Erick Thohir is a son of Teddy Thohir, one of the founders of the Astra Group, Indonesia's largest diversified conglomerate. In 1992, Erick Thohir founded the Mahaka Media Group together with three business partners. The Mahaka Group now owns a variety of magazines, newspapers, radio stations and one television station.

Thohir's purchase of a 70 percent stake in one of the world's largest football clubs is another sign of recent Indonesian expansion beyond its borderlines. A number of Indonesian companies and business groups have been eager to establish their names on the world stage. Some recent notable examples are Indofood Sukses Makmur which purchased stakes in Brazil and China and Semen Indonesia which bought a stake in Vietnam.