Illustration by Nate Kitch Sukanto Tanoto beamed as he shook Xi Jinping’s hand. It was 2015, and the fact that Tanoto — an Indonesian billionaire who was born to Chinese immigrants — had been invited to attend the conference in Hainan, China, was something of an honor. Only two other overseas Chinese entrepreneurs were reportedly included in the discussion, which centered on regional economic integration and financial cooperation around the then-novel Belt and Road Initiative. Tanoto had worked hard for his invite. It was the culmination of years of relationship building in his heritage country, and a testament to the growing heft of his company, Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), which, at that time, was worth an estimated $10 billion and focused mostly on pulp and paper exporting. Sukanto Tanoto meeting Xi Jinping at the Boao Forum for Asia, held in Hainan, China, March 27, 2015. Credit: Inside RGE But the handshake signaled RGE’s next act. Since that 2015 trip, China has become integral to RGE. Subscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.