Indonesia is a country of big numbers and big opportunities. With 240 million inhabitants it is the world’s fourth most populous country and the largest in Southeast Asia. Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, over 500 different languages and a middle class larger than the population of Malaysia or Australia. It is perhaps the most culturally diverse of the ASEAN states; the national motto is “Unity in Diversity”.
- Head of State: President Joko Widodo
- Capital city: Jakarta
- Total population: 260,050,982
- Languages: Indonesian/ Malay, Javanese, Sudanese, Madurese, Minangkabu
- Religions: Muslim 87.2%, Christian 9.9%, Hindu 1.7%, Other 2.2%
- Monetary unit: Rupiah (IDR)
- Natural resources: Petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, gold, silver, coal
- Major exports: Oil & gas, coal, electrical appliances, plywood, textiles, rubber
- Major imports: Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuff
- Main import trading countries: China, Singapore, Japan, US, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia
Indonesia is a founding member of ASEAN and joined in August 1967. It has the largest economy in Southeast Asia with nearly half of the region’s total GDP and is also a member of the G-20 major economies. It is predicted to be within the top 10 largest economies in the world by 2030.
Indonesia’s economy has grown at a steady 5 to 6% for over the last 10 years. This is a more stable rate than any of the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) countries or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
Domestic consumption makes up 55% of Indonesia’s GDP, which helped to protect Indonesia from the global economic crisis.
The largest economic sector in Indonesia is manufacturing and processing, which contributes around 24% of the GDP. Some major industries in this sector include food and beverages, machinery and transportation, chemicals, and textiles. Other significant sectors in Indonesia are agriculture, including forestry, plantation, farming and fishery, and the hospitality sector.
Although there are always risks, the opportunities in Indonesia are good if businesses go about it the right way. There are opportunities for niche technologies and various infrastructure projects, such as coal transportation systems, mass transit, and power generating schemes. There is a massive requirement for infrastructure development in Indonesia and opportunities could rival those of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
British businesses currently operating in Indonesia stress the importance of locating and screening good partners, agents or distributors. Taking care in selecting the right partners is crucial and can help you navigate bureaucracy and regulations to help you successfully establish yourself. Partners who are knowledgeable about, and active in, your market will give you a far greater chance of success.