10 Things You Didn’t Know About Michael Hartono

When it comes to influential figures in business and industry, Michael Hartono is a name that often comes up. A titan of the tobacco industry, Hartono, along with his brother Robert Budi, is the driving force behind the Djarum Group, one of the largest and most prosperous conglomerates in Indonesia. Despite his prominent status, Hartono is an individual who has managed to maintain a low profile, hence there are quite a few interesting things about him which are less known. Let’s discover the ten things you didn’t know about Michael Hartono.

1. Hartono is One of the Richest Men in Indonesia

As of 2021, according to Forbes, Michael Hartono’s estimated net worth stands at $32.4 billion. He is one of the wealthiest individuals, not only in Indonesia but in Southeast Asia. The primary source of this fortune is the Djarum Group, a conglomerate with business interests spanning various sectors, including banking, telecommunications, and palm oil.

His father, Oei Wie Gwan, bought a nearly bankrupt cigarette company back in 1950, renamed it Djarum, and turned it into a giant in Indonesia’s tobacco industry. After his father’s untimely death, Hartono and his brother managed to expand the business far beyond the tobacco industry into diverse areas as they inherited the company.

2. He’s an Accomplished Bridge Player

While often recognized for his business acumen, Hartono is also an avid bridge player. He fell in love with its strategic aspects, likening it to his experiences in business. Remarkably, the importance he places on the game is such that he has represented Indonesia in bridge competitions at international levels.

He competed in the 2018 Asian Games, making him the richest competitor at the event. Although he didn’t win a medal, it showcased his dedication to pursuing his passions outside the business world. He even sponsors Indonesian bridge teams and major tournaments, including the World Bridge Championships.

3. His Empire Extends Beyond Tobacco

While they made their fortune from the cigarette business, Hartono and his brother saw the necessity to diversify their business. As the realization of the harmful effects of smoking increased globally, they shifted their focus to other areas to guarantee the sustainability of their fortune.

Today, the Djarum Group, under the leadership of Hartono, has significant investments in the banking sector; they are the largest shareholders in the Bank Central Asia, Indonesia’s largest bank by market capitalization. Moreover, they have an investment portfolio in telecommunications, property, and even in the tech giants like Gojek, proving he’s a man who can adapt to the changing business landscapes.

4. He is a Private Individual

Despite his high profile status, Hartono keeps a low public profile. There are not many interviews or public appearances by him. Instead, he opts to focus on his work and his private life. This discretion also extends to his family; he married in the year 1960 and has four children.

His son, Victor Hartono, has followed his father’s business path and is actively involved in the operations of the Djarum Group. Maintaining this level of privacy, despite being one of the most influential figures in the country, certainly speaks volumes about his personality.

5. He’s Committed to Social Causes

It’s not just about business for Hartono. He’s also significantly dedicated to social causes and philanthropy. Through Djarum Foundation, he supports numerous social initiatives which focus on areas like environment, education, sports, and art.

The foundation provides scholarships for Indonesian students, and environmental programs to ensure a sustained and balanced environment for the future. In essence, shaping the lives of many Indonesians and giving back to the society from where he has gained so much.

6. He’s an astute Investor and Innovator

Michael Hartono has always demonstrated a keen eye for investing and spotting the next trend. He has been actively investing in technology startups in Indonesia and was amongst one of the first investors of ‘Gojek’- the widely popular ride-hailing app in Indonesia which later transformed into a super app, offering various services. This showcases his ability to foresee the potential in areas far removed from his traditional businesses.

7. Hartono and the Sport of Badminton

An interesting fact about Hartono is that he holds a particular passion for the sport of badminton. Djarum Group owns one of Indonesia’s top badminton clubs, which has produced several Olympic gold medalists. This reflects his dedication to not just nurturing business, but also promoting sports within his country, asserting the multifaceted nature of this successful entrepreneur.

8. He’s Not a Fan of Inheritances

Despite being a billionaire, Hartono had stated that his children will not inherit the family fortune. He believes that his kids need to make their own path and fortune. His dedication to philanthropy could be the reason behind this decision, to ensure his wealth is spent on causes that can help better society.

9. Michael Hartono and the Art World

Hartono’s Djarum Foundation has been heavily involved in promoting traditional Indonesian art forms. They have been providing grants and scholarships to empower young Indonesian artists and musicians. This undeniably proves that Hartono’s contributions are not just limited to business, but also enriched Indonesian society and culture.

10. He’s an Advocate for Clean Energy

Despite the fact that his business empire began with tobacco, Hartono is a strong advocate for clean energy. He purchased shares in the Indonesian state electricity company and plans to develop a 5 Gigawatt power plant using renewable and clean energy sources.

In conclusion, though known majorly for his business successes, Hartono’s life is adorned with many fascinating facets- from his bridge playing to his involvement in arts and sports to his firm stand on inheritance, making him a truly distinctive personality in the world of business and beyond.

Forbes Profile – Michael Hartono
Official Djarum Group Website
Djarum Foundation