1960s, he stayed as the country's president for more than three decades, helped by the powerful military, hefty foreign aid and support from a coterie of cronies. A pivotal business backer for his New Order government was Liem Sioe Liong, a migrant from China, who arrived in Java in 1938. A combination of the Suharto connection, serendipity and personal charm propelled him to become the wealthiest tycoon in Southeast Asia. This is the story of how Liem built the Salim Group, a conglomerate that in its heyday controlled Indonesia's largest non-state bank, the country's dominant cement producer and flour mill, as well as the world's biggest maker of instant noodles.
The book features exclusive input from Liem, who died in 2012, and his youngest son, Anthony Salim. It traces the founder's life and the group's symbiosis with Suharto, his generals and family. After the tumultuous 1997-98 Asian financial crisis sparked Suharto's fall and a backlash against the strongman's cronies, Anthony staved off the crushing of the debt-laden group. Told in a journalistic style, the story of the Salim Group provides insights into Suharto's New Order. For business executives, students and anyone with an interest in Southeast Asia's largest economy, the volume makes a valuable contribution towards understanding the country's modern history.
Prof Robison, Pacific Affairs
"Numerous academics and journalists have written about Liem Sioe Liong. This is because it is not possible to discuss or to understand the political and economic history of modern Indonesia without dealing with this pivotal figure. But in this book, Borsuk and Ching have drilled down deeper than others, producing an analysis that is not only forensic in its detail but rich in its picture of the life and times of Liem. The authors paint a picture, not only of the wheeling and dealing that underpinned the rise of Liem and other Chinese Indonesian capitalists in the chaotic days following the ending of Dutch colonialism, but also of how military and political patronage and relationships with regional capitalists, including Chin Sophonpanich and Robert Kuok, became the factors of commercial success. The transition from a personalized operation to a more international, business-like and complex stage is well captured by the authors in their potraits of Liem and his son, Anthony Salim. This is an excellent assembly of data and insights that brings together an array of primary sources, interviews and other secondary material not matched elsewhere. It is a resource par excellence for researchers seeking to understand the process of capital accumulation by Southeast Asian Chinese capitalists or for those who are familiar with the people and business groups involved. Borsuk and Ching show us how Liem fitted into the broader structural architecture of Indonesia's political economy and how he had to weave his way through the crises that struck periodically, sometimes with devastating effect. We are shown how the fortunes of Liem were affected by the internal political struggles of the New Order and how he had to adjust to these. We are introduced to the threats that arose from a growing resentment of corruption and the concentration of wealth in the hands of conglomerates, which spilled over into anti-Chinese sentiment. Finanlly, we look at the Liem story through the devastating impact of the financial crisis and the struggle to rebuild the business and through the ultimate fall of Soeharto. In a sense, two books are offered here. One is a detailed explanation of the rise and transformation of a business empire. The other is a sometimes evocative story of the times of Liem".
1. A Javanese "King" and His Cukong
3. Establishing a Foothold
4. Crucial Links
5. The Scent of Money
6. "Gang of Four"
7. A "New Life"
8. Flour Power
9. Cement Build-up and Bailout
10. A Banking Behemoth
11. Broadening the Home Base
12. Going International
13. Helping Hands
14. Noodle King
15. Dark Clouds
16. The Sky Starts to Fall
17. Götterdämmerung of the New Order
19. Assets: Lost and Found
20. Moving Ahead
22. End of an Era
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