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Interview with Danone AQUA President Director, Charlie Capetti

Bottled water company AQUA was founded in 1973 by the late Tirto Utomo. When Utomo passed away unexpectedly in 1993, his family was faced with a difficult decision regarding the business. They approached the multinational company Danone, who shared the same values and principles, and the merger was born in September 1998. We meet President Director of Danone AQUA, Charlie Capetti, a Dutch national who has been with Danone for 17 years, seven of which have been in Indonesia.

You’ve been with Danone for many years, from Sales Director in the Netherlands to President Director in Indonesia. Tell us what your role at AQUA Danone entails today.

My role in AQUA is to work with my team on the long-term sustainability and short-term ambitions of the company. We set out a vision for this company and work consistently with all people here to deliver that vision. I see it as my job to create conditions for our employees to thrive in AQUA and develop themselves professionally. There is not a single day that is the same.

Has your experience as a Lieutenant in the Royal Dutch Navy in 1990 had any impact on the way that you conduct business today?

After graduating from University I was an Economics teacher at the Royal Dutch Naval College. In those days in the Netherlands it was compulsory to serve your country.  I learned values like discipline, respect and not giving up when you want to achieve something; values I consider relevant for successful leadership.

Your water comes from 13 springs and 18 factories in Indonesia. What makes your water healthy? How is it processed?

We are very picky about the selection of our springs and follow a strict criteria regarding selection. We carry out scientific research looking at mineral content and other compositions that tell us if it meets the AQUA taste profile, which is influenced by the minerals. We look at the amount of water the natural area has without upsetting the water balance. Then we drill and see if we can find the water, and we check to see how much we can take. If the composition is not good, we stop.

We make sure our water is fresh, tasting good, and meeting health standards. We filter it, of course, with a complex filter system, and then apply Ultra Violet light which kills micro bacteria. You cannot drink the water when it’s on the line, but after a few hours it’s ready. The whole process is natural.

We will be opening factory number 19 in April in South Sumatra.

Danone AQUA is a publically-listed company. What are the projections for 2016?

We are the biggest water brand in terms of volume in the world; about ten times the size of Evian.

The growth of our business comes mainly from two factors: growth of the population (1.5 percent per annum) and growth of the middle class. Households will switch from boiling water to safer, packaged water. Moreover, modern trade grew rapidly, particularly in mini-markets which have helped us grow exponentially. Consequently, projected growth in the bottled water industry in Indonesia is around 10-12 percent per annum.

You have approximately 2 million sales points across Indonesia. How is distribution managed?

I think indeed this is one of our key strengths. We use 75 family-owned distributors who have been part of the business since the beginning. We have 220 depots that distribute into wholesalers that then go to the warung and the toko. 85 percent goes through this system, and the rest goes through mini-marts and supermarkets, done through our own distribution centres, of which we have 14 all over Indonesia. How the product flows is an incredible spider web.

We also have a unique distribution method called AQUA Home Service, or ‘AQUA Ladies’, where we currently empower over 7,000 women in Indonesia to sell AQUA from their homes. We select opinion-leaders and help them build a business selling drinking water, mainly by the gallon using delivery boys on motorbikes.

We have an ambition that everywhere in Indonesia you must be able to find AQUA.

Danone AQUA has 12,500 employees in Indonesia. How does your company ensure personal and professional development?

I don’t know where to start! We have very extensive training programmes for all levels, from operators to executives, leadership trainings and very specific functional, technical programmes. We ensure development of our people via four principles: 60 percent is on-the-job training, 10 percent classroom training, 10 percent online/digital training, and 20 percent through networking. As a result, many of our people are typically long-term employees for whom working at AQUA is a career instead of a job.

How do you help those who do not have access or means of accessing clean drinking water?

AQUA is committed to proactively contribute in this field through an ambitious WASH (Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene) programme aiming to improve the health of thousands of families around Indonesia. Water committees are formed and trained to design the facilities, monitor the works, and ensure proper management long-term. Three types of community groups are targeted: villages surrounding AQUA factories, and remote villages in NTT and NTB through our ‘1L for 10L’ initiative. Currently, the WASH programme has provided benefits to more than 130,000 people in 18 districts, and will continue to grow.

What is Danone AQUA doing to reduce its impact on the environment, namely plastic waste, through your CSR project AQUA Lestari? Are there plans to go large-scale in these endeavours?

AQUA-HKVimageOur business model involves plastic, whether we like it or not. There are a lot of things we can do and have been doing. I made sure we stopped the plastic wrapper on the lid and now our bottles are 100 percent recyclable. I see huge opportunities for us to go further. The technology is there.

AQUA developed AQUA PEDULI (Plastics Waste Recycling Programme) in 1993 as a form of social responsibility to manage plastic waste. Since 2010, 600 scavengers from three cities – South Tangerang, Bandung, Denpasar – involved in our Scavengers Empowerment Programme (PEP) have been empowered to improve their quality of life through access to healthcare and increased recycling expertise.

In Tangerang, we collect 80-90 tonnes of plastic per month, which is crushed in machines and mainly exported to China for recycling. Every month this unit makes enough profit to pay the pemulung, cover costs, and make profits. This project is scalable and I’d like to see this replicated in other cities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider bottled water an improved or sustainable solution to water access in Indonesia, and other similar countries. What would you say to this?

As the pioneer of Indonesia’s bottled drinking water industry, AQUA continually sets the benchmark for the application of innovative technologies geared towards improving the production process and products. Packaging remains a challenge for the bottled water business, but somehow the impact on the environment is limited by high recycling rates.

We have four pillars in the AQUA Lestari programme: Environment and Water Protection, Green Company, Product Distribution and Community Involvement and Development. These pillars are realized by implementing various social and environmental programmes ranging from upstream (catchment area), middle (AQUA water source area) to downstream.

Do you think there will be a day when Indonesians will have access to clean and free drinking water? And if so, what will this mean for your industry?

Yes, of course. I come from a country where I can drink water from the tap; it’s a human right. We hope that Indonesians one day will also have that choice. Until then, we consider it our duty to make AQUA available as much as possible to provide as many Indonesians with a healthy hydration option.

What are the principles that Danone AQUA holds dearest to its heart?

At the heart of AQUA’s reason for being is a very simple goal: to make available – to as many people as possible – healthy, clean, and pure drinking water that is full of the natural goodness essential to long-term health. We want to do it in the most sustainable way; making sure that everybody in our ecosystem can benefit from AQUA. We make sure whatever we do, we make others part of our story.


Jakob Friis Sorensen, President Director of Maersk Line Indonesia

Jakob Friis Sorensen, Danish President Director of Maersk Line Indonesia, is also the Chairman of the European Business Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham). I speak to him about the global drop in his industry’s demand as well as Maersk Line’s work in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Jakob, what first got you into the world of logistics and transport organization? What is it about this industry that excites you?

When I was young and out of the army after high school, I got a job painting harvest machines. It was the best paid job I’d had thus far but not very healthy. I was young and wanted to see the world, not standing in a garage somewhere in rural Denmark. Luckily, Danish tradition goes far back when it comes to shipping, so I applied for A.P. Moller Shipping School trainee and got the job.

You’ve been with the Maersk Group since 1989, making you quite the expert in your field. Please tell us how your journey with Maersk began and developed into what it is today.

The Shipping school was classes early morning then office work and classes again in the evening. It was 2-in-1 but promised, after two years, a posting overseas. I was supposed to go to Cairo but then suddenly was changed to Jakarta. I had no clue about Indonesia but soon found myself starting up our logistics activities here, then called Mercantile Cargo Consolidators. I clearly remember how we stuffed the first containers with footwear in Marunda and loaded them in Tanjung Priok, bound for USA.

I spent three years in Indonesia, then moved to another job in Japan. Returned to Denmark in 1995 but then quickly came back to Malaysia where I was involved in establishing Ikea’s first large distribution Centre in Asia. Four years in India really showed me what it takes to get an emerging economy going when it comes to logistics. From 2003-06 I was regionally responsible for Maersk Logistics based in Singapore, before coming “home” to Indonesia — I have been here eight years now and enjoy every moment.

The Steamship Company Svendborg was established in 1904 in Denmark by A.P. Møller and his father Peter Mærsk Møller, which marked the beginning of Maersk’s journey. Could you tell us a bit more about your company’s rich heritage?

The Moller family has been seafarers for generations and Mr. A.P. Moller and his son Maersk McKinney Moller were truly visionaries who saw the opportunities of steamships and later containerization of cargo. Their values and business acumen have built our company up from the ground. As mentioned, shipping is in the blood of the Danes which, like Indonesia, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands and one Peninsula, Jutland, which sits on top of Europe. Trade and commerce have driven our nation, which is otherwise not rich in natural resources, apart from the sea.

Under the Maersk Group there are several subsidiaries, including Maersk Oil, Maersk Line and Damco. Please tell us a bit about your subsidiary groups and what their operations consist of.

In the beginning, the different businesses grew organically all over the world as opportunities arose and entrepreneurial, young Danes were entrusted with great responsibilities in challenging locations. As the business diversified, so did the people and a good example is the in-house people development system where Maersk international Shipping Education produced over 400 graduates from all nationalities every year. The Group has changed a lot, especially after Mr. Maersk Mc Kinney Møllers’ gradual retirement. Today the units are separate, transparent, vertical businesses in a conglomerate structure.

Is Maersk researching or developing projects in renewable energies?

Maersk Oil is in oil and gas but has a strong focus on environment and to get the optimal out of the existing fossil resources. We have been looking into bio fuel and other energy sources for our vessels. In Maersk Line the efforts put into designing our newest vessels (the triple-E series) is unrivalled and brings down the fuel consumption and CO2 pollution by more than 50% .

Maersk Group operates in around 130 countries with a workforce of over 89,000. A.P Møller-Maersk has recently been listed by Forbes as 142nd largest public company in the world. What do you believe is the secret to your company’s growth and success?

Hard work is no secret. I strongly believe that it’s the values of Mr. Møller, especially Constant Care, which keeps every employee on his/her toes and that great and prudent leadership has ensured that we have been able to build the business every year.

Let’s talk about Maersk Line, which you head up here in Indonesia. What is the company’s main focus area at the moment?

The container industry has suffered in the recent years following the Lehman Brothers default. Global demand dropped drastically, especially in the developed countries, so followed the rates down. This left us only with cost and at the moment Maersk Line is focused on simplifying the business and taking non-value adding costs out of the system. This includes leaner processes and also fuel savings and better utilisation of our vessels.

Do you have plans to expand in Indonesia in the future?

Yes, we are monitoring the port developments, both in Jakarta but also Surabaya and elsewhere, which will enable us to upsize our ships. Furthermore, both in Sumatra around Kuala Tanjung and in the Eastern part of Indonesia in Bitung we are looking for ways to support the Indonesian maritime development and improve connectivity.

Let’s talk about your CSR work.  As I understand it, Maersk provide emergency assistance to help those affected by natural disasters, for instance in the Philippines. Could you tell us why this is important to you and what your company does to help around the world?

As a shipping company we have the ability to be mobile and agile, so we found that somewhere there’s always a disaster happening. We helped with relief and reconstruction in Aceh, we have brought goods to people affected by Mt. Sinabung and Mt. Merapi eruptions. We are part of several international organisations for fast logistics response to disasters. Maybe therefore we have had less focus on “softer” CSR programs but as example we participated in Clean Up Jakarta Day in October.

And what about Maersk Line Indonesia’s social and environmental responsibilities within your business processes? Could you share a bit about your current and future plans? 

We certainly have consciousness about our green footprint. Our global footprint is very much around the ships, but on land as well we are concerned with pollution caused by trucks, so we use rail where possible. In Jakarta we are part of the efforts in IPC to make the trucking in and out of the port more efficient, thereby reducing congestion and waste. But also in our offices we are active. Therefore we have installed LED lighting, we recycle paper, etc. It’s about having a mind-set focused on sustainability.

Maersk have a very good branding presence, and many people think ‘Maersk’ when they think of shipping and logistics. Tell us your company’s branding strategy.

As a company we changed quite visibly when Mr. Nils Andersen became CEO. He opened up much more to the press and we have very visible examples of the brand appearing on film like Captain Phillips or Building the Triple E vessels on National Geographic. We are however, business-to-business so we don’t brand ourselves like sportswear or fashion items. But it is all about communication and that’s nice when you have a good and positive story to tell.

The movie ‘Captain Phillips’ was based on the true story of the hijacking of Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean. Do you often have incidents of hijacking on your cargo ships, and where does this happen most? How does Maersk deal with this issue?

Luckily we have seen a dramatic improvement in the number of pirate attacks in Indonesian waters. I would say that today this is not a problem, however we do experience theft and pilferage, so safety and security remain an area of high priority and we work a lot with preventive actions.

What traits does Indonesia have that are interesting for entrepreneurs and business owners?

With 17,000 islands and being an archipelago, 250 million people, natural resources, friendly climate, Indonesia has unlimited opportunities. We can all see what the shortcomings are, so for me the challenge is always to answer; HOW do we make changes? There a plenty of solutions available and what motivates both foreign and Indonesian entrepreneurs is to see the progress and improvements which affect so many people here.

EuroCham aims to facilitate trade and investment between Europe and Indonesia. As the Chairman, how do you encourage links and growth within this relationship?

We always seek to have a dialogue with all the stake holders; as I mentioned above, for every challenge Indonesia face we also have solutions in Europe, so I feel there is a perfect match and complementarity. The obstacles are often political or simply bureaucracy, and again, the only way we get those cleared is through dialogue.

Do you also work towards making the business processes easier for European companies in Indonesia, for instance with rules and regulations when starting a business?

Exactly. We think there is so much to gain for Indonesia if it is made easier for European companies, also SMEs to do business here. It’s about solving problems and expanding the cake — not stealing. And it is also a two-way stream; Indonesian goods and companies are welcome in Europe but that is a very competitive market where players need to have a high quality of goods and services. So those require a lot of efforts in a business plan that includes market research, distribution and marketing in Europe. Indonesian companies also need good partners in Europe.

Jakob, what about your own personal successes — what key traits do you always strive towards that you believe are pivotal for success in business?

I thrive when working with people, connecting people and seeing the positive story of change. It’s hard to change if you can’t see the better future so again, I like to communicate with people and convince them to embrace it and make a better tomorrow. I don’t dream about money, but the reward for me is to see the results and having fun; and as I get older it becomes more and more exciting to help young people to develop. I spend a lot of time spotting and coaching talent in our organisation and outside. The best success is when taking a chance on some young person and letting them learn and get out on top. As one of my old friends once told me, a day long ago, somebody took a chance on us. Giving back is to support young talent develop.

Maersk Line, Platinum Sponsors of Clean Up Jakarta Day 2014
Maersk Line, Platinum Sponsors of Clean Up Jakarta Day 2014

Maersk Line was the main sponsor of Clean Up Jakarta Day 2015, helping to raise awareness of the rubbish problem in Jakarta. For more information please visit www.maerskline.com

Born to Ride: PT GOJEK Indonesia

Michaelangelo Moran by Michael Timothy
Michaelangelo Moran by Michael Timothy

GO-JEK, the army of green-helmeted motorbike taxis that has taken over the streets of Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Bali, provides fast transportation and delivery services via mobile application. Their core values of speed, innovation and social impact have led to the company’s huge success. We meet Co-Founder and Brand Manager Michaelangelo Moran to find out more about this social enterprise that everyone is raving about. 

Let’s start with the fact that GO-JEK is a social enterprise and not a business – can you please explain this to us in more detail?

One of GO-JEK’s goals as a business is to improve the livelihood of our drivers by earning more income. As GO-JEK is essentially making that happen, there is a big social impact from the business, which has transformed GO-JEK into a social enterprise.

GO-JEK was established in 2010, however it is this year that Jakartans have really become aware of your brand. What contributed towards this giant leap? 

Firstly, when we started the app six months ago, there was nothing like it in the market, which meant no competition. Secondly, the app works, and seeing as Indonesia’s smartphone penetration is far better than it was five years ago, the app is a major contribution to the success of GO-JEK today. It is user friendly; you can book a GO-JEK much faster than having a call centre; you can use GO-JEK credit to pay, making it cashless; you can see whom your driver is, track your driver and SMS or call him during your order.

When we launched the GO-JEK app, we had a system whereby people were given a referral code to give Rp.50,000 to others to try GO-JEK for free for the first time. This system blew up on social media and people were spreading their codes like wildfire. Once they tried it, they were hooked.

With now over 10,000 drivers, GO-JEK drivers are visible everywhere in Jakarta. With this, people become curious to try out the service.

Michaelangelo Moran and some of his drivers. Photo by Michael Timothy
Michaelangelo Moran and some of his drivers. Photo by Michael Timothy

As the founder, can you share with us the story that led to the birth of GO-JEK?

It started four years ago with our CEO Nadiem Makarim and me. Nadiem was studying in Harvard Business School and I was studying in the Academy of Art University. He hates traffic and therefore uses ojeks all the time and started building relationships with his drivers, asking them to do things like delivering items and doing his shopping. He took one of his drivers out for coffee and asked him how the ojek system works and found out that they are territorial; if they pick up a passenger from Sudirman to Kemang, they cannot pick up another passenger from Kemang – they have to go back to their pangkalan (base) in Sudirman. Secondly, there is a big queueing system; if they return to their pangkalan in Sudirman and there are 20 drivers there, they cannot pick up a passenger until all 20 drivers have picked up a customer. It’s an inefficient system.

We interviewed many drivers and asked what they’d think if we made a system whereby we give them customers and split the commission. They asked us if they could pick up passengers on their own, which we explained would mean no split of commission. GO-JEK was born.

We started recruiting drivers and building the GO-JEK system with the idea of three services – transport, courier and shopping. Fast-forward four years, from 200 drivers we are now 15,000 and have a mobile app that is number one on the Google Play and iOS stores in Indonesia.

Can you tell us how your fees to the customer are calculated?

For the usual pricing, we start with Rp.25,000 for the first 5km and it goes up on average Rp.4,000 per km after. However, right now we have a promo for Rp.10,000 for all services up to 25km (not including shopping and food costs).

One thing that makes GO-JEK really special is your pick-up and delivery service of food and beverages, GO-FOOD, with a delivery charge of Rp.10,000 at over 20,000 restaurants. What do you aim to achieve in the F&B industry by way of providing this service?

With the biggest organised motorcycle fleet in Indonesia, we want to create the fastest and most efficient F&B delivery service. To make it easier for our customers, we wanted to have a portal for menus for all kinds of restaurants from roadside warung to fine-dining restaurants, all deliverable in the GO-JEK fashion – fast and easy. We want to become the leader in this space, providing easy access to food delivery for office workers and residences, with a social impact by improving revenue streams for all restaurants in Indonesia. GO-FOOD is now present in Jakarta, Bali and Bandung and will soon be expanding nationwide.

How many GO-JEK drivers do you have on board now and can you share with us the benefits they receive when joining?

We have about 15,000 drivers onboard right now nationwide. Some of the benefits include accident coverage, medical clinic for drivers and opt-in affordable health insurance for their entire families.

We also do driver safety training with Rifat Driver Lab, training about 300 drivers per week, ranging from classroom learning, basic, intermediate, advanced and pro with a focus on how to create a culture of safety in driving, and eco-driving. All drivers are offered this, and we pay for one full day’s training. Drivers that have been through this training receive safety accreditation. We have also other programmes aiming to improve the livelihood of drivers and their activities while operating in GO-JEK.

There have been stories in the media recently of some of your drivers being threatened by non-affiliated ojek drivers. Can you tell us how you have been tackling this problem and protect your drivers?

To protect our drivers, we now have a third-party security taskforce that provides fast emergency response in situations that involve threats and intimidation. Our supervisors are also out in the field reaching out to and mediating with problem areas – this has proven to be a highly successful initiative to help ojek drivers see us as a means to achieving higher productivity and boost recruitment.

What do your drivers earn on average, and can you tell us about your bonus scheme?

Our drivers on average earn upwards of Rp.4 million a month, but a large percentage of them earn more than 6 million. For highly productive drivers that are able to achieve 10 trips in a day, we incentivise them with a bonus of Rp.50,000.

This year we have also witnessed the birth of your competitor, GrabBike, with branding that is quite similar to yours. How do you feel about your competitors?

Being the first mover, there was no doubt that competition would follow. After all, imitation is a form of flattery. There are quite a few local competitors: Taxi Jek, GO GO Jek, Antar Barang, and many others that have not entered the mobile app space, which we do not fear. GrabBike seems to be the one gaining presence in Jakarta. We feel that GO-JEK – given our national presence and vertical integration – is ahead of the competition. Given our wide fan base, we need to continue to provide superior service to beat well-funded competitors like GrabBike.

With the traffic in Jakarta only getting worse, what do you see as the long-term solution? What role will GO-JEK play in this?

Perhaps an incentive to use public transportation along with subsidised GO-JEK rides might be the way to go. Alternatively, fees could be introduced for major roads like Sudirman and Rasuna Said, like they do in Singapore. The infrastructure being built in Jakarta is already worsening traffic in areas like Wolter Monginsidi, Tendean, Pakubuwono and many others, not to mention the MRT building around Sudirman. GO-JEK’s role would be to provide a feeder system to these station points. Jakarta residents need to have access to the stations in order to use public transport and GO-JEK is the solution to that problem.

To get in touch with Michaelangelo Moran, please e-mail: m.moran@go-jek.com

First published in Indonesia Expat August 2015

Mario Gaw, General Manager of Rumah123.com

Mario Gaw

Mario, firstly congratulations on your new title of General Manager of Rumah123.com, which you started in January this year. You are effectively the most senior person running the operations of Rumah123.com. What are your main responsibilities and how large a team do you manage?
Thanks, Angela! My main responsibilities are to lead, manage and represent the Indonesia business incorporating rumah123.com and rumahdanproperti.com teams to achieve business goals, objectives and financial and non-financial KPIs. The current team in Indonesia is about 80-85 people and we are growing. I am very excited to be part of this growth!

How has the transition from VP of Pricing & Production at Lazada Indonesia to GM of Rumah123.com been, going from managing an e-commerce site to online property?
The transition has been interesting from day one. Despite the same nature of being online businesses, both run completely different business models. In a way, the online property classifieds business is a simpler model, without the need to deal with physical inventory, logistics, etc., but nonetheless, it has been nothing short of challenges that are both exciting and fulfilling! There are lots of new things to learn especially about the industry, market, and its specific customers among other things.

Can you please tell us a little bit about Rumah123.com and the iProperty Group?
Rumah123.com was established in Jakarta in January 2007 with about 30 employees. The company was then owned by Saratoga Capital, which is controlled by Edwin Soeryadjaya and Sandiaga Uno. In 2011, the iProperty Group, an ASX-listed company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that owns leading online property portal websites in Asia, acquired Rumah123.com after identifying Indonesia as a natural growth market for its business. Since the iProperty Group acquired Rumah123.com, it has become home to the largest number of property listings and property agents in Indonesia with numbers far exceeding its competitors.

The company continues to see significant growth in all key metrics, a clear indication that Rumah123.com is continuing to meet the needs of both its consumers and customers. We provide consumers with the most comprehensive and up-to-date property related news and the best property search experience. We are also committed in being the partner of choice for our customers by working together with them to grow their business.

To date, Rumah123.com has more than 247,000 listings and over 8,000 property agents. On a monthly basis, there are over 1.8 million visitors that turn to Rumah123.com to search for their dream home or next property investment, which in turn results in the portal delivering more than 485,000 leads to its agents.

What motivated you to take on the position of GM of Rumah123.com? What is your ultimate goal in this position?
I was approached by the iProperty Group to discuss a possible role which I could play in theirRumah123.com business in order to take it to the next level. They have clearly determined that Indonesia was an important market for them and that a local General Manager was a key part of their strategy in order to take the business further.

It was important for them to find the right candidate. Their seriousness was shown through my recruitment process where I not only met Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of iProperty Group, but also Patrick Grove, Chairman of iProperty Group & CEO of the Catcha Group. I was impressed by them and was motivated to take on this new, big and exciting challenge of pushing the business forward and making a significant impact on how Indonesians search for the right properties for them to own, live in or invest.

My ultimate goal as General Manager of Rumah123.com is to ensure that Rumah123.com continues to be the leader in its market by providing the best property hunting experience possible. At the same time, to become the best qualified leads generation tool for customers and partners.

What challenges do you and have you faced in the online industry in Indonesia? What are your thoughts in internet connection speeds in relation to their prices? How and when will this improve?
Although the online industry has seen tremendous growth in the past few years, fuelled by the ever-increasing internet penetration in Indonesia, it is still early and young. There is still a lot of work to be done in improving internet accessibility, speed, costs and education. Internet speed compared to its costs is still quite low but on the bright side, improvements are definitely coming.

We recently saw the launch of a new special mobile device named Bolt offering 4G mobile internet service in Indonesia and First Media, a local ISP, quietly rolled out its 4G internet speed service offering up to 100 Mbps starting in Jakarta last month. I am confident and hopeful that it will continue to improve even faster as consumer demands for better services grows.

Let’s talk business. How much is the website Rumah123.com worth? What are your projections for 2014?
As rumah123.com operates under the iProperty Group, the company recently released its 4C statement, reporting growth in cash collections driving a net operating cash flow result of A$0.16 m for the quarter. Cash receipts from operating activities for the period amounted to A$5.4 m, an increase of 31% from the corresponding period in 2012.

We have big plans for 2014. We are geared for a fantastic growth and I am confident that our talented team will continue to break new grounds. We will continue to focus on providing innovative advertising solutions to property developers and property agents. It is also our commitment to provide consumers searching for property with the best possible user experience, driven by innovation with a ‘mobile first’ focus.

What is your business model – where is the bulk of revenue generated?
Our business model is primarily based in paid advertising. We consider ourselves an online media company and we generate our revenues from listing fees, premium listings, online banners and marketing solutions, and other secondary products such as property expos and print media.

How do you gather all the information to populate your website? How many property agents do you work with? Do you work with private owners too?
We have sales teams that focus on working with property agents and property developers on getting their listings or offerings online as quickly as possible. We have more than 8,000 property agents actively listing on our site. Yes, private owners are also welcomed on our site.

Back to more personal questions, you studied Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in Canada and lived in Canada for nearly 10 years. What was the deciding factor to return to Indonesia?
Vancouver, BC, is a very beautiful city and place to live in. It was very hard for me and my wife to leave behind. However, I was determined to return to Indonesia for two primary reasons. First was to be closer to parts of my family still residing in Indonesia. Second was that I was reading a lot of news on how Asia and especially Indonesia and other countries in the Southeast Asia region was experiencing strong economic growth in recent years. Being Indonesian myself, I was curious enough about it and was willing to move back and try to find opportunities where I would be able to use what I’ve learned overseas to benefit the Indonesian economy and people.

You are concerned about social issues such as poverty and disaster relief. What social projects are you involved in and do you think it’s important to get involved with charity work?
Absolutely. I believe we should all try to do our part in giving back to our community and to those who need help. I personally do not think I have done enough on any specific social issues, however I have always been interested in various initiatives related to building schools and/or churches to remote parts of Indonesia. Helping kids attain proper education would equip them with the right tools to be able to lift themselves and family out of poverty in the future.

What motivates you to go to work every morning?
There are many things that motivate me to go to work every morning, but if I had to narrow it to just one thing, it would be family. When I was growing up, I was constantly reminded by my parents to make them really proud one day. Even though I knew that my mum was already proud of me as I went to college, eventually graduated and received my first pay cheque from my first job, my dad did not have the opportunity to see any of it. He had passed away when I was 14 years old due to health reasons.

Since then, I have made it my personal goal to work hard and give my best in everything that I do. I want to see where life takes me by constantly challenging and improving myself. Nowadays, my lovely supportive wife is another source of motivation of mine.

First published in Indonesia Expat in February 2014