Martua Sitorus is a person that people from North Sumatra often use as example of successful Batak figures. The owner of Wilmar International Limited and about 48 companies in Indonesia alone, Martua is an example of how resilience and willingness to learn can lead to success. Like many Indonesian billionaires from North Sumatra, Martua got his wealth from oleo chemical and palm oil business, just like he did decades ago when he was still a small businessman.
From Small Businessman to Palm Oil Magnate
Martua Sitorus came from simple family that made him must sell shrimp and fish to pay for his high school and college tuition. However, once he graduated, he managed to start working in palm oil business field, becoming a small palm oil seller. His big break came in year 1991, when he joined the cousin of Malaysian business magnate Robert Kuok to start Wilmar International Limited, a palm oil company, with their own palm oil plantations and refinery. Martua Sitorus became the executive director of the company, and responsible for some of the best expansion and innovations the company made.
Thanks to his business knowledge and instinct and financial support of his partner Kuok Khoon Hong, Martua managed to start big. They both bought no less than 7,100 hectare of oil palm plantation as well as building their own refinery facility in North Sumatra. The first business of Wilmar International Limited was simply palm-oil trading. Later, it developed into oleo chemical industry that produced cooking oil, specialty fats, and other oleo products. The Forbes Magazine even dubbed him as the Palm Oil King of Indonesia.
Now, he has owned almost 70,000 hectare of oil palm plantations that supply his factories with crude palm oil, plus his own tanker ships for exporting the products, and more than 20,000 employees. He also has 48 companies in Indonesia and several other countries. In year 2006, his company got place at Singapore Stock Exchange, and he was listed on Forbes’ richest Indonesians.
The Pride of North Sumatra
Martua Sitorus now lives in Singapore, but mentioning his name in front of North Sumatra People will bring some local pride. His story is an amazing story of achievements from Batak-Chinese businessman who managed to earn respectful spot among the lists of international businessman. He even now has some other projects like managing a modern hospital in North Sumatra and skyscraper building in London called Aviva Tower.