Mongolia’s Altai Holding— a conglomerate of ten companies, including robust and leading companies in various sectors— headed by a western-educated, young, and innovative leader Battushig Batbold has been at the forefront of change in the fast-growing Asian democracy in the last twenty plus years.
Altai Holding was created in 1992, at the time of Mongolia’s transition from socialism to a market economy, by Battushig’s father Sukhbaatar Batbold, a shrewd entrepreneur and a charismatic politician, who later served as the country’s 26th prime minister from 2009 to 2012. The company started in the traditional cashmere industry as the first privately-owned trader of Mongolia’s cashmere on the foreign market as well as one of the few local hospitality businesses through the Chinggis Khaan Hotel, and has since expanded to modern brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce, hospitality, telecommunications, and entertainment. In the early 1990’s, the elder Batbold, Sukhbaatar Batbold was one of the young successful business-minded people who would create a successful conglomerate, and later after attracting the attention of the political leaders, would become a successful politician after entering politics in the ’00s.
The chairman of the conglomerate now, Battushig Batbold, was educated and partially raised in the United States. He returned to his home country with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, a prestigious Harvard MBA, a love for basketball, and invaluable experience with Morgan Stanley, all of which he would apply towards growing the family business. His understanding of the free-market economy and growth-oriented business models is helping him shape Altai Holding’s modern image and attract foreign investors and international standard franchises into the country.
Battushig is not all work and study. His love for sports in general, and basketball in particular, comes from his school years in Seattle where he was the captain of his high-school team, and later contemplated becoming a professional player when at the University of Chicago. In his home country, Batbold co-owns and plays for Altai Eagles, a Mongolian basketball team that his father, Sukhbaatar Batbold sponsored in the 1990’s while in the private sector. The love for sports runs deep in the family—his father occasionally steps onto the court for a game on a master’s team, too. Batbold also holds several notable accolades in the sports world having earned the title of President of the Mongolian Badminton Association, and later taking on the elected role of First Vice President of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee. His election on July 17th, 2020, to the International Olympic Committee was the pinnacle of his country’s acknowledgment in the world Olympic community, as he is the 2nd person in the history of the country on the IOC. This was not an easy achievement, given the heavy local competition and the fact that many political and sports forces were opposed to Battushig due to the family’s successful background.
On top of being a businessman and sports enthusiast, Batbold is also a philanthropist. His non-profit Mongolia Needs You (MNY) NGO was established to provide mentorship for young ambitious students in Mongolia and to support young students in getting access to higher education and employment opportunities. MNY promotes education, sports, and environmental initiatives and helps shape a favorable image of Mongolia internationally. Altai Holding, with Batbold at the helm, is trying to navigate the current difficult economic times with the right partnerships from the West and East.