Money trading goes mobile in Indonesia

Bloomberg has an interesting article looking at tech in Indonesia suggesting that online stock traders are tapping into mobile to identify new investors among the country’s tech-crazed population.

The article looks specifically at how the iPhone, and other leading mobile devices, and social networks – which are hugely popular in the country – are helping brokers reach out to young people and other demographics.

The growth of mobile Internet, fueled by social networks run by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., is likely to quicken as the number of Indonesians with online access jumps to 100 million by 2015 from 45 million currently, according to estimates from the national association of Internet services.

It gives further context on how the country’s economy is booming with positive effects still into Indonesia’s vibrant social media scene:

The Jakarta Composite index (JCI) has gained 3.7 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent drop in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. That’s made Indonesia the best performer in Asia…The gains have pushed the Jakarta index’s valuation to 15 times estimated earnings, making it the region’s most expensive market.

Still, overseas investors have bought a net $1.66 billion of shares in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy this year to Aug. 26, up 27 percent from the same period in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The index will rise 12 percent to end the year to 4,300 points, Shin forecast.

“If online trading is already helping brokerages boost share transactions, mobile trading will benefit them even further,” Lily Widjaja, chairwoman of the Indonesian brokerage association, said on Aug. 25. “They can reach out to new customers in remote areas.”

eTrading was the country’s most-active brokerage last year, accounting for 6.1 percent of total transaction volume, data from the Indonesia Stock Exchange show. The company, whose clients make up 15 percent of the nation’s retail investors, introduced the country’s first mobile-trading applications for iPhones and other devices in December.

The combination of economic success, the popularity of smartphones and social media/internet boom in Indonesia makes mobile trading a ideal mix, on paper, but I wonder if many are comfortable, or trust, the medium of mobile for dealing with money and financial issues.

Internet banking has been/still remains a big leap for many, making a transition to mobile is one step further.

Yet in Indonesia and other Asian markets, mobile finance has proven popular, with the GSMA highlighting the progress of Thailand’s True Money service last year. With that in mind, mobile stocks and share management is perhaps another logical step?