Semarang City is one of the big cities in Indonesia which can be said as a peaceful city. Unlike other cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, and Makassar which are known to have high dynamics in the economic, socio-cultural and political sectors.
At the end of 1800, an economic epicenter emerged with the growth of the first conglomerate in Southeast Asia that had business to the United States and Europe. The multinational business network was developed by businessman Oei Tiong Ham, the heir of the Kian Gwan Concern, better known as Oei Tiong Ham Concern.
Oei Tiong Ham succeeded in the heyday of 1920, even though he was nicknamed the Lord 200 Million Guilders. This is because he became the first businessman whose wealth reached 200 million guilders.
Oei Tiong Ham owned 81 hectares of land in the center of Semarang City. He also has a big house called Istana Gergaji. Until now the house is still intact and is used as the office of the Central Java and DIY Regional III Financial Services Authority.
While the rest of the land is currently used as the official center of Semarang City government, business center, and college. But not until 100 years later, the golden traces of an international tycoon from Indonesia were barely visible. Even his figure is often unknown to the people of Semarang City. Though the city of Semarang was once an epicenter of business in East Asia in its time.
At the beginning of the 20th and, Oei Tiong Ham was dubbed the Rockefeller of Asia who identified himself with John D Rockefeller, a petroleum tycoon who owned Standart Oil and Company New York.
Businesses run by Oei Tiong Ham are inherited from his father. He continued the company’s control in 1890 when he was 24 years old. In addition to the sugar business, the company also developed and became an exporter of various crops such as kapok, rubber, coffee, pepper, corn, and peanuts.
The key to the cleanliness of Oei Tiong Ham’s business was strengthened by the purchase of sugar factories in Java in the late 19th century.