The Wall Street Journal recently released its Southeast Asia’s Power List of the 30 most influential business leaders in Southeast Asia who are paving the way for strong economic growth in the region.
The top five people on the list are Indonesians while positions 6 to 10 on the list are all Malaysians.
Aburizal Bakrie, owner of Bakrie Group, takes the first position. He is one of Indonesia’s most prominent business and political leaders. The billionaire’s business group is part-owner of Bumi Resources Group, Indonesia’s biggest coal producer by output, of which he is also the Chairman. He also is chairman of Indonesia’s Golkar political party, a member of the ruling coalition.
Second on the list is Putra Sampoerna, Chairman of Sampoerna Group, who is estimated to be worth more than $2 billion. After selling his tobacco businesses in 2005, he has been focusing on online gaming and agricultural businesses.
Ranked third is Anthoni Salim, CEO of Salim Group which has interests in everything from real estate to agriculture. Its Indofood Sukses Makmur has grown into one of the world’s largest instant-noodle makers.
Fourth on the list is Eka Tjipta Widjaja, the founder of Sinar Mas Group with interests in paper pulp, property and palm-oil empire. He is now one of Indonesia’s richest men thanks to his holdings in everything from Asia Paper and Pulp Co. to Golden Agri-Resources.
James Riady, CEO of Lippo Group, is ranked fifth on the list. The Lippo Group has interests in retail, real estate and media.
Usaha Tegas group chairman T. Ananda Krishnan was the highest-ranked Malaysian on the list, ranking 6th on the list. He is one of the biggest players in Malaysia’s broadcasting and telecommunications sector with satellite broadcaster Astro and mobile phone outfit Maxis Communications Bhd. among the firms he guides.
Seventh on the list is none other than Malaysian-born Tan Sri Robert Kuok, the richest man in Southeast Asia and often referred to as “Sugar King.” His business interests rangefrom sugar plantations to palm oil, hotels and publishing. He now resides in Hong Kong.
Ranked eight is the CEO of AirAsia, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. A former music industry executive, Tony Fernandes turned failing government-linked carrier AirAsia into a continent-wide sensation by pushing the low-cost airline model. He has since branched out into other businesses, including hotels and telecommunications. Just recently, he bought London soccer club Queens Park Rangers.
Ninth on the list is Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman & CEO of Genting Group and son of Genting founder Lim Goh Tong. Expanding gaming outfit Genting Group from its base in Malaysia, Lim oversees a multinational business with interests from Australia and Singapore to the United States.
Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, CEO of CIMB Group, is ranked 10th on the list. A banker by profession. he has turned Malaysia’s CIMB Group into one of the most powerful banking groups in Southeast Asia. His late father Abdul Razak was Malaysia’s second prime minister, while elder brother Najib Razak is the country’s current prime minister.
The list comprises 30 people in all. The other 20 on the list are:
11. Shamsul Azhar Abbas of Malaysia (President, Petronas)
12. Tay Za of Myanmar (Chairman, Htoo Group
13. Manuel Pangilinan of Philippines (Chairman, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.)
14. Ramon Ang of Philippines (President and Chief Operating Officer, San Miguel)
15. Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of Philippines (Chairman and Chief Executive, Ayala)
16. John Gokongwei of Philippines (CEO, Cebu Pacific)
17. Kuok Khoon Hong of Singapore (CEO, Wilmar International)
18. Sunny Verghese of Singapore (CEO, Olam International Ltd.)
19. Goh Choon Phong of Singapore (CEO, Singapore Airlines)
20. Chua Sock Koong of Singapore (Group Chief Executive, SingTel)
21. Liew Mun Leong of Singapore (CEO, CapitaLand Group)
22. Choo Chiau Beng of Singapore (CEO, Keppel Corp)
23. Piyush Gupta of Singapore (CEO, DBS Group Holdings)
24. Dhanin Chearvanont of Thailand (Owner, CP Group)
25. Charoen Sirivadhanbhakdi of Thailand (Owner, Thai Beverage Plc )
26. Chirathivat Family of Thailand (Owners, Central Department Store and Central Group)
27. Chamong Bhirombhakdi of Thailand (Owner, Boon Rawd Brewery Co. Ltd.)
28. Chatri Sophonpanich of Thailand (Chairman, Bangkok Bank)
29. Doan Nguyen Duc of Vietnam (Founder and Chairman, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group)
30. Steven Law of Myanmar (Managing Director, Asia World Co. Ltd.)