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Indonesia: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Indonesia

Business dealings should be conducted through an agent and tend to be slow. Punctuality is expected but be aware that your host may be running late and this is quite common. Business cards are widely used and it is polite to take great interest in any card that is received. It is conventional to greet by shaking hands and giving a slight bow with the head on meeting. The same bow of the head should be made when taking your leave. Literature should be in English, but prices should be quoted in US Dollars as well as Pounds Sterling.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1700 or 0800-1600. Government office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1600 and Sat 0800-1200.


Following the Asian economic crisis in 1997, the economy stabilised again by 1999 and, since 2000, has resumed steady annual growth, which was at 5.9% in 2008. And in October 2006, Jakarta paid off its outstanding IMF debt, incurred during the crisis, four years ahead of schedule. From 2010 to 2012, the economy grew by 6%, whilst unemployment had decreased slightly since 2008 to 6.1% in 2012.

Oil and natural gas are the most important raw materials produced by Indonesia. Tourism has become a major industry and vital source of foreign exchange, although it suffered in the wake of the Bali bomb attacks, as well as the tsunami. Poverty and lack of infrastructure are still major challenges which remain to be solved by the government. The cutting of state fuel subsidies in May 2008 led to a 29% rise in the price of fuel, but Indonesia continues to have some of the cheapest fuel prices in the world, despite a push to increase prices in 2013. As tourism is one of Indonesia’s biggest industries and there are hotels and centres to cater for conferences in all the major towns across the islands.


US$878.2billion (2013).

Main exports

Oil, gas, electrical appliances, textiles and rubber.

Main imports

Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuel and food.

Main trading partners

Japan, Singapore, USA, China and Korea (Rep).

Keeping in Touch in Indonesia


Many hotel lobbies have public phones which take credit cards and phone cards. State-operated phone booths or offices (Telkom) and privately-owned companies (known as wartel, warpostel or warparpostel), which work on a pay-as-you-leave basis, can be found in towns and cities throughout the country.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage may be limited to main towns and cities.


There are internet cafés in all major cities and tourist destinations.


Media freedom increased considerably after the end of President Suharto's rule in 1998, during which the now-defunct Ministry of Information monitored and controlled domestic media and restricted foreign media. Kompas and Pos Kota are mass-circulation dailies, whilst English-language newspapers include The Jakarta Post and the weekly Tempo magazine. Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI) is a public broadcaster that operates two networks. Several provinces have their own stations. Other private stations operate such as Metro TV and Surya Citra Televisi Indonesia (SCTV). Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) is a public broadcaster that operates six national networks, regional and local stations, and the external service, Voice of Indonesia.


Airmail to western Europe, the USA and Australia takes about 10 days. An express service is available.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1600, Sat 0800-1300 (hours may be longer in city centres).

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