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Chairul Tanjung

If you are quite active in the market, you might be familiar with names such as Aburizal Bakrie, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, James T. Riady, Franky Wijaya, Anthoni Salim, and Edwin Soerjadjaja. Yup, they are the few who dominate the capital market in Indonesia. Each of them is the owner of Bakrie Group, Bhakti Group, Lippo Group, Sinarmas Group, Salim Group, and the Astra Group (But Astra has already sold to Jardine Matheson, the Hong Kong-based investment group). And they also included in the richest people in Indonesia. Then, where is the position of Chairul Tanjung?

Chairul Tanjung is the owner of Para Group, that later changed its name into Chairul Tanjung Corporation (CT Corp.). You may know Mr. Chairul just as the owner of Bank Mega and Trans TV. But like other major employers, Mr. Chairul has many companies that engaged in almost all areas and business sectors. Forbes estimated the assets value of Mr. Chairul reached up to Rp10 trillion, or around US$1.1 billion, while I personally reckon the asset value probability is greater than that number, perhaps US$2 billion. Whatever the number is, it’s certainly a remarkable achievement for an entrepreneur who started his career just as the campus photocopy stall owner.

Huh? Photocopy entrepreneur? Right! Mr. Chairul have learned to make money since he was very young, when he was still in junior high school, and has become a micro-scale entrepreneur since study at the faculty of dentistry in Universitas Indonesia (UI) in 1981. At that time, he was just 19 years old. Driven by the desire to live independently and no longer depend on his parent, he sells T-shirts, key chains, study books, etc. His income began to rise when he found the idea to utilize the empty space under the campus stairs, to be used as a place of business. And what occurred to his mind was a photocopy business. At that time, if the students wanted to copy a note, then they had to go quite far out of the campus to find a photocopy stall. The young Chairul think, if there is a photocopy stall on campus, then his fellow college students do not need to go out again just for copying. It was such a creative idea, and young Chairul started his career as an entrepreneur.

After college, Mr. Chairul run any business, from selling medical devices, until become a project contractor for factory building. His business began to occupy a higher level when he established a shoe factory for export in 1987. In the same year, Para Group was officially established.

Until nearly ten years since Mr. Chairul established Para Group, he was still a no-name  entrepreneur. His career as a ‘serious’ entrepreneur began when he acquired Bank Karman in 1996, and changed its name to Bank Mega. Where did the money came from? From the shoe factory sales. Mr. Chairul took a very bold step by selling shoes factory when it was in its glorious time, and chose to enter the financial services business that was going down because of the monetary crisis in 1998. But when the other entrepreneurs began to fall at that time, Mr. Chairul with his Mega Bank actually capable to stand out alone. In around 1998 to 2000, he entered the real estate business by establishing Bandung Supermall, and expand its financial services business by acquiring Monument Bank, that later changed its name into Bank Mega Syariah.

In 2002, Mr. Chairul entered the media business by establishing TransTV. Thereby, since 2002, Mr. Chairul officially have business in the field of financial services, property, and the media, that became the foundation to bring CT Corp played in almost every business sector, eight years later. Here are some of them:
  1. PT. Mega Corpora, the holding company of subsidiaries in the financial service sector, which are Bank Mega (bank), Asuransi Jiwa Mega Life (insurance), Mega Capital (stock market), and Para Multifinance (financing service).
  2. PT. Trans Corporation, the holding companies of the subsidiaries in media sector and other, which are TransTV (television), Anta Express Tour (tour service), Trans Mahagaya (fashion store), The Coffee Bean (food & beverages), Bandung Supermall (property), and Carrefour Indonesia (retail).
  3. PT. CT Global Resources, the holding company of subsidiaries in natural resources sector, which are Para Inti Energy (oil and gas), and CT Agro (oil palm plantation).

Although CT Corp business scope is very broad, but certainly it hasn’t as broad as the business of other more senior business groups, such as Bakrie Group or Sinarmas Group. However, considering that the age of Mr. Chairul is quite young for a major entrepreneur (48 years), and the group itself has stood for 23 years only, then it is worth the wait: Until what extent CT Corp is able to expand its business. It is not impossible that CT Corp will someday exceed all business of the groups mentioned above.

The Unique Chairul Tanjung

Mr. Chairul can be said to be very successful, because even though he initiated his business from scratch, but he was able to join 'The Billion Dollar Club', and align himself with other more senior great entrepreneurs. But if only just that, he is not alone. Some entrepreneurs like Hary Tanoesoedibjo and Sandiaga S. Uno, also started their business from zero point, and able to achieve success in a relatively young age.

What makes Mr. Chairul unique and somewhat special compared to other entrepreneurs is, he often participated in 'helping' the government to handle the state government particularly in economic problem, a problem that we know that the government itself is not so serious in handling it. As we know, there are many entrepreneurs who are looking for something different if their business has reached its highest level. If Bakrie choose politics, then Chairul Tanjung choose to participate in the development without taking part in the circle of power.

A while ago, Mr. Chairul participated in initiating the movement of 'Indonesian Vision 2030', a movement which contains ideals that Indonesia will be one of the countries with advanced economies in 2030. And recently, Mr. Chairul also co-founded the National Economic Committee (KEN), where he became the chairman. KEN helps provide a variety of recommendations to the government to boost the national economy. On several occasions, Mr. Chairul often said that Indonesia could advance economically bla bla bla, as long as bla bla bla. When he purchased Carrefour, the reason is not just for business, but 'As one of the largest retail company in Indonesia, Carrefour should be held by the Indonesian people as well. We can’t lose with the foreign in retail sector'.

In Indonesia, not many major enterpreneurs that care enough about the country and would not bother to take care of the national economy, even though they in fact able to do so. Usually they are busier to enrich themselves, and sometimes even have to harm others. The entire activity of Mr. Chairul in building his business over the years, did not reflect such profile. Mr. Chairul also not interested to trick the investors’ fund in Stock Market, as was done by the Bakrie Group and Bhakti Group. So far, there has never even heard about the business activities that harm other people. Yup, as a whole, Mr. Chairul Tanjung has an excellent profile and reputation as a businessman.

Chairul Tanjung and the Stock Market

I have met with Mr. Chairul at an event, some time ago. At that time, there were a lot of messages and tips by him. One of them was, 'If you have a business that is in its golden time, then leave the business and go to another business that hasn’t reached its peak. If not, then you will not get anything!'.

When Mr. Chairul sell his shoe factory, the performance was very excellent. The turnover was very large, and the profits were abundant, so it was lure a number of investors to acquire it. Most entrepreneurs will most certainly don’t want to let go the company if the company in a very good state. But Chairul Tanjung had another thought. He auctioned off his factory until he obtained the highest bid price. As a result, he managed to sell his small factory at a sufficient price to buy a bank! Although at first the bank that he bought was a small bank, but now Bank Mega has become one of the largest non-government banks in Indonesia.

Well, if the tips from Mr. Chairul is translated for investors on the capital market (and this is the core of this article), then the sound will be turned into, 'If the stock you hold currently at a high prices, then immediately sell those stocks. If not, then you will not get anything!'. When this article was written, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) has exceeded 3,300, and apparently continued to move upwards. All stocks were suddenly soar and make the investors rich. If you have received a very large gain from certain stocks that you hold, then why didn’t you sell it, at least some of them? Do not wait for the JCI to fall again and then you sell it, or you will not get anything!

Lots of new stock market investors were busy buying a stock when the price has soared. On the contrary, many investors were in a hurry selling the stocks when the price has dropped. This is clearly the wrong strategy, because you should run the strategy of buy on weakness and sell on strength. Not the vice versa! So do not be surprised if there are enough investors that suffered losses in IDX.

Mr. Chairul’s action in selling the shoe factory, can be compared with selling the penny stocks when the price is high. The money from the sale, then used to buy the cheap bluchip’s stocks (Bank Mega). Thereby, Mr.Chairul successfully entered higher stock levels. When the bluchip’s stock  then going up and continue to rise, then that's when Mr. Chairul started using the money from the gain of bluchip stocks – which is of course greater than the gain of the penny stock –  to buy a lot of penny stocks, such as Bandung Supermall, TransTV, until Carrefour. In the future, there can be even more 'stocks' that he collect.

So why didn’t you do the same way? Who knows that you will become a great investor who controls the market, someday?

As already mentioned above, Chairul Tanjung does not seem to be really interested in the stock market. Of the many companies, only Bank Mega (MEGA) and Anta Express Tour (ANTA) are listed on the Stock Exchange.

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