Business opportunities in Indonesia are aplenty but it's important to first understand how things are done there in order to succeed. Its government has recognised this potential and has introduced measures over the years that encourage foreign investment.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is a phrase commonly used in the world. However, in Indonesians they go by the phrase of “Hold up the sky of the land where you walk”.
This mean, rather than just fitting yourself in, that phrase suggests that you should actively contribute to maintaining order by respecting local customs, which is a major setback when you plan to start a business in the Republic.
One of the main areas that the Indonesian government as well as many private parties have been eagerly trying to push SMEs towards is digitalisation. This is not only important for Indonesia, but also important for investors to connect with the locals and to the outside world.Although it highly depend on the type of business you are in, eventually everything be dealt with online.
With trade in general becoming increasingly digital, going online is an urgent necessity for Indonesian businesses. However, it is something they have been slow to do, due to poor internet access and lack of skills and manpower in the IT Communication and infrastructure sector.
Although the amount varies, there are only about one out of every three people are connected to the World Wide Web in Indonesia today. With a slow connection speed – thanks to challenging geography and a thinly spread population of around 255 million people –mobile broadband penetration in Indonesia is currently 24.2% while just 1.3% of the population has a fixed line connection which illustrates the scope of future growth, with Indonesians plan to move online and take full advantage of online based services, ie e-commerce.
According to recent studies, with a third of Indonesian SMEs are still operating offline, another 37% have only basic online capabilities.
The study suggested that offline businesses has the potential to generate revenue up to IDR140million by going online, and adopting a digital strategy to their business.
The silver lining in all these are, businesses in Indonesia has recently been able to access training and workshops that help them make use of the mainstream digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for business purposes.