IT industry still ripe for growth on Indonesians’ love for gadgets

Dylan Amirio

The Jakarta Post

The information technology (IT) industry will continue to grow at an average of 8 percent per year because electronic gadgets have become an important part of the daily life of millions of Indonesians.

Demand for gadgets continues to rise, especially given that Indonesians switch their gadgets every two years on average, spurring growth in the domestic IT industry, according to the Indonesian Computer Entrepreneurs Association (APKOMINDO).

Around 160 million Indonesians have at least one cell phone, which the association said had now become an integral part of everyday life. Time spent on mobile devices averages 3.5 hours per day, higher than the 1.9 hours per day in the US, according to a recent McKinsey and Company report.

“If you look at the sales of laptops and desktops, it is far more insignificant when you compare it to gadget sales. Gadgets are in a situation where their stagnation is still far off because of their relevance to society,” APKOMINDO’s founder Chris Iwan Japari said on Wednesday at the opening of the BRI Indocomtech Festival, dubbed Indonesia’s largest IT exhibition.

APKOMINDO’s secretary-general Rudy D. Muliadi noted that the rise of software and application development had also pushed the IT industry to grow at a faster clip.

“Gadgets such as smartphones are also driving dynamic growth. It is also partly due to stiff competition that the companies are facing against one another. They all want to attract Indonesia’s increasingly digitally savvy population,” he added.

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara noted that what was happening in Indonesia was a visible shift toward broadband services, with a digital ecosystem that was constantly being upgraded to fit public needs.

This visible shift, he said, was shown in the example of travel booking habits. A majority of the public now book and print out their own tickets for air travel, gradually leaving behind the old habit of doing so at airports.

Online and mobile-based services that also fulfil this demand include and, as more people are beginning to embrace doing things the digital way.

“The key words are ‘device’, ‘network’ and ‘application’, or DNA for short. It’s not really strange to see a kind of shift like this. From the government’s side, what we can do now is mainly push the existing broadband projects such as the Palapa Ring so that the ecosystem can be improved,” he said.

The Palapa Ring project will lay down 11,000 kilometers of undersea fiber-optic cable throughout the archipelago to connect the whole country, from the west to the east, to the internet.

The ongoing Indocomtech festival plans to see transactions of up to Rp 600 billion in the five days it will be held between Nov. 2 and Nov. 6. It also targets to attract a total of 200,000 visitors.

Visitors to the small Indocomtech exhibition can see a range of gadgets on show and for sale from their favorite brands. Sitting side-by-side with a simultaneous automotive exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center, the crowd at Indocomtech seemed mesmerized by the sales and displays of the gadgets.

Vendors at the Samsung booth said they had sold more than four of their gadgets in the two hours they had been open, with the J-series phones being the most popular.