Businessman vows to rebuild yet again

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am

The publicity-shy tycoon who owns both the JW Marriott and Ritz- Carlton hotels has vowed to rebuild the bombed establishments.

Indonesian-Chinese taipan Tan Kian yesterday said he was rushing back to Jakarta to deal with the aftermath of the blasts. He was in Tokyo when the news broke.

'I will rebuild my hotels as I did in the past,' Mr Tan said by telephone, refusing to comment further.

Mr Tan, 51, was referring to the fact that he reopened the Marriott less than a month after the 2003 attack in which a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the entrance of the hotel, killing 12 people.

The hotel had since thrived and regained its reputation as one of the top business hotels in the city, frequented by foreign and local businessmen as well as government officials and foreign heads of state.

Victims of the first Marriott bombing speak warmly of Mr Tan, expressing gratitude to him for looking after their welfare and taking care of their medical bills.

After the first bombing, Mr Tan famously told his weeping staff that even if he had to sell his underwear to rebuild the business to save all their jobs, he would do so.

Mr Tan also has ownership interests in several upscale commercial buildings in Jakarta. Among them is the landmark US$250 million Pacific Place in the heart of the business district of Sudirman, directly opposite the Jakarta Stock Exchange. Pacific Place also houses Mr Tan's second Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Mr Tan was ranked the 30th richest Indonesian tycoon with a net worth of US$175 million by Forbes magazine last year. According to Forbes, he is currently building a 60-villa luxury resort on Bintan Island.

His properties are largely held through his private company, named Dua Mutiara, which means 'two pearls'.

He is an avid believer in fung shui and always ensures his offices face east.