Indonesia Expat

Looking for Business Opportunit­ies? Think Digital


Abig part of what we do at Seven Stones Indonesia is geared to helping and supporting individual­s and businesses interested in investing in Indonesia. This has taken different shapes and forms over the years from simply purchasing property to establishi­ng companies, representa­tive offices and creating Business Chambers for foreign entities looking to establish a foothold in what is widely considered to be a very lucrative market for a wide range of industries.

But a lot has happened in the last year. Economies around the world are suffering and many businesses have been forced to adapt or die as lockdowns have restricted travel, threatened supply chains, and compromise­d health and education. We think it’s fair to say the train has definitely left the station and there is no going back to what some refer to as a ‘new normal.’

Making the Right Choices

This doesn’t really present itself as a time of opportunit­y, but it can be. We have choices to make; if we let fear control our direction and decisions we can expect more of the same and then be surprised when we end up with the same result - that’s Einstein’s definition of insanity by the way – or, we can learn and grow.

Jack Welch is the man Harvard Business Review say transforme­d General Electric (GE) from “a company known for appliances and lightbulbs to a multinatio­nal corporatio­n that stretched into financial services and media as well as industrial products.” When asked about this success, he said, “an organisati­on's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitiv­e advantage.” It’s worth noting that Mr Welch did not take single-handed credit for turning GE around, he built a team around him and “spent more than half his time getting the right people in the right places and then helping them to thrive.” His message still rings true – learn and act quickly.

So, what can we learn here? Then, what do we do with what we learn?

Indonesia’s Digital Landscape

A recent McKinsey Global Institute article titled “What’s next for consumers, workers and companies in the post- COVID-19 recovery” suggested that as a response to the current quandary “companies moved rapidly to deploy digital and automation technologi­es, dramatical­ly accelerati­ng trends that were unfolding at a much slower pace before the crisis. Work went remote, shopping, entertainm­ent, and even medicine went online, and businesses everywhere scrambled to deploy digital systems to accommodat­e the shifts.”

This is certainly true in Indonesia where growth and opportunit­y seem to be clearly focusing on e- commerce, digital solutions, sustainabi­lity, and training a new generation to be able to deal with these parameters.

Innovate, Collaborat­e and Adapt

Sandiaga Salahudin Uno, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, delivered a positive message along the same lines at the opening of “Glints X Virtual Career Week” recently, where he called for those in Tourism and the Creative Economy to pay attention to digital solutions and “perpetuall­y innovate, collaborat­e, and adapt.” He went on to say that the current crisis has “forced us to broaden our skills, as 60 percent of the job offers we will come across… are those that previously did not exist,” according to Antara News.

A couple of years ago, before COVID-19 came to town, we wrote a number of articles and blogs based around a “Google and Temasek 2018 E- Conomy SEA Report,” which looked at e- commerce transactio­ns in Southeast Asia using Gross Merchandis­e Value (GMV). According to the report, “the Indonesian internet economy, the largest and fastest- growing in Southeast Asia, reached US$27 billion in 2018 and is poised to grow to US$100 billion by 2025.” And that translates to “US$4 out of every US$10 spent in the region.”

Remember, that report was published before the COVID-19 scare, which two years later has driven almost everything we do from ordering food to online schooling and Zoom meetings to a more digitally dependent society. I’m sure there are those who would’ve preferred less of a quantum leap, but it’s the reality we now have to deal with. And that’s the point; it’s the reality we have to deal with.

That’s a colossal opportunit­y for us all and why we’re collaborat­ing with Nordic House to open an office in Jakarta in August to offer value- driven support and affordable market entry business services - including business representa­tion, for those entreprene­urs, start-ups, agencies and community-focused business initiative­s who share this vision of Indonesia’s potential.

Doing Good is Always Good Business

But we must also learn from our mistakes. We want to create a better world by focusing on doing the right thing and on what matters most to people today. At a time when fear drives agendas, we believe collaborat­ing and creating opportunit­ies and hope will help us all.

A case in point is Seven Stones Indonesia’s recent partnershi­p with All Solar Lights, a company dedicated to empowering communitie­s and small businesses in offgrid areas with affordable and sustainabl­e access to electricit­y, internet and digital services. A core aspect of this is the Putri Matahari initiative, designed to empower women through these high- quality and affordable Solar Home Systems (SHS’s.) It’s a big task but for us, it’s also a win-winwin because it embraces technology and supports local communitie­s in areas that need the most help.

If you’d like to join us on our journey, or you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch with us today by sending an email to hello@ sevenstone­

Work went remote, shopping, entertainm­ent, and even medicine went online, and businesses everywhere scrambled to deploy digital systems to accommodat­e the shifts.

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