Marilyn Balcita, Special Correspondent in Jakarta for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council
“Its young, tech-savvy, early adopting population has made Indonesia a target for digital brands in search of markets, with the IndoComtech expo the country's most high-profile showcase”
Founded in 1991, IndoComtech is the biggest consumer-technology show in Indonesia, a nation where advanced mobile internet use is deepening consumers' engagement with interactive technologies. According to research by Euromonitor, 78% of Indonesian households will own at least one smartphone by 2020. Unsurprisingly, then, discounted upgrades from a number of Asian smartphone brands – notably Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo – were a prominent feature of the 2019 event.
Improved mobile connectivity is also driving the popularity of competitive e-sports among Indonesian millennials – a demographic that represents more than one-fifth (60 million) of the country's 270 million population. Last year, the popularity of e-sports received a big boost when they debuted at the Asian Games, an event the country hosted. Since then, the government has pledged to invest in developing the sector as a way of creating jobs for the up-and-coming generation. Consequently, the gaming areas at this year's IndoComtech were showcasing all the latest top-line hardware, software and curvature screens, while Chinese, Korean and local brands competed to wow visitors with their latest ergo-dynamic e-sports chairs, custom-designed headsets, SSD drives or accessories.
One of the show's most striking – if smaller – stands came courtesy of Dongguan Kotion Electronics, a Guangdong-based manufacturer of Bluetooth gaming headsets, dual charging stations and USD sound cards. Outlining its approach to the sector, Christina Su, the company's Sales Manager, said: "We have to commit to a lot of research as gamers insist on very high-quality technology, while also liking products that suit their lifestyle and personality. We can work on both an OEM and ODM basis and our product designs can be customized to any client's specifications."
Although based in Colorado, Qoo Smart Technology has a local presence in Jakarta, as well as an assembly plant in Shenzhen, a global service center in Hong Kong and offices in Europe, Japan and Australia, all of which either produce or sell its range of Katfit smart bands and watches. Explaining why the company opted for an office in Indonesia, while also introducing its product range, Chief Executive Thomas Wong said: "We set up an Indonesian company last year as our first venture into Southeast Asia. We're now testing the market before deciding whether or not to enter others.
"As a company, our mission is to make a smarter way of life more accessible, including for the many Indonesian millennials who like new products and appreciate good value. Our bands and watches have considerable advantages over some of our competitor brands, including the facility to monitor heart-rate in real time, water resistance to 30 meters and low-power technology that extends battery life substantially."
The Katfit range of wearable tech
Smart-city solutions from Karta-X
Another company clearly targeting tech-minded, young consumers was Urban Geeks, a Jakarta-based business that imports, sells and distributes niche branded products – mostly from China and South Korea – including headsets, speakers and smart watches. Detailing how the company chooses its range, Businesses Development Manager Zuhad Mahdi said: "We select well-designed, high-quality brands that, while not all that well-known, offer real value for money, such as Mifa, Amazfit and Sabbat.
"We launched about three years ago with a target market of local consumers in the 20-30 age bracket. Typically, such individuals are very open to new, exciting products and tend to compare specifications and prices across all channels. Ensuring all our range is of high quality, while also being well-designed and good value for money, is pretty much essential for us."
To date, Urban Geeks' knowledge of local tech trends has also allowed it to offer market expansion services to a number of overseas businesses. One such company is Seoul-based Tammuz International, a manufacturer of SSD (solid-state drive) memory modules and USB flash drives for the gaming market.
Detailing the logic behind the partnership, Park Tae Soon, Tammuz's Overseas Sales Manager, said: "We began importing to Indonesia six months ago, seeing it as an opportunity as its young consumers are sophisticated enough to understand the benefits of moving from storing content on hard drives to storing on SSD – better performance and lower energy use.
"We already distribute in Singapore, the Philippines, Russia and Turkey, but Indonesia is now our new priority. In terms of marketing, we always try to leverage the 'Made in Korea' brand, as a lot of young people across Southeast Asia admire our culture, our music and our technology."
Another overseas company to have high-hopes for the Indonesian market was Shenzhen-based Hoco. Founded in 2009, it specializes in the manufacture of decidedly stylish power banks, charging cables and speakers.
Giving an overview of its positioning and strategy, Efendi Naftali, the National Sales Manager of Wanye Indo Pratama, Hoco's exclusive distributor in Indonesia, said: "Basically, as a brand, it's geared towards mid- to high-end customers. It's already proved hugely successful in [mainland] China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.
"The opening of our first outlet in Indonesia is now fairly imminent. As a way of building a bit of expectation, we've been offering big discounts at this show. It's fair to say we've got a really good response, especially for handphone covers and wireless headsets."
Also attending the show – largely as a result of initiatives launched by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC) – were a considerable number of Hong Kong-based businesses, including MEET International. A specialist in the design and manufacture of Bluetooth-enabled, multi-functional testing equipment – including moisture meters, voltage testers and infrared thermometers – it was particularly looking to promote its multi-application thermal-imaging camera at the show.
Keen to highlight its versatility, Chief Executive Ronald Choa said: "We've met a number of mechanics and engineers here and one just asked if our camera could be used to monitor the temperature of an oven to make sure it's always operating with maximum efficiency. We can actually do that quite simply by placing the camera about a meter away. In a few months' time, we're planning to release an even higher-resolution camera, one that can remotely measure heart-rate and blood pressure."
|IndoComtech 2019: The stylish technology show where geek meets chic.|
Taking its first step beyond Hong Kong meanwhile was Karta-X Technologies. Founded in 2017 with backing from HKSTPC's Incu-Tech programme, the company focuses on developing Internet of Things wireless communication technologies and smart-city solutions.
Giving an insight into the company's future plans, Chief Operating Officer Kenny Wong Ngai Yung said: "Indonesia is the first overseas market we've ventured into and we're running demos of our new smart LED street lighting and smart solar lighting solutions. Both solutions offer high coverage; reduce energy consumption and lower maintenance costs. In future, we may look at other Southeast Asian markets, but now we want to focus on developing sales here."
Marilyn Balcita, Special Correspondent in Jakarta for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council wrote this article and we republish this article by kind permission of the HKTDC. For more information on the activities, events and research of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, please visit them on the web at: https://hkmb.hktdc.com/en