Conglomerates are the main players in the Indonesian economy, controlling core industries like agribusiness, banking and property and telecommunications. They are often built over multiple generations of a single, often ethnic Chinese, family.
Indonesia’s biggest conglomerates – Sinar Mas Group, Royal Golden Eagle, Lippo group and Salim group – and their their owners are household names. Their businesses have an immeasurable impact on the daily lives of Indonesians: from the soap they use to wash the dishes, to the phone credit they use, and even the hospitals they attend.
Over the past two decades, Indonesia’s biggest conglomerates have emerged not just as domestic oligarchs but increasingly as regional players. This has come about through a series of acquisitions and joint ventures, but also through expansion enabled by the ASEAN regional economic architecture.
To help us understand how Indonesian big business has transformed Indonesia and is now reshaping our region, Jacqui Baker chats with Faris Al Fadhat, Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the Muhammadiyah University Yogyakarta. Faris is the author of the Rise of International Capital: Indonesian Conglomerates in ASEAN and his new book Expansi Kapital, which was published this year by Kompas Publishing.
In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Tito Ambyo from RMIT and Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales.