Your best business development ideas in Indonesia

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Indonesia is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Indonesia? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.

I can only comment on my personal business experience and can help others launch
on fast track with low cost of capital. Here is what I have dome in past 45 years, mainly with by-line of saving cost so energy and water:

1. Cooling Towers Integrated with NonChemical Water Treatment and filtration -suitable for high rise Buildings, Malls, Offices and Industrial Plants

2. Flexible Solar Panels for easy installation in all high-rise- buildings, landed homes, and condominiums. Installation is by 1 person -does not require government approvals or technical expertise. immediate connection to all appliances inside.

Both businesses can be launched immediately with little up front capital.

My advice is
Dont do any business here ,esp in Bali .
Unless you enjoy facepalming,hair pulling and being constantly frustrated .
Im speaking out of experience .
Ask any 'bule " here in Bali .
Maybe in another 30 years when somebody in education decides to change the local mindset at a person's birth .
And put ''religion "" last .

Dear Franka46,

You have a great eloquence in language to paint your ideas vividly. If I am no wrong the core religion is a version of Hinduism. Hinduism hold sacred just the cow as it is a source of so much.

Tell me why doing business in Bali is impossible. I have new acquaintance now called Marcello based in Bali, and he imports a special version cured Parmesan cheese that he says is best sold in Indonesia to expatriates. Maybe instead it proves that you are also right...because he sells exclusively to bules all over. So much so that the cosmopolitan crowd in Singapore is uninteresting in biz.

With your grasp of the language, perhaps you can elaborate why you feel that it is not recommended to do business in bali....or are you helping to save the market for yourself only :D

its the mindset of the people ,,the flip flopping of laws [visa's]
You invest money and create jobs ,they dont turn up ,or they have ceremonie every second day friend has a salon  here in sanur ,she needs 6  staff ...i advertise for her on FB ,,nobody replies ,or they call her and ask how much is the salary ...they have no desire to work ,and always complain that they have no money .
I have tried to motivate young ppl on FB ...teach them how about customer service ...go to Telkomsel office in Denpasar ,the staff is very kind and polite but most cannot speak english ...i can go on foreverr
I have been in china many times ,you almost get run over by young school kids who want to speak english with you .
Jokowi is doing a good job ,but with a change in mindset ,nothing will change .
Btw javanese ppl are different ,muslims ..ok they take friday off for prayers but they are hard workers,
Without them and the westerenrs bali would go back to the 50's

franka46 :

I have tried to motivate young ppl on FB ...teach them how about customer service ...go to Telkomsel office in Denpasar ,the staff is very kind and polite but most cannot speak english

Try speaking Indonesian.
I know speaking Indonesian is a wild, way out on the edge idea in Indonesia but I like to think out of the box.

The beauty of a developing country is the charm of the people. It is definitely charming that they are laid back, even they are poor. I can relate to your experiences in Singapore 30-40 years ago. But Singapore is not charming nor are the people So someone like you may not enjoy working here while all you can earn is extracted by the government in the long run.

So live and enjoy the people and the environment. They are like that for just 20-30 years after they launch people like Jokowi to lead them. At that time you would be looking for another haven to live and enjoy.

Because I am trading with the world markets, I would find joy in Bali if I am retiring. :D

Dear Fred,

I find so many jovial people with great eloquence all on one topic. Yes! Speaking bahasa is helpful, because the English language has not so many phrases to use as an excuse for failing to perform promised duties. Like my grandmother passed away....(that was second time this month he said that), my side of town had heavy rainfall.....or traffic jam, Sir.

I said it all in English. You know it feels safer to know what you are saying, while you do not really care for the other guy's perceptions. That you see the guy bobbing his head, being very means they agree, right? No, they are just being pleasant and it seems the right action in respond to a nice bule....?

having a local friend for almost 15 years ,looked after his family ,my son sending presents for his children and wife ,and then he still ripped me off 150 mill .
The first thing people [local people too]  DONT TRUST ANYBODY "
My name used to be Mr ATM ...dont let the smiles and friendly chat fool you ,its all about you have money ,and they want it .
Now when i get an sms from somebody saying " hi * how are you ?"
I reply ''what do you want "  they say ''can you help me "  now I am not polite anymore ,now i tell them to ****..goodnight and goodluck ..
Im out
ps .ofcourse there are exceptions but most want what you have

i speak indo

I contacted Garuda HQ some time ago
I noticed a spelling mistake on the website's homepage .
Attention to detail ?  apa itu ?

franka46 :

The first thing people [local people too]  DONT TRUST ANYBODY "
My name used to be Mr ATM ...dont let the smiles and friendly chat fool you ,its all about you have money ,and they want it .

That happens, but it happens all over the world, not just in Indonesia.

The poor in Indonesia will rip you off for a little bit, but nothing I ever care about because what's Rp2,000 to me? I only bother getting rigid if someone tries to use me as a free ATM, but that's pretty rare. It happened a couple of weeks ago, but the attempt to charge me Rp50,000 for a Rp4,000 bottle of Sprite was made by an idiot drinking illegal booze, so I simply dismiss that as one pointless drunken fool, not "Indonesians" trying to rip me off.
The tourist areas see more of a problem, so I just tell them I'm not a tourist (In Indonesian) and the price returns to normal - No issue there.


There goes the key to a lousy life and a lousy time in Indonesia, as well as making Indonesians think westerners are all nasty.

Thanks for the idea, but I'm going to totally ignore your advice in favour of common sense.

franka46 :

I noticed a spelling mistake on the website's homepage .

I've noticed a whole pile of grammar and spelling mistakes in your posts, but I haven't mentioned them because they have very little to do with much in the course of normal forum activity.
When you make claims regarding someone else's imperfect use of the language it becomes relevant.
Given your English is far from perfect, I would request you post the link along with the offending extract so I might examine the possible error and the validity of your claim.

Dear Fred and if we still have Frank reading,

Actually, business people all have choices and these change in the contnuum of time. Sometimes success breeds better effort in customer service, sometimes boredom leads to taking customers for granted (charging Rp 50k for a soft drink.......maybe to discourage teetotalers and like-minded  friends from using space).

Can I beg your kind attention to my input to the topic:

"I can only comment on my personal business experience and can help others launch
on fast track with low cost of capital. Here is what I have dome in past 45 years, mainly with by-line of saving cost so energy and water:

1. Cooling Towers Integrated with NonChemical Water Treatment and filtration -suitable for high rise Buildings, Malls, Offices and Industrial Plants

2. Flexible Solar Panels for easy installation in all high-rise- buildings, landed homes, and condominiums. Installation is by 1 person -does not require government approvals or technical expertise. immediate connection to all appliances inside.

Both businesses can be launched immediately with little upfront capital."

Anyone out there who can direct me to government initiatives and grants, private enterprise and distributors and people keen in the same area of business activity.

Fred and Frank were fun to read, and I am sure they mean well in advice provided.  I went through the directory here but all listing were actually intended for bules. How about a directory listing bule business advisors?

Fred and Frank could be head of such a list. Not to worry about good or bad advice....that is all in the population of members. We all have some fun from advice. These are all our members these are all our members and we love to be close to them. Thank you for a nice interaction.

Like Reply

GREAT posts Narilulla!   :top:  :top:  :top:

For certain, Bali presents some unique challenges for setting up a new business that becomes successful, but I know quite a number of expats who have done precisely that, and are now very wealthy. 

If it was easy, or simple...everyone would be doing it.  It is neither easy, or simple, but the opportunities abound! 

Nice to have you on the forum! 

Cheers, Roy

Dear Roy,

I have enjoyed your posts, but had no expertise to add.

So in my case would you please kindly act as mentor and comment on the two businesses
(actually in the main field of major energy and water savings) that I actively run and hope to make Indonesia a target market. Costs are going up and subsidies  for oil and water and power supply
are being softly withdrawn.

In my mind's eye, I see all places with no power lines (even hawker push carts), no street lamps being organized as communities( in due course after individuals install immediate solutions cheaply. Solar power is clean and free and has no or low operating cost. Capital paid now is by bank microloans. Only if they have bank savings accounts.

I see Bali as a good place. It is an "eco city" from inception. Now how to avoid major wire lines and large wire posts, if people want more "civilized life". All appliances are actually DC power with converters (like your PC or laptop) or refrigerator. Nothing other than a small solar panel in flexible format is needed.

Costs are low and a community like could donate life and light to an entire village as a living testimony of our existence. The villagers would give just their love in return, Nari

Here's potential business ripe for development. … s-to-Visit

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution met with Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov in the  "11th Session of the Indonesia-Russian Joint Commission on Trade Economic and Technical Cooperation".

During the event, Darmin expressed his hope to improve Indonesia-Russia partnership in the tourism sector.

"As many as 65,000 Russian tourists visit Indonesia each year. I hope, in the coming years, there will be more Russian tourists visiting [Indonesia] to enjoy our warm climate and culture," Darmin said on Monday, October 31, 2016.

Hi Nari,

IMHO, the most urgent and potentially lucrative water related project for Bali is desalination.  There is a very serious water crisis emerging on Bali, and it gets worse each year.  In fact there is a current ban in place here for drilling new bores (wells). 

Do some research on the current water crisis on Bali. Our aquifer is getting lower and lower each year, and there is no end to this in sight. 

While major desalination plants are multi-million dollar projects, a reasonable approach for an entrepreneur could be with affordable rain water collection technology that could be employed on either the village, or individual compound basis. 

Aside from solar energy, which is already quite popular here, when you get into running power lines and such you will hit an immediate brick wall, that being the state owned power company, aka PLN. 

One last recommendation I can make would be to get involved with one or more of the local Rotary organizations here in Bali.  This is an excellent way to meet and network with local as well as expats of like mind.

Good luck!


The “Russian invasion” has already come and gone here in Bali.  Post Crimea and sanctions, Russian tourism (in Bali) has been decreasing, year by year.

Without disparaging Russians, you might want to have a look (Google) for the response in Bali to Russian tourism.  At best, the feedback is mixed, but at worse, a number of hotels did all they could to dissuade, if not outright ban Russian tourists.

This topic is good.. is there anyone else that have an idea of business in indonesia? not just Bali?

Dear Roy,

I will read up on the ability of the desalination plant to support fresh water supply based on population statistics and area of coverage. It is more a project for privatisation with the government providing guarantees for 15-25 years. My work with the Indonesian Health Ministry (same intention to serve the people) led to meetings but zero effort and 3 changes in Minister until now.

Though Singapore has a relatively rich government ( they squeeze all citizens, the investors, and long staying guests alike and pay themselves unconscionable salaries), after study the found investment in purifying waste  water much more economic than desalinationNow after 10 years they mix the synthetic water with reservoir water and send it to homes as drinking water on tap. No difference in taste (anything tastes normal after 10 years rite) and certified to WHO standards.

However, at consumer-level,  you will be saved. You can buy air to water converters that can serve adequately at the household level.

I want to clarify that solar panels are many types. The ones you see widely are not amorphous silicone. They are only made with rigid backing. So installation and setting-up will need to be at an angle using a metal structure at roof level.The original splurge in investments and production was in China was to make these. As a result, due to over-production and performance failure problems the biggest original makers are now bankrupt or closed.

What I have are available in rolls (or cut to flexible pieces) that can be simply be laid on flat roofs or at whatever angles just by gluing or tagging down,even over rounded edges. I recommend off-grid only because inverters used for on-grid supply are always defective ( present technology level)

Also, all on-grid incentives are actually scams (except for Germany and Italy) where the consumer pays a huge price and is rewarded with losses. Since when do State monopolies help the people?

Rotarians are generally the older-aged groups and they worry too much on the balance in the account. Also, they are not for new technology even that it was invented in 1934, but only now available even for the DIY groups. Attending all those do-good meetings take away from personal comfort and enjoyment time.

We need to create a budget, launch internet advertising. At the home-level nothing else need be purchased as all appliances at home were made for DC power (output of solar) except the power inverters were used internally.

The problem is that street lighting is inadequate, food vendors need tap electrical power off road side creating a dim ambiance. Cooking and refrigeration need to be by gas cylinders. Solar can eliminate all the disturbance and high to the lives of the people.

Thank you for your interest and directions suggested. It is deeply appreciated.

Dear Fred,

Have you heard or seen of  Master Plan for Tourism infrastructure in Indonesia anywhere?

Is there a document laying out the statistics of tourist arrivals, their length of stays, hotel occupancy and  such like that would indicate a level of actual planning framework?

Without this,it is just a Minister using up his annual budgets to get free travel as arranged by the embassy upon a request by his secretary.

It would be a folly to seek to participate within his industry (tourism is the sole economy in smaller states). If you get involved in any way, you will suffer from change of rules and sporadic business,and
low infrastructure being available.

An example is how Singapore developed. The Minister kept on annually writing in his annual report that the growth of tourist arrivals was 10% year-on-year. But hotels recently developed at that time, recently at that time were complaining of low occupancies closer to 60-70%. This contradicted as occupancies should be rising with 10% growth of arrivals each year.

That is why you need a master-plan published to attract investments and arrivals in that industry. No business plan in that announcement, just a political statement to justify the flight costs to Moscow via Paris, where the wife actually wanted to go :) ...said in humor....

How about you consider the tourism industry?

Whole Indonesia has much lower tourist arrivals than Singapore or India.

Indonesia is naturally beautiful and green ( except along the Main roads of Djakarta, unless the go-jeks are included as "sights" )


Indonesia overall is undeveloped in all areas of the tourism business which the exception of Bali, parts of Java and Sulawesi and some islands but it is catching up fast. The concern amongst many is the balance between promoting Indonesia vs destroying it through over tourism and the lack of respect and concern for those living there as well as the long term costs involved in developing the tourist trade. I don't believe you can compare Singapore's tourism to that of Indonesia's due how Singapore views tourism. Being a country and a city, it can always every person who arrives into the island and is stamped in by immigration is a tourist. That's really easy. India, I don't really know but I guess the sheer size and volume of people travelling through it would be more than Indonesia.

Everyone looks to Bali for tourism forgetting the other 15,000 islands and the work that has been done to improve things. Bali whilst a most wonderous place is actually the best example of why over developing islands should be avoided due to the points already made time and time again by Roy (which are all correct) and the fact that parts of the island behave and act like any other over developed tourist spot in the world which means, hotels, concrete, traffic and little atmosphere or true feeling of what the island is all about.

There is a shift in the development of infrastructure through Indonesia regarding Tourism and whilst it is a slow burn there is a desire to open it up further. VOA is free for more countries. The main airport (which handles more traffic than Singapore) has a new terminal and is now pitching itself as a hub and will be in a few years. Jakarta, Bandung, Medan and other major cities are investing in better transportation systems and clearer and more friendly avenues for tourists. Indonesia is also targeting different markets. China, India, Korea, Japan are key countries for the tourist trade and there are more people arriving from the middle east well. Australia is a given but the rest of the world still struggles to reach Indonesia.

Garuda now flies via SIngapore to London and it is now linking with airlines in the states as well so there will be more visitors from all of Europe and America. It has just opened a  route from Balit to China to tap into that market. There keeps being noises about a new airport in North Bali but I really hope that doesn't happen as that will ruin the whole place.

When I arrived 10 years ago, there was next to nothing in the way of tourist information and help even in Bali it was limited. Now there are lots more places to get advice and the government websites are more useful. Hotels are better and the ability to get around the country has vastly improved. However Indonesia has still to work out how to tap into its ecological tourism effectively to make it a destination to see the beauty of the country from Volcanoes to Jungle and of course the ocean. But it is getting there.

When it does and it has worked out the balance for tourists, the environment and the people in the tourist areas who can benefit and gain the most then I am sure Indonesia will be in the top 5 countries in the world to visit. It already has some of the best surfing, diving, hotels, beaches, temples in the world so there is already more than enough reasons to visit.

A significant major flaw in the way the Indonesia department of tourism currently gauges its success is by reliance on tourist arrival numbers.  There is no direct correlation to the number of tourist arrivals to income gained via tourism.  The reason for that is simple…there is no reliable gauge to income here either, and while tax laws and tax reporting regulations are expanded, year by year, having reliable tourism based income statistics (based on tax reporting) is still some years off. 

Despite unavailable and reliable economic statistics, Indonesia opened the gate, quite literally, to an astounding number of countries for entry free visits (as a tourist).  Unlike anywhere else in Indonesia, Bali is feeling the brunt of this, and it’s not good.  The strain is almost over-whelming, and getting worse.

On the “good side” Indonesia plans to significantly develop at least five other areas of Indonesia as main tourist attractions…a great plan, but lacking necessary infrastructure...just talk, talk, talk. 

Luke, I agree with you 100%.  Comparing the tourism industry in Singapore to Indonesia is a fool’s errand.  They are night and day in difference…a small city state compared to a vast and almost endless archipelago.  Moreover, here in Indonesia there are hundreds of various ethnic and cultural groups…each with their own valid concerns based on the continuance of their culture to consider.

A singular “master plan” for tourism expansion and maintenance that covers all of Indonesia will never work.  Simply put, that is impossible if only for the great disparity and unique distinctions of the various provinces…cultural, and physical. 

The only “master plan” for tourism growth in Indonesia with any chance of success must include a certain degree of autonomy at the provincial level.  Economic growth, especially with tourism, is always best when approached from the micro as opposed to the macro level. 

Needless to say, this idea is unsettling to the national government, seen by some as just a first step towards complete autonomy, or worse, independence.  Personally I think those fears are unfounded and not realistic as most Indonesians I know have no interest with this, but indeed, have a great interest in being more able to effect and participate in both national, as well as provincial (community) growth.

We’ll see how things shake out in the years ahead.  The one thing that is undeniable is that Indonesia, with all of its endless appeal, will continue to grow as a tourist attraction, even if things were left just as they are now.

Dear Roy,

Why is a city state's success not a comparable?

The only point in that was that such a small infrastructure developed with dense
buildings and nothing by way of green and lovely living environment is that Indonesia
can only generate 10 mill arrivals. The tiny city generated 15 mill.

A master plan (emphasis on master) will incorporate all of what you suggested in autonomy. Except it puts out goals and achievements for all sectors to co-operate within.

For example, the tourism department may increase arrivals to 15 mill, but the roads and taxis (transport department  can only accomodate 10 mill. That would be disastrous for a few years at least.

In any case a master plan can be divided into provinces and autonomous departments working to plan. Actually what Roy mention as a fools effort is really true for all Republics with diverse provinces. But nothing wrong with making an effort to create a masterplan of submissions by the Provinces (bottom up, not top down). Which governor would rwould reject to share in USD20-30 billion?

All in all Indonesia sure need revenue from all sources. Just that it must plan never to cause ruin to what it already enjoys. In its natural make up!

Anyway creating a nice set of statistics is not costly. It costs something out of the USD 20-30 billion income possible. There is an an effect in tourism called the multiplier effect, on the economy. Jobs will be created within hotels in Indonesia currently having average lower then 50% in 2015. More diverse and cleaner eco environment will need workers. Why should Singapore's botanical gardens have a better name especially most of the gardeners may have originated from Indonesia?

The tourism multiplier can be exponential growth for employment and GDP. It does not have to copy anything from Singapore. In all examples given bove ou could easily put in Malaysia or Thailand or such like. They qall have bigger tourist arrivals and their airports handle much more traffic then all Indonesia's International entry points put together.

Can it be done? I do not know but I really enjoy the diverse people and the naturally comfortable village style living personally.

I enjoy Indonesia tremendously and keep fingers crossed that the people get what they deserve for being quite loving especially to foreigners. I keep seeing how every one is boarded onto a bus. When inside even old women make space in squeezed conditions to accomodate me. Such lovely people!

Nothing I say is a criticism, I sigh that it is taking so long because of so much natural upheavals in weather and eruptions that have to be handled so often.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss.

“Why is a city state's success not a comparable?”

Essentially because there is little to compare. Indonesia has little in common with Singapore.  IMHO the main difference is that Singapore has lost its roots, its cultural identity.  Singapore was created as opposed to being the end result of a natural evolution and without extreme outside influence and control.  Singapore is the result of English colonization, an excessive importation of non indigenous people (Indians and Chinese).  The local and indigenous population, the Malays, have all been but close to being left out.

Most anywhere in Indonesia, one gets an instant feeling of authenticity.  It’s “real” it’s at the gut level, and it rings as being timeless.  Things move slowly here, or at least slower than “normal” and traditions are not only honored and respected, but they are cherished.

They will never go quietly into the night.  For many Indonesians their cultural traditions are the fabric of their existence, and their life. 

You mentioned high rise building a few times, yet here in Bali, nothing is allowed to be built that exceeds the height of a coconut tree.  That essentially means a four or five storey limit (depending on the ceiling height of each floor).  I hope that tradition never changes, as buildings…all buildings, are ephemeral and temporary in one way or another, yet the natural beauty…which is neither man made, or altered by man, is spiritual in its significance. 

Singapore has an Orwellian ring that is not found here in Indonesia.  Everywhere one goes in Singapore they are on CCTV.  “Big brother” is forever watching.  I find that unnerving and invasive.  “Fun to visit” but I could never live there is what I say. 

Money, and its value has a completely different significance here.  I know plenty of folks who live as traditionally today (out of their free choice) who are sitting on property worth millions of US dollars.  My own mother and father in law are perfect examples.  My mother in law still cooks with a wood burning stove and oven, and she would immediately reject a modern kitchen. 

Off to the sawah many of the men go day by day, dressed in what are hardly better than rags and topped off with a straw hat.  Tourists often think “poor guy.”  Yeah, poor guy.  That “poor guy” could sell that rice field for 3 or more million dollars but would never consider it.  Of course, some have fallen to the temptation of the money, the “easy” life, new cars, new buildings in their compounds and etc., but many of them end up so very unhappy and in the end shallow and hollow…and regretful of their decision to sell their ancestral lands.

The entire world could go through an utter and total financial collapse, yet the vast majority of Indonesians would do just fine.  Why?  Because they know how to live off the land, and they are self reliant. No money, or worthless money…no problem.  Trade what you have for what you need.  I wonder how a Singaporean would fare, stuck in their 20th floor apartment during a crisis such as that.  Not well, I imagine.

So, what’s my point with all of this?  Simple.  Outside of the big durian, Surabaya and a few other large towns, I suspect that your way of thinking, and your objectives will be challenging to fulfill.  But who knows?  Like my mom and dad in law, I’m old school and traditional.  Then again, so are my three boys…thus far anyway.

And thank you too, and with kind regards, for the conversation.

Oh No Roy,

I want to thank you. I learnt a lot about Indonesia and its people, though today, more than my stays and business activities. I would guess I attracted a particular species by my manner and posture. So it was difficult to learn.

But you are right about Singapore and in a nutshell described the dilemma of residents in a so-called ultra-modern "post-colonized" mentality. So they need to create images of success because they have nothing else in a small island that in essence is more corrupt than Indonesia appears to be. Even that be the case, Indonesia  and its people is like a pearl hidden in its shell.

The best invention in the world is no use if not adequately given exposure or properly imaged. Even what you say needs to be communicated globally to receive attention and to be envied and fondly referred to for its better qualities.

There is that joke on the fisherman, who is told by a management consultant not unlike me,....hey why don't you get higher productivity. Buy a bigger and faster boat. Hire more guys and catch bigger and more fish.

The fisherman asked: what do I get from all that?

The Consultant advised:  you borrow some money from the bank and star a big business in fisheries. Sell by exporting at higher prices.

The fisherman said: what do I get from all that?

The reply came back: You get more money and can spend your days in leisure, sitting by the sea and generally shaking legs, no need to work, decide whether you want t that lah...

Fisherman said: Hey brother, I have all that now. What for I follow all you say and just get what I have now anyway....crazy man from Singapore ah..

Thank you again.

OK!  Good discussion!   :top:  :top:  :top:

More about business, and a little good news for a lot ... but probably not most expats. … -smes.html

The Communications and Information Ministry is trying to propel small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into regional and global markets, by providing free domain names to help them take advantage of the country’s growing e-commerce sector.

The government will provide the free domain names to about 8 million SMEs in all parts of the country until 2020, Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said on Wednesday.

Dear Fred,

Really good of you to allow people to launch. What I think SMEs who are at this stage of activity need to understand is that the article is not written clearly enough.

....."The domain names, he further said, would allow them to sell their products nationwide and even abroad."

1.The domain names do not allow any sales, to do they can do the same with some help from computer-savvy friends and/or relatives SMEs can pay for own domain names within a budget of USD 1-2 per year. go to

2. it is the websites created that will allow the sales. Domain names earn nothing.

3. If it was just the email server they needed,they can launch /!\ I AM A STUPID SPAMMER /!\ under their personal name

Or pay  USD 5 to gmail under their own domain name with 30gb free mail hosting.

4. If the SMEs want to choose a server to host their website free,or even build their website from free templates go to … gistration
Domain names are free.

BRI with 1 million SMEs has to be generous and help all the way. SMEs are the biggest employers of Indonesian nationals.

Fred, you have my compliments for catching the hearts of SMEs. They all want to pay for everything fully. Just at the start, they need a push and some assistance. Good luck all entrepreneurs/SMEs!

It's not good news at all for anyone except the government. Domain names cost almost nothing these days. It's more likely a trap by the government because anyone foolish enough to get a free domain name for one year from the government just to save themselves a couple of dollars will go onto the government database as running a business. The government can then monitor those websites and check their bank accounts any time they like. Worrying too is the fact that this is a collaboration between the government and a bank. People are not so stupid. It's an obvious trap.

Sounds right Ma'am.
Running a business is good,
but paying taxes is bad?
How come?

I mean not all businesses have profits every year.
So there are taxes, only when there is profit, right?

So many people running small businesses and not paying tax because they are under the government radar. I don't say it is good or bad but it is fact.  Indonesia is like that. But who wants to save two dollars for a free domain for only one year, have their name, address, domain name, website and bank details in a government database? Where is the good news? Only naive bule may think it is good news, but Indonesians are not stupid.

narilulla :

Sounds right Ma'am.
Running a business is good,
but paying taxes is bad?
How come?

I mean not all businesses have profits every year.
So there are taxes, only when there is profit, right?

Yes. I think I think the threshold is something like Rp80 million a year then you need to pay tax. I don't know the exact figures. People should pay taxes according to the law and so should companies.

Not everyone knows how to make a website, so if the government were offering to pay for SME's to have a free website made instead of just a Domain name, then that would be an incentive. However, I don't think medium sized companies would be interested because many already have websites, only computer illiterate people are unfamiliar with e-commerce.

Making websites and promoting your services overseas is one thing. Getting them through customs and controlling additional costs are another.
The domestic market is so big SMEs should be encouraged to promote their business here more and I am sure gain more trade, income and opportunity here before entering wildly competitive global markets.

I try to imagine how is the process for obtaining a free of charge Domain name for one year.

1. Go to any branch of BRI and open a business account with them.
2. At the bank, fill out the application form for free domain name, give your name, home address, name of business, turnover, business activity, tax number, business address, date when business was established.
3. Sign commitment to use BRI as your main business bank (maybe)
4. If you do not have a tax number then you must apply before they pay for you free domain name

In return, you save a cost of between US$2 to $15 for a domain name for one year, and at same time all your personal and business and bank account details are given to the government to monitor your activities and income in the future and to make sure you pay your taxes.

That is my interpretation based in what I read. Maybe I am missing something....

Here is the problem defined separately, from another viewpoint:

1. Internet penetration is 15% of population
2. SmartPhones are 43% of the 55 mill demand,( third highest in the world  after China and India)
3. Platform like Ali Baba in Indonesia reports: "biggest C2C platform, Bukalapak. In 2016, Bukalapak reportedly has 1 million sellers, more than 20 million  active listed products, and 4 million visitors a day.'"

So the conclusion is that websites must allow access to Smartphones to have 50% use of total users of internet.  But subscription/pay-per-use of data roaming must be high, and usage frugal for age group 15-35.

Products addressing  that age group must be within website smartphone compatible. That cannot be terrifically difficult? But will cost money and are not free. Must need developers savvy on website development -easy to find?

Maybe Bukalapak or equivalent team,  can handle this at the lowest rate for current subscribers with the government subsidies if any?

Hey ...this one is  a real sharp lady huh!

Plus all that and you got a domain name but with no use for it unless you have a website or email to start moving. Goodness me...why do government officials bite the bait and provide free promotion for BRI?


You are right about smartphones. Soon online transactions via smartphones will exceed transactions made on computers if not already. I think eBay transactions are already 45% to 50% made on smartphones. Websites must be smartphone friendly. That is why big companies such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook are streamlining their sites towards mobile apps and advising their sellers to make all listings smartphone friendly.

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