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Business magnate's Chinese roots key feature of new book

Updated: 2016-05-11 09:50
By Mei Jia (China Daily)

Business magnate's Chinese roots key feature of new book

Chinese-Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady shares with readers his life's journey and wisdom in his autobiography. The Chinese edition was published recently.[Photo provided to China Daily]

While addressing a gathering at his book launch in Tsinghua University in April, Mochtar Riady, a Chinese-Indonesian tycoon, said that even at 87, he still follows developments in the world of e-commerce and technology and is willing to share his insights on the subject.

The founder of the Jakarta-based Lippo Group was in Beijing to release his autobiography and witness the opening ceremony of Mochtar Riady Library, his philanthropic project in the university.

"My childhood dream was to become a banker, and I made it," says Riady.

He built a conglomerate from scratch and made friends with world leaders, including former US president Bill Clinton. Riady and his family were ranked the sixth wealthiest in Indonesia on a Forbes list earlier this year, with a net worth of $2.2 billion.

But he remains a generous giver who supports education not only in his home country, but also in China, where his family roots lie.

"My mother died when I was 9, and my father left after he was arrested for anti-Japanese activities when I was 11. My schoolteachers played a big role in taking care of me then," he says.

When still young, Riady was fascinated by a building in Malang, Indonesia, where he saw no commercial goods and the staff dressed smartly. It was his teacher who explained to him that the building was a bank, and it earned money by lending money. The idea impressed him.

The Chinese version of Riady's autobiography, Autobiography of Dr. Mochtar Riady, has been published by Tsinghua University Press, and talks of his faith in education, strengthened both by families and schools.

In the book, he divides his life and career into four 20-year periods. Besides the accounts of his professional ups and downs, the book has a large section on how he and his wife nurtured their children and grandchildren with the family's core values, handed down by Riady's father and rooted in traditional Chinese wisdom.

"My biggest pride and comfort in life is that my children have surpassed me and are stronger than me, and my grandchildren are even stronger," he writes in the book.

He talks of leaving his sons alone to cope with failures and to learn from their mistakes just as eagles teach their babies to fly.

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