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Minangkabau Merchants refers to merchants from Minangkabau Highlands, in central Sumatra, Indonesia. Most of Minangkabau merchants began as the peddlers or informal trading without funding of financial institutions.
In 7th century, Minangkabau merchants sold gold in Jambi and were involved in the formation of Malayu Kingdom. They became influential traders who operated on the west and east coasts of Sumatra. Gold was initially the main traded commodity of Mining society. Beside gold, Minangs also brought spice from the Sumatran hinterland to be sold in the Straits of Malacca.
Many Minangkabau people worked as intermediary traders for the Srivijaya empire, the Sultanate of Aceh and the Sultanate of Malacca. Minangs merchants built trading posts along the west coast of Sumatra from Meulaboh to Bengkulu.
During the latter part of 18th century and the early of 19th century, Minangkabau merchants developed a flourishing trade in gambier, coffee, and textiles. This led to conflicts with both local rulers and the Dutch. Then the Minang traders, seeking free markets on the east coast of Sumatra, were attempting to break the monopolies of the Dutch and the local political authority. Minang merchants declined after the Dutch defeated Minangkabau people in the Padri War. Until Indonesian independence in the late 1940s, West Sumatra and its trading system was under Dutch East Indies control.
In the 1950s, Minang businessman were raised as indigenous traders among the Chinese.[clarification needed] The most prominent included Rahman Tamin, Agus Musin Dasaad, Anwar Sutan Saidi, Sidi Tando, Hasyim Ning, Djohan & Djohor, and Sutan Sjahsam. Tamin and Dasaad traded in small-holders[clarification needed] rubber, tea, coffee, and pepper. Two brothers, Djohan & Djohor, worked with Dasaad on the import of textiles from Japan and the import of raw cotton for the Indonesian textile industry. Sidi Tando, opened a paint factory and moved into shipping in the early 1960s. Sutan Sjahsam, the brother of PNI figure Sutan Sjahrir, owned an import company, N.V. Soetan Sjahsam Corporation, and was the founder of Indonesian Capital Market. Hasyim Ning, the Mohammad Hatta's step-brother, developed the assembling automotive industry. In 1952, Ning was appointed President Director of The Indonesian Service Company, which imported and assembled Dodge trucks and Willeys jeeps.
Type of business
Restaurant and food are the Minang merchants favorite sector. The Minangkabau restaurant or known as Restoran Padang in many Indonesian cities, as well as Malaysia and Singapore. The merchants always build the own-brand for their restaurant, such as Restoran Sederhana, the biggest Minang restaurant chain which has over 60 outlets whole of Indonesia. In Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Sari Ratu restaurants chain are the biggest one.
The Minangs textile trader dominated traditional market in many cities of Indonesia. In Jakarta, the merchants domination at Tanah Abang, Senen, Blok M, Jatinegara, and Bendungan Hilir. In Pekanbaru, domination at Pasar Pusat and Pasar Bawah. In Medan, domination at Sukaramai and in Surabaya they have settled in Pasar Turi.
Many of Minangkabau merchants sell gold, silver crafts, and shoes. Most of them came from Pandai Sikek, Tanah Datar and Silungkang, Sawahlunto. Many of Sungai Puar people sell antiques. They settled mainly in Cikini and Ciputat (both in Jakarta).
Many of Minang merchants were involved with publishing house and printing. The successful merchants in printing business were Joesoef Isak, founder of Hasta Mitra and H.M Arbie. Beside of them, the business roled by Sulit Air people.
The Minang merchants also supported Indonesian tourism industry. Their founded hotel and tour travel company. In Jakarta, the Minang merchants develop Grand Menteng hotel chain and Basrizal Koto built Best Western Hotel in Pekanbaru and Padang. Natrabu Tour, founded by Rahimi Sutan, is the big tour travel company who has by Minang merchant.
Many of Minang journalist founded media company (newspaper, magazine and television network). They are Sutan Maharaja, founded Oetoesan Melajoe on 1915, Hamka founded Panji Masyarakat magazine, Rosihan Anwar founded Pedoman newspaper, Ani Idrus founded Waspada newspaper, Lukman Umar founded Kartini magazine, Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana's son and daughter founded Femina magazine, and Abdul Latief founded TV One.
In Indonesia, the Minangkabau merchants were involved in developing the national banking industry. In 1930, Anwar Sutan Saidi founded Bank Nasional. Beside as pioneer in banking sector, the other Minang merchants, Sutan Sjahsam as pioneer of capital market industry. Sjahsam, the Sutan Sjahrir's brother, founded the broker company, Perdanas.
Notable Minangkabau business people
- Djohor Soetan Perpatih. Co-founded N.V Djohor Djohan with his brother Djohan Soetan Soelaiman. Djohor Djohan famous as discount shop what always gave discount to the customers.
- Hasyim Ning. The Minangkabau merchants in Sukarno's regime. He founded Indonesia Service Company, the automotive service. Hasyim hold Europe-American automotive brand license and was called Indonesian Henry Ford. Beside that, Hasyim also successed in hospitality business, such as hotel and tour travel.
- Abdul Latief. The owner and founder ALatief Corporation. It subsidiaries are Pasaraya, the retail trade chain and TV One, the television network. Latief was politician in the New Order era as the Labour minister.
- Basrizal Koto. One of a Minangkabau conglomerate successful. Basrizal, usually call as Basko has hotel, mining company, shopping centre, TV-cable, and the largest cattle company in South East Asia. Basko's business based on Sumatra, mainly in Pekanbaru and Padang.
- Rahimi Sutan. The business man who came from Payakumbuh. He has been business since young. He developed tour travel company and the restaurants under Natrabu Grup. Nowadays Natrabu Tour and Travel has branches in the whole of Indonesia, Japan, Great Britain, and the United States.
- Fahmi Idris. As the business man who founded PT Kodel and politician of Golkar party. His business are trading and investment.
- Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah. The Minang-Malaysian businessman. He operates manufacturing company and iron steel company under the corporate flag Melewar Corporation.
- SM Nasimuddin SM Amin was the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Naza Group of Malaysia.
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