With the increased pace of globalism and foreign investment opening markets in Asia, companies must be quick to establish a presence on the ground to seize the opportunities.
Helping with this is Asian Tigers Lane Moving and Storage, a international logistics company that specializes in relocating executives and setting up offices.
Marking its 25th anniversary last week, chief executive Gerard Lane and operations manager Bill Lloyd sat down with the Jakarta Globe to talk about prospects in Indonesia and how forthcoming revisions to property laws for expatriates would affect their business here.
How would you describe the business environment in Indonesia?
Lloyd: Indonesia is what I call a lucky gem compared to most economies throughout Asia. It’s a good place to be at the moment and the economic situation is going forward. I’m optimistic about economic growth this year.
Who do you see as your competitors in Indonesia?
Lloyd: There are more than 30 companies that call themselves international movers here, but we are the market leader, and the others provide nowhere near the quality of service we provide.
Lane: We started in 1985, and within two or three years we had become the largest company of our kind here. In the past couple of years, we’ve opened new branches and are expanding.
Have you seen a lot of growth in your market?
Lane: It’s been developing quite a bit. There’s more demand for relocation services for expats moving to countries like Indonesia, so we’ve been growing quite rapidly. We see a lot of new investment coming to Indonesia, and we anticipate that there will be a lot more as the investment climate improves.
How will revising property ownership regulations for foreigners support the growth of your business?
Lane: I see those regulations as a very progressive step in any country, as strict regulations against foreign investment are not good for the economy.
How large is the moving business in Indonesia?
Lloyd: With so many competitors, it’s hard to determine the size of the market.
Lane: Perhaps we control about 25 percent of the market, with us being the leader.
Have you seen the global recession affecting your business here?
Lane: Over the past years, Indonesia has excelled and done a fantastic job of weathering the storm during the recession. There’s really no recession here.
Do you think the nation’s political situation will keep expats from coming here?
Lane: [Regardless of the political situation], with more foreign investment coming in, things are looking bright, and we have seen an increase of expats coming into Indonesia. If you look at the world economy in the past year, most economies have contracted, but there are still a huge amount of investment funds that are looking for someplace to go to. And now countries like China, India and Indonesia are looking more attractive for foreign investment.
How much do you expect your industry to grow after the foreign property ownership rules are implemented?
Lane: We are planning to capitalize on the new regulation, but I don’t think it will immediately affect the growth of the company. What it will do is make the country more attractive for investment because foreign companies should not be discriminated against from owning properties. In European countries, Indonesians are freely allowed to own properties, whether as a company or an individual.
But it hasn’t been the case here, so any change is positive and progressive. In the past many companies would look at Indonesia and say that it’s too risky to invest here, that they are discriminated against because of the law, and moved to somewhere else like Tokyo because it was safer.
Has the rising tide of foreign investment been good for your business?
Lloyd: We’ve seen a great increase of foreign investment in the past year. We’ve also seen an increase in our shipments.
How much has the increase been?
Lloyd: Its hard to tell, but there’s been three to four times more, both for inbound and outbound shipments. But whatever pace the Indonesian economy is growing at, we’ll benefit from it because our business relies on its healthy economy and flow of foreign investment.