Grace D. Amianti
The Jakarta Post
Indian entrepreneurs are seeking to explore opportunities to start new businesses or expand their existing ones in Indonesia, as they are optimistic about potential economic growth in the country, despite the sluggish global market trend.
To exchange ideas and learn more about business opportunities in Indonesia, a delegation of Indian CEOs visited the country from July 18 to 19, during which they met with a number of top government officials and businesspeople.
The two-day visit of the business leaders, representing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), was also a follow up to earlier discussions between Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan and top Indian officials during the former’s visit to India in February to attend the country’s Make in India Week event.
CII president Naushad Forbes, who led the delegation, said the visit was aimed at enhancing economic engagement between the two countries, particularly in areas that remained untapped by both parties.
Forbes said Indonesia had emerged as India’s largest trading partner in the ASEAN region, with bilateral trade having reached US$15.9 billion between 2015 and 2016.
“There is considerable potential for expanding trade between the two countries in a number of areas, such as automotive, engineering, IT, pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors,” he said on Monday.
On the investment side, Forbes said 50 Indian companies had a relatively strong presence in Indonesia, with some of them major players in their sectors, having operated in the country for dozens of years, including automotive giants Tata Motors and TVS as well as publicly listed polyester and yarn producer Indorama Synthetic.
Other sectors that have attracted Indian investors are infrastructure, power, mining, banking and consumer goods, Forbes said.
For upcoming investment, Forbes said all 10 companies represented by members of the delegation were either looking at expanding or starting fresh ones. Tata Motors is one example, as it plans to start assembling cars in Indonesia, he said.
“From discussions that we had today [Monday], at least 20 or 30 companies expect to do something [in Indonesia] and there will be many, many more,” he said.
Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej, a member of the delegation, said his company planned to grow its consumer business in Indonesia “very strongly”, as there was a higher per capita sales of consumer products in the country than in India.
Godrej’s consumer goods conglomerate, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd., operates Godrej Indonesia. The group will look into opportunities to expand in Indonesia’s agribusiness sector, following success in its home country, as it is also a very large importer of palm oil and the commodity’s derivatives.
“We are looking for opportunities as economic relations develop between the two countries. The sky is the limit,” he said. Insecticide product Hit has until now generated the most revenues for Godrej Indonesia, with a market share of roughly 50 percent, continued by Stella air fresheners and Mitu wet tissues.
During the two-day visit, the delegation interacted with several economic ministers and officials as well as executives of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo).
Industry Minister Saleh Husin said in a statement on Monday evening that the Indonesian government invited Indian businesspeople to seek opportunities and collaborate with companies in promising sectors, namely pharmaceuticals, machinery and industrial.