Zephaniah ApriliaCNBC Indonesia
Thursday, 01/06/2023 20:30 WIB
Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Astra is currently known as a conglomerate that controls various business sectors in Indonesia. This giant company, better known for its various automotive products, was born from the cold hands of William Soerjadjaja or Tjia Kian Liong.
However, who would have thought that during his journey to starting Astra, Willian had to face difficult times so that he had to stay behind bars. This incident happened to William in the 1950s. He was jailed on baseless corruption charges. In an instant, his good name was damaged and his company was in ruins.
After leaving prison he immediately got up. With the help of his sister, he bought an import company located on Jl. Sabang No. 36A, Jakarta. The company is in a condition of living reluctantly dying unwillingly. The business is a mess. While the office is very small and often flooded.
William’s younger brother then suggested the name of the company be called Astra. In the book Man of Honor: Life, Spirit, and Wisdom by William Soeryadjaya (2012), Astra is a figure of an Ancient Greek goddess who flies into the sky and becomes a bright star. With that name, her sister hopes that her brother’s company will suffer the same fate as the goddess.
As a result, on February 20, 1957, the exact day 66 years ago, Astra International Inc. officially began operating after being registered at the Sie Khwan Djioe Notary’s office.
Initially, Astra was engaged in the household needs sector. However, during the first 10 years since its founding, Astra limped and almost went bankrupt several times. This is due to the country’s economic instability throughout the 1960s. Sukarno’s fall and Suharto’s rise to the presidency brought blessings to William and the company. Astra began to show its fangs.
In 1966, William was hit by a windfall after receiving a US$2.9 million loan from the United States. Not only fresh funds, he also has the right to import anything from Uncle Sam. This privilege then became a big opportunity for the man who was born on December 20, 1922.
At the same time, the government, which is actively implementing projects, requires large trucks for transportation. Because import permits for large trucks in Indonesia are not stringent, William makes it a door for doing business. As a result, he decided to import Chevrolet trucks from the US and sell them to the government.
Bisuk Siahaan in Industrialization in Indonesia: Since Rehabilitation Until the Beginning of the Reformation (2000) noted that he imported 800 Chevrolet trucks at the start. This is where he started playing in the automotive industry.
Over time, William was subject to sanctions from the US and was no longer allowed to import trucks on a large scale. As a result, he glanced at the Japanese automotive market, which incidentally has not played much in Indonesia and is projected to skyrocket because Indonesia and Japan both have right-hand drives.
This partnership with Japan brought a turning point in William’s life. In February 1969, Astra officially cooperated with Toyota. Since then, Toyota vehicles ranging from trucks to ordinary cars have proliferated in the country. Slowly, Astra is also marketing Honda, Isuzu and Daihatsu. As a result, more and more Japanese vehicles in Indonesia.
William has a specific strategy to dominate the Indonesian automotive market and get rid of its main competitor, Mitsubishi. He is willing to pour out large funds to control the automotive industry from upstream to downstream, from component manufacture to distribution.
Not only that, he also established a Japanese-style management system, namely Keiretsu. Through this system, a director in one company can become a commissioner in another company. This method proved to be effective because Astra was able to gain large profits and was able to control the market from its competitors.
These two efforts and the provision of large-scale promos to buyers succeeded in attracting public interest. Astra has succeeded in becoming Indonesia’s automotive king.
“In 1990 Gaikindo stated that Astra had managed to control more than half of the automotive market share in Indonesia. Products produced included Toyota, Daihatsu, Isuzu, Nissan Diesel Trucks, Lexus, Peugeot, BMW,” wrote Ricardi S. Adnan in The Shifting Patronage (2010).
Slowly, William’s business octopuses are not only in the automotive sector, but also property, insurance, plantations and banking, all of which are members of the Astra group. This victory made Astra confident to go public on the stock exchange on April 4, 1990.
Unfortunately, playing in the banking sector by owning Bank Summa actually became a stumbling block for William. In 1992, Bank Summa was in trouble and forced William to save customers’ money by selling all of his shares in Astra. Some say this is a conspiracy to bring down Astra.
After that incident Astra no longer belonged to William. After that, Astra was held by Putra Sampoerna (14.67%), Bob Hasan (8.83%), Prajogo Pangestu (10.68%), Toyota Japan (8.26%), the Salim Group (8.19%), Usman Atmadjaja (5.99%) and the rest are in public hands. But now Astra is wholly owned by a Singaporean company called Jarine Cycle & Carriage Ltd with control of 50.11% of the total shares.
Even though it is no longer in William’s hands, Astra still manages to dominate the Indonesian automotive market until now.
#Imprisoned #Story #Fall #Rise #Indonesian #Automotive #King