Export Potential in Indonesia

Jakarta business district with iconic BNI building

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Indonesia may not be as big in land mass and population as China, but it is in every other sense of the word because of its limitless opportunities for businesses–large and small alike. Here I take a look at Indonesia and why you should consider this vibrant market for exports and sourcing products.

Facts About Indonesia

With a population of 258 million, according to the CIA World Fact Book, Indonesia is the fifth most populated country in the world. It has posted the fastest population growth in its region for more than a decade and is the world’s largest Muslim country, with 87.2% of the population being Muslim. Indonesia’s young consumers are largely debt free, providing opportunities for future spending.

With 17,508 islands, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago (chain or cluster of islands), spanning 735,358 square miles. The climate is typically tropical, hot and humid. The languages spoken are Bahasa Indonesia, English, Dutch and local dialects.

Growth Prospects

According to World Bank, Indonesia continues to post significant economic growth. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) goes on to say, “During the global financial crisis, Indonesia outperformed its regional neighbors and joined China and India as the only G20 members posting growth.”

Most of Indonesia’s success is largely homegrown. Meaning, domestic consumption (roughly 60%) has enabled Indonesia to grow faster than its neighbors, such as Singapore, whose economy is more dependent on import/export trade and therefore more vulnerable to slowing export demand. Indonesian exports are worth about 25% of the country’s economy.

Homegrown Products

The products Indonesia is best known for are rubber and similar products, palm oil, poultry, beef, forest products, shrimp, cocoa, coffee, medicinal herbs, essential oil, fish and its similar products, and spices.

Exporting to Indonesia

If you are interested in exporting to Indonesia, your best approach for entering the market is to work with local agents and distributors. The U.S. Commercial Service Jakarta helps U.S. companies identify and qualify potential Indonesian representatives. Once you find a qualified representative, visit the market and meet with him/her. Relationships are important to Indonesians. And they base a lot of their decisions on receiving competitive pricing, creative financing, and after-sales service. Treat your representatives well and the return to your business will be increased revenues and profits.

What do Indonesians need? They seek infrastructure development. U.S. industry is well positioned and qualified to supply the kinds of architectural, design and engineering services and project management skills needed to successfully tackle major projects in Indonesia.