About Google’s investment in Indonesia

With the revelation that Google is planning to open an office in Indonesia, a lot of the talk has been about how it would be beneficial for them to do so, but many of the arguments I see on a number of blogs, news articles and on Twitter show a misunderstanding of the benefits.

Most highlighted the argument that Google as a corporation would be more accessible to Indonesians, that it would be able to do more direct interaction with Indonesia and understand the market a lot better. After all, Indonesia’s 230 million people is the fifth largest in the world and with only 40-odd million internet users it’s a market that can’t be ignored.

Common Argument
An oft-mentioned fact is how prolific Indonesians are in social networking sites as if it’s a major factor in establishing a local presence.

Many of those citing the number of Facebook users, Twitter activities, and blogging frequencies seem to forget that establishing a local office or striking an investment deal rely on much more than just a simple population count.

Additionally, most of the arguments put forward reflect more towards Indonesia’s advantage in having Google (or any other major internet company) establishing a presence here rather than seeing it from Google’s point of view.

A different angle
Of course, having an office here would allow any company to get to know the market more intimately.

Additionally, despite having tens of millions of people connected to the Internet, the majority of Indonesians are still not fully aware of what it is. Most see the Internet as an alternative marketplace and a cheap way to connect with other people. Even the local term to “go online” is to “play on the internet”…

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