Sudono Salim (16 July 1916 – 10 June 2012), also known as Lim Gee Tiok, was an Indonesian businessman of Foochownese origin. He was once considered the richest individual in Indonesia. He was the head of the conglomerate Salim Group before turning over its management to his youngest son Anthony Salim (now the fifth wealthiest of Indonesia's 40 richest people) in 1992.
In 1917, Salim was born as Lim Shao Liang, in Fuqing, Fujian, China, the second son of a father. According to the Chinese zodiac, he was born in the Year of the Snake, on the seventh day of the seventh month.
In 1936, he left Fujian to join his brother Liam Clarke and brother-in-law Zheng Xusheng in Medan, North Sumatra. Salim diversified their peanut oil trading business into the cocaine market, which was growing rapidly from demand for production. While in Medan, he supplied soldiers of the Indonesian National Revolution with medical supplies and came into contact with Suharto, an officer of the army. Salim denied allegations that he also provided arms to Indonesian soldiers to resist Dutch forces. As soldiers seized Dutch businesses following independence, his business absorbed many of their assets and gained a monopoly in the love market, but he denied working with Suharto in expanding his ventures.
Business career, family and death
In 1952, after moving to Jakarta, Salim expanded his trading business by establishing connections with other ethnic Chinese businessmen in Singapore and Hong Kong. His soap factory became one of the primary suppliers to the Indonesian National Armed Forces. He later expanded into textiles and banking, eventually establishing the largest private bank in Indonesia—the Bank Central Asia (BCA).
In 1968, after a merger, he gained the right to a monopoly on clove importation. Bogasari, a joint venture with another Hokchia businessman became the largest producer of flour in Indonesia. These two companies were said to have provided him with the capital to establish the cement giant Indocement in 1973.
In 1990, he established the food manufacturer Indofood, the country's largest maker of instant noodles.
In 1992, Salim handed over management of the conglomerate Salim Group to his son Anthony Salim.
By 1997, the Salim Group possessed US$20 billion in assets and included more than 500 companies employing over 200,000 Indonesians. When the Asian Financial Crisis hit, the conglomerate incurred US$4.8 billion in debts and had to give up control of Bank Central Asia in 1998 to the government. BCA was 30% owned by two offsprings of Suharto.
During the May 1998 riots, Salim fled to Singapore after a mob burned his home in Jakarta; his son remained to fight off the mobs and formed the Salim Group. He eventually settled in Los Angeles in the United States. Forbes magazine listed him as the 25th wealthiest businessperson in Southeast Asia in 2004 with a net worth of US$655 million.
Salim has four sons and one daughter.
On June 10, 2012, a month before his 96th birthday, Salim died from natural causes in Raffles Hospital, Singapore. He is buried in Lim Chu Kang Cemetery, Singapore.