11 market entry experts share how to successfully expand to Indonesia?

We asked 11 of Indonesia’s leading market entry experts, “what is their number one tip for foreign businesses planning to expand to Indonesia?”

Collectively those experts have helped +3000 companies to expand to Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago.

Expanding to Indonesia: the world’s most complex jurisdiction

Recently, TMF Group released its “Global Business Complexity Index 2020,” where they mapped 77 jurisdictions to identify the most challenging markets to do business in.

In 2020, Indonesia scored first place as the world’s most complex market ahead of Brazil, Greece, and China.

expanding business to Indonesia
Source: TMF’s Global Business Complexity Index 2020

At the same time, the World Bank has ranked Indonesia as #73 on its “Ease Of Doing Business Index.” In the case of the World Bank’s study, the higher the score, the more complex the jurisdiction, as they have assessed 190 markets around the world. Thus, Indonesia scores somehow in the middle.

While each study has a different methodology and reached a different ranking, both agree that Indonesia is a challenging market for foreign businesses.

The Opportunity of Expanding to Indonesia

Yet, Indonesia has recently entered the top 10 of the biggest economies in the world and is expected to reach rank five by 2024.

Source: World Bank and IMF

Meaning, running a business in Indonesia is, to say the least, a challenge. But the growth potential is there. Currently, the 16th-largest economy in the world, this dynamic archipelago, has the potential to be the fifth-biggest by 2024.

To support foreign businesses interested in expanding to Indonesia, we reached out to 11 experts, partners of our marketplace, that have collectively helped 3000+ companies to enter the market. Those leaders are Indonesia’s very best experts on market-entry services, and each of them has shared their #1 tip for foreign businesses.

Here you go what they are saying:

1. Miguel Latorre, Managing Director at Vistra Indonesia. Helped more than 450 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“Be well prepared, fact check with multiple sources, and make sure you have the right partner to help you navigate through the whole process’’

2. Jennifer Halim, Senior Associate, International Business Advisory at Dezan Shira & Associates. Helped more than 100 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“As the 4th largest populated country in the world, Indonesia could be one of the best options for your investment plan! Conducting market research prior to your expansion plan is the key to your business success! First, identify your market, then choose the right location of your business plan, and last but not least, invest in relationships with the right business partners in Indonesia, the market is yours.”

3. Alvin Christian, Managing Director of TMF, Indonesia. Helped 150+ businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“The attractiveness of Indonesia as an investment destination and its potential market outweighs the challenges from its complexity by a large margin. Having a local trusted expert as a partner to guide you in navigating the complexity on the ground is the key to success for expanding into and growing in Indonesia.”

4. Jochen Sautter, President Director of PT PRIME Consultancy. Helped more than 500 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“As Indonesia is a vast country with lots of diversity and complexity it is of utmost importance to use experienced service providers right from the beginning. For efficiency and effectiveness engage companies that have clean and bankable credentials. Don’t be optimistic think will work out anyhow in your favor; such thinking can derail your market entry very easily.”

5. Rieke CEO at KontrakHukum. Helped more than 150 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“Doing legal research as part of your due diligence before coming into Indonesia will grant you knowledge that will save you time and unnecessary complications later on. With legal research, you will get the exact requirements to incorporate your company. From the business category, maximum share ownership, minimum paid capital, and regulatory requirements related to your company. We help to take the uncertainty out of doing business in Indonesia.”

6. Vinod Kumar, Chief Growth Officer at MagnaPraxis. Helped close to a thousand businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“Expanding into a country can be daunting. Especially a country as complex as Indonesia. Red tape aplenty. Here more than ever, we have to invest in relationships. Invest in a trusted partner. We cannot be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Get your structure right from the start, from a legal and tax perspective and you can be on your way to a successful business in this glorious country with abundant opportunities.”

7. Catherine L. Ary, Founder of PT Easyhelps Multi Solusindo. Catherine has helped more than 100 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“Setting up a business and opening a new office in another country needs more than only information through the internet. As a business owner, you should have complete information to direct your business in taking the very best decision on the plan to set up a new business in a foreign country. Moreover, the Indonesian Government is committed to improving existing services and governance. Hence, supporting the ease of doing business and encourage foreign investment to enter Indonesia. To comply with the Indonesian’s law and regulations for business incorporation, better find a local expert.”

8. Primadi W. Soerjosoemanto, Co-Founder and Principal Partner at BRIGHT Indonesia. Helped more than 100 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“The most important thing that you have to do to succeed in Indonesia is to build your strategy by doing the necessary groundwork and collecting business intelligence. As a result, understanding the business culture is crucial to develop the right communication style that aligns well with Indonesian businesses. You have to be willing to play the long game, as most companies take several years before they start seeing results from their operations in Indonesia.”

9. Ivan Lalamentik, Managing Director of LEXAR. Helped 350+ businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“One thing stays intact when you grow your business here in Indonesia: a growing market. As a land of ever-growing possibilities, understanding local market behavior, and customs are the keys, then grab your opportunity. Furthermore, once you know what to achieve, you will deep dive to understand what your market needs. Initiate, incorporate, and invest: Indonesia’s market is the answer to your business investment!”

10. Francisca T Gunawan, Director at PT ASA Indonesia. Helped +100 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“When you invest in Indonesia, frequently you need to partner with local people. Always make sure that you know them well and always check on their character and past reputation. If you cannot do that, go to an expert for advice and consider partnering with a company with a good reputation than with an individual.”

11. Manu Asvalayn, CEO at Trident Global, Helped +45 businesses to expand to Indonesia successfully.

“One of the most important aspects of entering Indonesia to do business is understanding the people’s culture in particular and culture in general. Therefore, getting the insight on the people/employee calibration required will go a long way. As it will help you analyze and set expectations vis-a-vis growth, cost, the performance of the business.”

Going through all the tips, a few patterns stood out to us, mainly around the topics of research and finding the right partner to help you enter the Indonesian market. We totally agree. The best way to approach your business expansion is to identify the most trustworthy and credible partners. In that way, you will be able to tap into their experience and insights.

To support you in your expansion process, we have built our marketplace for professional services in fast-growth markets. All experts who have shared tips above are actually partners of Greenhouse, and their company profiles are listed on our platform. To see a comprehensive profile of each company and approach them, click here.

You will be directed to our home page where you can read about:

  • our network of qualified service providers
  • why using Greenhouse saves you time
  • our efforts on trust and safety

Then just choose “Indonesia” and “business incorporation,” and you will be able to access the profiles of all service providers mentioned in this article.