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Selamat datang! Indonesia eCommerce trends from Startup Asia

 My visit in November is my third time in the world largest archipelago since the last 12 months as I’m a big fan of Indonesia. And I’m always interested in discovering the Komodo’s country Internet market, people and culture as well. Two days attending Startup Asia event together with several meetings after that help me to realize some trends are really happening in the fourth most populous nation in the world. Here you go!

  • Market place battle is now heavily competitive with many big warriors: Rakuten, Lamido (Rocket Internet), Tokobagus (Toko means shop/store, and bagus is good), Tokopedia, Bukalapak (backed by GREE Ventures), eBay’s Planja, Multiply, Elevenia, Kaskus new platform. Tokobagus and Tokopedia are temporarily safe in their leading roles.

[quote style=”boxed”]Fashion and female are the main product and buyer in the market. According to Andry, Founder/CEO of PriceArea: “77.1 percent of females buy clothing online, while 11.1 percent buy bags”.[/quote]  Perhaps there is no bag-only site. Who wanna sell bags?

  • Online restaurant reservation and food related category is getting crowded. Around 5 startups were showing up at the booths: Qraved, Kulinen, JKTGo, IndoTable, Klik-Eat…
  • Travel startups are going to find new niches with VoucherHotel, PrincePon, Bobobobo (shop-holiday-treat together), JktGo as the online tourism is already full of  OTAs (Tiket, GoIndonesia, Traveloka, PegiPegi, Tiket2, ,Travelkota, Gonla/died,… ).
  • Payment is hot but no one knows what would be the next big thing. Who will be the champion and unite all 4.6 shopped users (57% used bank transfer)? And also tap the biggest piece of $1.8 billion spent by Indonesian online shoppers in 2013?
  • Indonesian guys seem comfortable to tackle global market with mobile platform as their strengths. PixMix, a photo editing mobile app now reached 15M downloads globally, though more than 50% are BlackBerry users. TouchTen, a mobile games startup has more than 6M international users. But any player wanna enter m-commerce land and compete with Carousell in Singapore and ShopSpot from Thailand?

[quote]Indonesia seems to become the first local market choice of Japanese VCs in Southeast Asia. I think they are now eyeing Indonesia first, then Thailand, and finally Vietnam as the top three local eCommerce markets in SEA.[/quote]

The Heritage in Bandung, one of the coolest cities of Indonesia
The Heritage in Bandung, one of the coolest cities of Indonesia


  • The very young guys are coming to form a new generation of entrepreneurs: I talked with at least 5 founders who are just from 20-25 years old. They are very eager and hungry to look for achievements. One startup started only one month ago PrincePon. And another claim that they just finished their first beta version one day before MappedInJakarta (locate and connect startups/VC/experts in Jakarta). They don’t even have data yet. The two are all around 20 years old.

[quote]Some startups are looking to expand to Thailand and Vietnam if they already secure a top position in the local market. [/quote] Two founders of C2C, B2B site asked me if I know some potential partners, employees for them in these markets.

  • Indonesian entrepreneurs are quite ambitious and aiming to regional and global play yard. They might learn from Gajah Mada’s spirit, who arguably the most powerful Indonesian general (1290 – 1364). During his tenure as a Prime Minister of Majapahit empire, Indonesia reached its peak of glory with conquering lots of areas where are now parts of Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. From this event and Echelon Indonesia last April, I’ve heard from at least 5 startups dreaming to be the top ones in Southeast Asia, Asia. Indonesia’s history is repeating itself in another way?

Will Indonesia become a second China in Asia? Well, let’s see. But it is going to be true from my point of view, even though there are many persons still doubting about timing and readiness of this market. Let visit Jakarta, enjoy GadoGado or go to Bandung to taste Mie Ayam Jamur and Baso Cuanki and breathe the fresh highland’s air. Then tell me if I’m right or wrong, ok? Terima Kasih!

Minh Bui

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