This is a good indicator of how modernity has hit Indonesia, and it has hit in a major way.
Young people all over Indonesia are breaking away from old attitudes and diving head first into the online world. On every corner and street you can see Internet Cafe’s offering hotspot WiFi and speedy connections. The average cost is roughly 2500Rp (15p/25c) an hour and they are never empty.
The Indonesian economy has continued to grow as the North American and Western European economies have slowed. Indonesia is fast becoming the new kingdom of shopkeepers as was Britain 300 hundred years ago. The people are starting to fly; new cars, new homes, new motorbikes and new phones. Smartphone’s are part of the furniture here, the kids all have Blackberry’s and Nokia’s with the odd iPhone kicking around. BlackBerry@Indonesia and Nokia Indonesia are the top two brands right now.
The social network truly is a phenomenon in Indonesia, kids from North Sumatra all the way to Papua can stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.
It’s not just the social networking but SEO is big here too. This is probably due (at least in part) to the fierce competition for tourism in places such as Bali, Flores and other paradise locations. Especially on Bali, all the tour operators and hotels realised the importance of the Internet. There has been an explosion of websites springing up to capture potential tourists.
Everybody is doing what they can to stay ahead of the game. SEO and web design companies are springing up all over the place to handle the demand.
One downside or upside depending on who you are is that most software is counterfeit (and thus cheap) and Indonesian websites are full up with malware. It is possible to get any software you want for super cheap, but it is of course not genuine. It is the same case with computer games (PC, PS3 and Xbox360), all can be bought for a tenth of the retail price but often they have glitches or do not work at all.
If you were to take you computer to an engineer with some critical problem, he will probably just wipe it clean and install a fake version of Windows, which will subsequently give you validation problems down the line.
The enforcement of Indonesia law is about as minimal as it gets, which means the country will continue as a hot bed of pirating and malicious software creation.
However, this by no means sums up the Indonesian tech scene, the young guys and girls are very talented and keen to learn. Electronics are very cheap in places like Jakarta and Surabaya, this means the tools are readily available and there is a huge pool of talent to utilise these tools.
In the future other countries may start outsourcing web design to countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.
Guest post written by James West, a British expat living and working in Bali. I am a part-time English teacher and manager of a job agency with my wife. http://www.balikrisnaservice.com/