Back in 2017, there was a lot of speculation that Hary Tanoesoedibjo – the Indonesian media mogul, politician and real estate developer who is often referred to in the international press as US President Donald Trump's "Indonesian business partner" – was considering a run for Indonesia's top office.
But while that presidential run never ended up materializing, it's clear Tanoe (as his name is often shortened) still has huge plans for Indonesia, including building the country's and the region's biggest amusement park.
A representative of Tanoe's main property development firm, PT MNC Land, recently revealed that the company was planning on dropping half-a-billion dollars (IDR7 trillion) on developing the amusement park within the 3,000-hectare "integrated lifestyle resort" known as MNC Lido City, a project that is currently being developed in the Lido area of Bogor in West Java, not far from the capital of Jakarta.
"So this will become the first international standard and largest theme park in Southeast Asia, twice as big as Universal Studios Singapore," MNC Land Deputy Managing Director Adrian Budi Utama told CNBC Indonesia yesterday.
This is far from the first news about the long-gestating amusement park project at MNC Land's Lido City development. Back in 2015 when the project was first announced, there were rumors that the park would actually be a Disneyland theme park, but they turned out to be mistaken.
Those rumors were fueled in part by the fact that now-US President Donald Trump and the Trump Hotel group were partners on the Lido City project, as well as another resort development by MNC Land being built in Bali.
Hary Tanoe also made headlines this month after a Washington Post report found that he had purchased a house in Beverly Hills from Trump for an amount far above the price experts believe the property is actually worth, spurring speculation that Tanoe was trying to buy Trump's favor.
Last year, MNC Land announced that the billion-dollar Lido City project had also become a part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure project via a deal made with Chinese state-owned construction firm Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) who agreed to fund construction on the theme park.
Given the United States and China's current trade war, it's not unreasonable to think that the Lido City development, which is set to feature Trump-branded hotels, residences and a golf course, could be seen as a politically problematic for the US president. But it would be unreasonable for us to speculate that Tanoe's purchase of Trump's mansion could somehow be connected to the deal, so we'll leave that part up to you.