Wed, 14 Apr 2010
The dominance in Indonesia of Nokia's mobile phones is under threat as a more demanding public dumps old models for sleeker, Internet-capable handsets, which in many cases means a BlackBerry.

Across Indonesia, southeast Asia's largest economy, the "BlackBerry phenomenon" is taking hold, with fan clubs meeting every month at coffee shops to swap tips and show off new models of the Research in Motion brand.

The smartphone boom reflects the emergence of a middle class in one of Asia's largest but vastly untapped consumer markets. "Previously, it was Nokia. Now it has been replaced by BlackBerry," said Joegianto, who runs a news and tips service for BlackBerry users, which has 3,000 online followers.

"People don't swap phone numbers any more, they swap their BlackBerry pin [personal identification] numbers."

New companies are providing third party content and applications for the BlackBerry tailored to the Indonesian market. One application, aimed at the country's dominant Muslim population, translates the Koran into other languages.

Although BlackBerry sales in Indonesia rose 400 per cent last year, Canadian manufacturer RIM still has fewer than a million users in the country, and less than one per cent of the broader Asian market.

But the company is quickly making its mark. While Nokia has 80 per cent of the Indonesian smartphone market, RIM, the leading smartphone supplier in the US, leapt from 1 to 10 per cent last year, mostly at Nokia's expense, according to the International Data Corporation.

In its financial year to February this year, RIM's net income rose 30 per cent to $2.46bn, while revenue increased 35 per cent to $14.95bn.

The BlackBerry came to Indonesia in 2004, when RIM formed a partnership with local telecommunications company PT Indosat. But it only began to take the market by storm over the past 18 months.

About 260,000 BlackBerrys were sold in Indonesia in the year to the end of February, said Chua Fong Yang, a telecoms market analyst at International Data Corporation.

"BlackBerry devices have always been associated as a status symbol among mobile subscribers in Indonesia," he said.

Nokia is fighting back by introducing cheaper smartphones in a move aimed at taking back market share, said Mr Yang.

Smartphone demand in the emerging democracy of 235m people is projected to grow by 30 per cent in 2010, and to double between 2010 and 2014, according to Mr Yang.

One factor driving the BlackBerry's success in Indonesia, aside from its relatively low cost, is a nationwide addiction to text messages and to posting on Facebook, the country's most popular social networking website.

Millions of Indonesians have turned Facebook into a political platform for dissenting opinions that might otherwise not be aired in public.

"Before, people demonstrated on the streets.

"Now they have gone online and created Democracy 2.0," said Heru Sutadi, a blogger and co-ordinator of the Indonesian Internet Society, referring to the country's break from dictatorship just over a decade ago.

BlackBerry's co-operation with six local telecom operators has also spurred its success.

For less than $10 a month, Indonesians who do not own a computer can go online after buying the phone for about $200.

To reach mainstream consumers the local carriers cut BlackBerry prices by 50 per cent in 2007, said Faizal Adiputra, a corporate executive who helped promote Blackberry services in Indonesia.

Gregory Wade, managing director of RIM in South Asia, says the device's growing success results from "a drive and desire by Indonesian consumers across a variety of different economic levels to really leap frog technology", moving from using landlines to smartphones.



News Search/Filter
Transaction Rates
19 Dec 17
Buy
Sell
BTC1
253,823,050
253,823,050
Taxation Exchange Rates
31 Aug 16 - 06 Sep 16
USD 1
13,232.00
AUD 1
10,043.30
CAD 1
10,213.70
DKK 1
1,999.40
HKD 1
1,706.22
MYR 1
3,283.28
NZD 1
9,623.63
NOK 1
1,605.23
GBP 1
17,433.70
SGD 1
9,757.68
SEK 1
1,569.45
CHF 1
13,631.10
JPY 100
13,101.00
MMK 1
11.01
INR 1
197.29
KWD 1
43,920.70
PKR 1
126.23
PHP 1
285.00
SAR 1
3,528.53
LKR 1
91.12
THB 1
382.08
BND 1
9,756.53
EUR 1
14,885.50
CNY 1
1,987.61

Okusi Associates: Indonesian Business & Management Services