Fri, 11 Dec 2015

Foreign ownership of online marketplace platforms, such as Tokopedia and motorcycle taxi app Go-Jek, is under review by the government with an eye on expansion, a top official said.

Foreign ownership of online commerce companies is currently banned in Indonesia — a regulation likely to be revised next year as part of the government's efforts to foster growth in the country's digital ecosystem.

Franky Sibarani, chief of Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), said the government will also place more emphasis on correctly categorizing e-commerce firms and businesses which operate online marketplace platforms.

This is necessary to accommodate online business ventures which don't fall under the e-commerce classification, he said in a statement. The classification is determined by an online business directly managing their inventory, he said, pointing to Lazada and Tokopedia as examples.

"The potential is vast, which is why the government must support and be present in every aspect of the development. Not to mention, in terms of consumer protection," he added.

The government is currently reviewing its investment guidelines, with revisions aimed to completed and be approved next April.

BKPM has accepted submissions from ministries and industry associations, including a suggestion to open foreign ownership to 33 percent for e-commerce companies with a minimum investment of $15 million. Another suggestion proposed allowing up to 49 percent foreign ownership.