The world again showed its admiration for Indonesia, where this time the well-known business magazine Forbes commented that it was arguably very appreciative of the progress of the Indonesian economic movement by calling Indonesia a new Southeast Asian tiger. Forbes contributor Elad Natanson, Forbes digital economics writer and Appnext founder, in his article “Indonesia: The New Tiger Of Southeast Asia” edition May 14, 2019, said Indonesia had encouraged the development of the digital economy in Southeast Asia.
The title of tiger is well-known as a nickname for East Asian countries whose economies are growing rapidly, and the same thing is happening in Indonesia thanks mainly to the digital economy or the mobile economy.
Reporting from Forbes, Indonesia gets the spotlight because of the many young people, namely 60 percent of the population aged 40 years and under. In addition, mobile development in Indonesia is also high with 95 percent of internet users (142 million people) already owning smartphones.
Indonesia is also seen as similar to the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, which decades ago got the nickname of the Asian economic tiger thanks to the rapid industrialization, trade, and financial development that led to high-level sustainable growth.
“A similar transformation is happening in Southeast Asia, it’s just that now the pioneer of change is driven by the mobile economy. This is very evident in Indonesia, the fourth largest population in the world,” Forbes wrote.
Because of the high youth population and the large number of technology users, Indonesia has many skilled and young mobile users.
Indonesians are said to spend 206 minutes a day on social media, which is above the average global user, which is 124 minutes. In addition, 76 percent of Indonesian internet users shop via their smartphones, making Indonesia the highest country in terms of mobile e-commerce, aka shopping via mobile devices.
“In recent years there has been a surge in the Indonesian internet economy. In addition to e-commerce, there are online gaming, advertising, music, and video subscriptions, as well as online travel and ride-hailing or food delivery services that are all adopted by young Indonesian consumers,” explained Forbes.
Reports by Google and Temasek say the internet economy in Indonesia can grow up to USD 100 billion in 2025. No doubt Indonesia is called “digital archipelago because it has 150 million internet users and has an internet economy of up to USD 27 billion in 2018.
Venture investment is considered a source of skyrocketing Indonesia’s mobile economy. Investing in Indonesia today is similar to investing in China in 2008.
“Unicorns” also appear in various different sectors, such as e-commerce, online travel, and online transportation. Forbes said that Indonesia has a great opportunity in terms of payments and e-money. Google and Temasek predict that Indonesian e-commerce will reach USD 53 billion in 2025.
However, there are still many Indonesians who still do not have credit cards, which is only 2.4 percent of the population. Meanwhile, mobile financial services are considered easier to reach by the public given a large number of smartphone users, as a result, digital financial services have become a great opportunity in Indonesia.
“With more than 180 million Indonesians who have not received bank services (credit cards) have used smartphones, the current race is to provide mobile money and financial services,” Forbes wrote.