Digital transformation from the ground up

Bima Laga, chairman of the Indonesian E-Commerce Association (idEA), pushes ahead to empower SMEs in Indonesia, in order to build an industry in which businesses that use e-commerce will be able to thrive

What is your outlook for Indonesian e-commerce for the coming years?
Indonesia has a great number of potential digital markets which have not been tapped. More than 70 per cent of our population are Internet users, but only about 20 per cent are using the Internet for e-commerce.

As such, I predict that our digital economy will grow significantly over the next few years. And when e-commerce grows, Indonesia’s other digital sectors will grow alongside it.

The global economic recession worries e-commerce players in Indonesia. What can idEA do to help members navigate through this uncertain period?
We need to focus on developing local products, as well as the digital market itself. One government-led movement – the Gerakan Nasional Bangga Buatan Indonesia (GNBBI) or National Movement on Proud of Indonesian Products – in May 2020 pushed some of our SMEs to go digital.

GNBBI also highlighted why Indonesian consumers should buy and use local products, as this would help contribute to the economy and minimise the negative impacts of a looming global recession.

GNBBI is also focused on building an ecosystem of 11 million new e-commerce SMEs. E-commerce in Indonesia will continue to grow, but other digital sectors will grow alongside it.

What are your future plans for the association?
I hope that the association and its members will continue to work towards building a mature digital ecosystem. This way, it will bring about a positive impact on both Indonesia’s economy and society.

For this to happen, industry players have to keep improving their digital technology to help both consumers and merchants, as better technology will secure transactions and give consumers peace of mind when making purchases.

In 2022, idEA initiated several events. How do these events help the business growth of Indonesia’s digital economy?
Some of these events were dedicated to SMEs to help them develop their digital skills, as well as their products. It is important for them to understand how to optimise digital tech in order to achieve success in the digital era.

Other events were also held for industry players, to keep them in the know about what was happening in the country’s digital industry. The digital industry moves incredibly fast, and everyone who has a hand in it needs to be constantly updated.