With our deep connections with the Indonesian elite, coupled with our extensive network of researchers providing up to date and accurate on-the-ground information, Indonesia remains our country of focus within the larger backdrop of Southeast Asia.
Why South East Asia
Strategically positioned south of China and east of India, Southeast Asia is a region of unrivalled growth. As countries within Southeast Asia transform from inward-looking agrarian communities to outward-looking economies that are open to trade and investment, new opportunities are emerging. And as Southeast Asian countries move towards political liberalisation, new areas for engagement and fresh prospects for international collaborations are increasing.
Asean – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – is a collective grouping that brings together 10 countries in the region: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Multinationals say that Asean’s policies of economic integration, which are slated to lead to the formation of the Asean Economic Community by the end of 2015, are already making a difference to their investment strategies. Asean countries are beginning to think and act like a single market of 617 million people rather than a loose conglomeration of 10 markets. When they consolidate, Asean’s success in overcoming its economic and social diversity will position it as an important player in the international economy.
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest country by area, population and economy. As Asean’s lynchpin nation, it is the region’s face to the world.
Having survived the liberalisation of its authoritarian system at the end of the 20th century, and currently in a period of economic and political stabilisation following the election President Joko Widodo, Indonesia is poised to further flourish. And despite endemic corruption and systemic inefficiency, resource-rich Indonesia has surprised some with its resiliency and sustained economic rise.
Indonesia’s population currently stands at over 240 million. Over the next 30 years, will add another 31 million people to the working population. The prospects for its consumer market are endless and its youthful population will provide invaluable labour supply to businesses as Indonesia continues to prosper. In addition, with its close proximity and ties to regional centres in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia, Indonesia also stands out as an ideal location for foreign expatriates to adopt a more long-term approach towards business development and partnerships in Indonesia.
However, some concerns about Indonesia remain. These include poor governance and infrastructural deficiencies, increasing labour costs and high levels of tax on corporate profit. It is also not an easy country to understand. Javanese subtlety, bordering on inscrutability, defines both its corporate and political culture.