Singapore, Wednesday, 16 June 2009 - Opportunities for Singapore SMEs in Indonesia goes beyond Jakarta, said Singapore's Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr. Ashok Mirpuri at a business seminar today jointly organised by Network Indonesia and the Singapore Business Federation's (SBF) ASEAN Business Group. Network Indonesia, a business networking platform set up by IE Singapore, aims to foster connections and business linkages among companies that have an interest in Indonesia.
Mr Mirpuri urged the 90 businessmen and entrepreneurs present to relook at opportunities in Indonesia given its transformation during the last few years. It has a stable regime that that shown "a high interest in expanding the economy".
The country, which is now Asia's third fastest growing economy, is bearing fruits from the process of decentralisation from Jakarta, put into motion in 1998 by the B.J. Habibie administration.
This move has resulted in more regional autonomy, and local governments having more say on how their provinces are run. This political development has in turn translated into business opportunities particularly in public services such as healthcare, information technology, transportation services; as well as business services, education, infrastructure, transport and logistics, and retail and lifestyle, observed various speakers at the event.
In addition, other than Jakarta, Singapore companies should also consider expanding into the emerging cities such as Bogor (3 million), Bekasi (2.5 million), Tangerang (1.8 million), Solo or Surakarta (0.5 million), Semarang (1.6 million), Palembang (1.5 million), Denpasar (0.5 million), and Yogyakarta (3 million). These cities may be smaller than Jakarta, but they represent a plethora of opportunities in various industries.
Apart from the above emerging cities, Singapore companies may also keep Aceh in their list of potential investment markets. Located at the island of Sumatra, Aceh is now seeking redevelopment support post-2004 tsunami. Mr. Ir. T. Said Mustafa, Assistant to Aceh Governor for Economy & Development, said that there exist "opportunities in all of Aceh's 119 islands". He said that the government of Aceh is looking for investors to develop its livestock, geothermal, hydropower and coal industries. In addition, the Aceh government is also looking for investors to help discover new sources of oil and gas in Aceh province.
SBF Deputy Director Mr. Alan Tan said that Singapore-based companies should not turn a blind eye to Indonesia at the expense of the China and India growth stories. 'We're so near Indonesia, and we should not be missing out,' he said.
Indonesia, which is experiencing sustained economic growth in the foreseeable future, is set to be a major economy and the "I" in "Indonesia" could become part of the BRIC (Brazil Russia India China) as in "BRICI". Singapore's physical proximity to a rising economic power and our centuries-old trading links offer many business opportunities and competitive advantages for Singapore companies to venture into Jakarta and the growing pockets of economic growth and business vitality in regional Indonesia. One of the key pockets of regional growth in Indonesia is in the Riau Islands Province' Batam-Bintan-Karimun Free Trade Zone (BBK FTZ). Mr. Alan Tan added that SBF, together with BKPM and IE Singapore, will be organizing a Forum on trade and investment opportunities in BBK FTZ in September 2009.
Singapore companies with presence in Indonesia include Sembcorp Industrial Parks, Agritrade International, Capitaland's Ascott, SingTel, EtonHouse Group, OCBC Bank, UOB Group, Teledata, Mapletree, Keppel Land, Kingsmen International, Pico Art International, Pacific Garment Manufacturing, CISCO, Ya Kun, and Charles & Keith.
To further assist Singapore-based member companies of SBF, the ASEAN Business Group (ABG) has been formed to provide a platform to drive and facilitate business-to-business and business-for-business deals with companies in the respective ASEAN member economies. ABG is actively organizing events in Singapore to achieve this objective such as the series of Indonesia Tax Workshops with its second run scheduled for August 2009.
For more information on GBD-ASEAN events, please contact:
Mr. Alan Tan
Deputy Director, ASEAN and South Asia
Singapore Business Federation