Indonesia: World’s 4th biggest population that is under-represented in the digital world.

[Editor’s note — The following article was written by a guest author, Dicky Tarmizi from STI Indonesia PT Syukur Teknologi Inovasi.]

Most digital savvy people in Asia Pacific probably will be able to mention several digital companies that come from China, India and USA. These are number 1,2 and 3 countries in global ranking of population respectively. However, if we ask these same people whether they know of any digital companies from the country with the world’s 4th biggest population, Indonesia, they will probably just scratch their head.

As a country with 250+ million people, of which 91% own a mobile phone, Indonesia is clearly under-represented in the digital world. Despite 47% of mobiles in Indonesia are already smartphones, and Internet penetration has reached 51%, digital illiteracy is still one of the prevalent problems in Indonesia. Not only because its start-up unicorns are relatively unknown, but also the digital opportunities in this country are very much unknown to the outside world.

Not many people are aware that in 2016, Indonesia ranked number 1 the world in term of internet users growth. It’s also relatively unknown that in 2016 itself, Indonesians downloaded 30 BILLION apps. This amount of downloaded apps is 101% growth from 2015.

Further studies done by Google and Temasek at the end of 2015, showed that Indonesia will be the main driver of Southeast Asia e-conomy. SEA economy itself is estimated to increase by 6.5 times in 10 years and forecast to become $200 billion economy in 2025.

Currently there are only 3 digital unicorns in Indonesia: Gojek (Uber for motorcycle taxi that has become a giant platform for all kinds of services), Tokopedia (Indonesian’s eBay), and Traveloka (online travel). With all these estimation plus 250+ million people, for sure there is still a lot of room for 10 to 20 more unicorns.

The question is then how can one become the next digital unicorn in Indonesia? Like most Asian countries, guanxi or networking is important to access the Indonesian market.It is the least risky way to access a big market like Indonesia.

To understand more about digital opportunities in Indonesia and to find network to access the market, attend “Telkom Indonesia Socio Digi Leader 2017 Roadshow” event at Blk71 on Wednesday,May 17 starting at 2pm. Kindly register at

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