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Creating the Domination of Local Products in Local App Consumption

Randi Eka - 12 June 2015

If we’re talking about information and communication tech products, particularly from developer’s point of view, foreign products are on the lead. From Computer OS to phone apps, all come from outside Indonesia. Question is, are local developers sucks?

The Minister of Communication and Information Rudiantara once stated that his team look to get people used to local IT solution, especially in meeting the needs of simple conputation, like communication for instance. Although he admitted that foreign products like WhatsApp, Path, Facebook and other OTT (Over The Top) products mushroomed already, he was certain that local products will soon rise to the top.

Local apps’ competitiveness

First, I’m sure that we couldn’t agree more that Indonesia is a vast market for OTT products like social media apps, messenger, and other similiar stuff. Recently, Finland-based Jongla also entered Indonesia, hoping that they’d be able to taste the cake. Same goes to Singapore-based Wisper.

My question is, have you ever heard about local products like Zohib Messenger, Smiles Messenger, RightHere Messenger or LiteBIG Messenger? I’m sure many of you haven’t. At least that’s what we found in our surrounding.

It’s David vs Goliath

Most of popular OTT products get their own fortune through supports from internet titans or gigantic funding. While those focus on expansion, our local developers still struggle with innovation. It’s like David vs Goliath. Is it that impossible to shift people’s preferences from foreign products to local ones?

David is pretty small, he can fit narrow fields that Goliath can’t. Although practically having less competitive products, the right strategy and synergy might just be perfect to build his own market. Start small, that’s all he needs.

Throwing the security and privacy issue containing the concern of getting our data collected by foreign parties might kickstart the campaign as it creates momentum, while presenting content and approach which are tightly related to local users also serve as the plus point. Nonetheless, the perfect angle is yet to find, hence, still, it’s an occupying job for David to topple Goliath down.

Government’s synergy and protection

Rudiantara’s spirit is music to local developers’ ears. The Ministry indeed can do many things, including analyzing the required things for local developers to scale up their businesses.

As part of their power, the Ministry owns powerful control and network in terms of tech industry. Connecting local products with competitive corporate may be one of synergies that the government can do. Partnership with the telecommunication industry can serve as one of attempts to prioritize local OTT products innovation.

Protecting local products doesn’t mean shutting the door for foreign products. We need to create our own culture using local products and make it as “the agenda of revolution”. There must also be quality enhancement from local developers to ensure that their products are able to compete and steal consumers’ heart.

In China, for instance, although most of local products are born because the government there limit the penetration of foreign products, WeChat is still a world-class service since it has competitive product quality and management which allow it becoming globally valuable. And that’s what our local developers need, no, have to do.

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