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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  May 2011

Creative industry takes off in Indonesia

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Five years ago, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu first raised the idea of developing a third leg for the economy when she unveiled the government’s plan to nurture a creative industry.

However, even the seasoned economist did not know at the time how fast the industry would take off. The emergence of new technology has produced a breed of new entrepreneurs who are redefining the economy.

It may be true that old powerhouses of the economy, such as the mining and consumer industries, are where wealth is currently concentrated, but the future could be very different.

“We started looking at creative industries back in 2006, but the growth of social media has been phenomenal,” Mari told the Jakarta Globe in an exclusive interview on Saturday. “When I travel, I constantly get asked by angel investors about young IT companies in Indonesia in which they can invest.”

Mari will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s World Economic Forum, which is scheduled to be held in Jakarta from June 11 to 13. The topic of how to promote creative industries will be high on the agenda.

Such investments, she said, could spark a new wave of foreign funds into the country, which historically has attracted investment in industries such as mining, telecommunications and manufacturing. The new interest is being driven by a fast-growing domestic sector and young people who are highly connected and Internet savvy.

“The creative industry will be the third leg of the economy,” Mari said.

Creative industries account for 7.3 percent of Indonesia’s current gross domestic product, and the target is to raise this to 10 percent during the next 10 years. That would involve the creative industry growing from $49 billion to approximately $150 billion as the economy is projected to expand to $1.5 trillion in the next decade.

Such traditional means of measurement do not reflect the true strength and potential of the industry, though.

“The target of 10 percent is an underestimate because it is difficult to measure the intangibles,” Mari said. “We can measure the tangibles such as handicrafts and food, but when you get into creative services it gets difficult. One way to measure it is by going to Java Jazz every year.”

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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