How Dirty Is Doing Business In Indonesia?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Daniel50, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. Daniel50

    Daniel50 Active Member

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    How difficult is it to do business in Indonesia (Jakarta anyways)? I have heard all people want money, some want money and women and the real dirty ones want money, women and drugs?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  2. Anglian

    Anglian Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    If you Wikipedia " A list of defunct airlines in Indonesia" log on to Adam Air, will give you a good taste of management practices, my own experience relates to Garuda, I worked as a rep for UK leasing company which had an engine in Garuda engine shop storage, also all the engine records were held by Garuda, when I went to collect the docs and review the engine I found I wasn't allowed the Docs, it appears they were being held unofficially, and someone was paying someone a backhander to look after the docs, once he paid up I could collect the docs, regarding the engine Garuda didn't officially know they had the engine in storage and the manager was taking a back hander to store the engine, I did a bit of investigating and found the U.K. Company I worked for had on their books an Indonesian who had previously worked as a manager for Adam Air, he had arranged all these back handed deals, it's quite amazing some of the fiddles I have come across being working here
     
  3. jstar

    jstar Mr. 10,000

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    Coming from a country where many people reside who think it should be easy to do business here because of their ancestry and skin color, I have seen not ten but probably twenty cases where they went flat on their face. Surprisingly, locals (and even family) were not so kind-hearted and benign in the business deals they threw themselves in. Many are back in their home country. With a hangover.
     
  4. centurion

    centurion Member

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    Depend on the business you do and with whom you deal with.

    Common people are OK. The more they are rich the worse they are. Indonesian rich businessmen, natives, and non-natives are ruthless.

    Mining is on the top of the corruption-everybody is asking money but if you are smart you can optimize to an extent that is manageable.

    If you do pure retail online business usually nobody can squeeze you.

    In Jakarta, a lot is done to stop the petty corruption from city officials for various permits-almost non-existent now at least for regular permits-domiciles, SIUP/TDP, NPWPs, recommendations. The Same situation is in ministries, they will look opportunity only if you are in problem and need "help", not for regular stuff.
    The must is to know applicable laws & bylaws to know your rights.

    A loot depends on your attitude if you look inexperienced and naive somebody will take advantage of you.
     
  5. Vanuatu

    Vanuatu Member Charter Member Cager

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    I have had 4 personal friends thrown in jail and deported by their Indonesian partners some of whom had been best of friends and business partners for years. As soon as something goes wrong or their is a dispute all goes to hell. In cases that in western countries there maybe a civil dispute over ownership / rights, in Indonesia it is often a criminal case and the expat will most likely come out on the short end of the stick. Two of my friends were multi millionaires with 20+ years in the country, but they both had partners who were among the countries elite and they stood no chance when things got ugly. When I had my own business in Jakarta I walked away from thousands of dollars owed to me on several occasions, as even though I was sure I was 100% in the right, there was no use fighting the people who I was dealing with. I have never had to deal with anyone wanting women or drugs, but several who were more than happy to go against the signed contract with details of money owed by offering a lessor amount and saying "take it or leave it"
     
  6. Daniel50

    Daniel50 Active Member

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    Even something as simple as buying land here can go sideways, depending on who else may develop an interest, or who else may be involved. If you buy in a compound with a developer it is safe but outside of this I have heard stories where people walk away because of who is behind wanting the land etc etc etc..
     
  7. Anglian

    Anglian Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    When I first came here, our boss was looking for a big house to put us all in, he found one with a pool and all amenities, sadly it transpired the gentleman who offered it for rent didn't own the house, so negotiations ceased, lucky escape
     
  8. Daniel50

    Daniel50 Active Member

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    Apparently Jokowi is disappointed as Saudi Arabia plans on investing 10 x's more in China then in Indonesia. Apparently religion only runs so deep. Corruption is so ingrained in the culture here and it appears the will to fight it is minimal. I really hope Indonesia can progress but I really have my doubts. There are so many people benefiting from corruption here.
     
  9. Anglian

    Anglian Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    I don't know all the details but I believe Rothchilds experience in the coal business with Bakerie didn't end well, if you can rip someone like Rothchilds off, no point in doing business here
     
  10. fastpitch17

    fastpitch17 Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    I have people ask quite often what business I am in. I always reply that I am retired. The next question by quite a few is, would be you interested in investing in or opening a really good business with them or a good friend of theirs? I immediately tell them I am poor and any money I have is tied up in the US so I am unable to do so. Not that that stops them. I have found a few times that investment means you supply all the funds, they open it and everything is in their name. Sometimes I wonder if I have a "stupid" sign hanging around my neck or something?

    I would be really careful if I were to ever buy any property here. It is common for someone to set up a property deal and later you find out that that person didn't actually own the property but plans to buy it after he raises enough money. Getting your deposit back is next to impossible when you say you don't want to be involved with that without strong arm threat. That contract it is all on means nothing to the police or government. It only means something to off duty police and TNI who want to make some extra money.
     
  11. dafluff

    dafluff
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    The biggest rule of business that I ascribe to in Indonesia is to remain anonymous. Nothing flashy, nothing that will attract government types, nothing that requires extra licensing. And never do business with the government. Double that caution if the government entity is even remotely connected to the police or armed forces.
     
  12. Bad_azz

    Bad_azz Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    I have found the corruption side of things minimal in my business dealings here.
    I have found the cancellations & no shows to be the biggest pain in the arse, so I have measures in place to counter them - pay a DP & lose it if there is under 24 hours cancellation notice.
    I would rather lose the customer who thinks that is unreasonable than plough on & have to work with them.

    Re centurion's comment "Common people are OK. The more they are rich the worse they are. Indonesian rich businessmen, natives, and non-natives are ruthless."

    To be honest I work with some obscenely rich people & they don't bat an eyelid at paying the DP , nor care if they cancel & lose the cash- in fact I have found them to be totally contrite at cancelling- last time I got cancelled was 'cos the customer was hanging out with "RI 1" & couldn't really ditch him for me (I didn't complain, said person has paid me a month in advance- 8 times more than the DP).

    In my experience : the middle "class/income?" people tend to be the assoholes- the ones who think they are rich because they rent a flash house & have a big car or 3. They are the ones with the cheesy attitude... but even then I haven't really come across that many of them either. Maybe I am no longer a BS magnet?

    So I guess it comes down to what sort of business you are doing & the circles you mix in & how you deal with people.


    Don't get me wrong I am quite aware of the corruption that goes on (more so than many due to the time I have spent visiting the prison), however I tend to deal with people on my terms or walk away- even if it means losing a juicy contract.
     
  13. atlantis

    atlantis
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    Here! Here!
    The few rules I have followed here are, with no surprise, similar to yours albeit with a few variations:


    • Do only business that you can control YOURSELF from A to Z. Basically, it means that you should stick to small or mid size business. Still, a lot of money can be made, more than enough to live very comfortably in Indonesia. The most important thing is how manageable is your business, way before how much the turnover is.
    • Keep a low profile whatever you do, whatever you make. No flashy office, warehouse, business name, vehicles. Never allow unauthorized people in your premises. Remain discreet on what you are doing, who your clients are, who your suppliers are, the number of employees you have...etc. Don't give unnecessary information about the company to your staff if you believe they don't need it. Only minimal controlled advertisement of your activities. Stay humble, do your money, take it and most importantly, shut up about it.
    • If you think that one person is needed to do the job, hire a minimum of two to do it and make sure that you yourself can do said job. More often than you think your two guys won't show up to work in the same time. I have done business for 15 years here and this rule has been verified so many times that I've lost the count.
    • Never, ever, for any reason and even if you think it is easy money, do business/involve in your business/talk about business with any chap in uniform marked POLRI or TNI. You will be screwed. Badly. Only fools believe that Police/Army Officers are here to Protect and Serve and would make ideal business partners.
    • Never, ever think that your alleged connection would be of help to take you out from a difficult situation at no cost. In most case it's wrong. If you think you can't get out of trouble by yourself from a situation which may arise, run!
    • If you do business with the government, forget the idea that you can win a tender without getting your hands dirty. I mean, real dirty. If you think otherwise, think twice. Been there, done that.
    • Take with a truck of salt resume, letter of reference, professional experience, title and diplomas. Many are certainly genuine, held by highly qualified people who have worked hard to get them, but about as many are total jokes.
    • Learn the language, understand the Culture and realize that you won't change it. You are not here for that anyway. The management methods which may work in your native country may not work here and may lead you to a severe depression and a lot of discouragement and disappointment if you refuse to/can't adapt.
    • If you believe that everything is sh1t here, don't even think of doing business in Indonesia. You couldn't start more wrongly.

    I love doing business here to be honest. Where I live doing business is definitely an adventure. Many times, when alone in my office in the evening, I think about my day and laugh about situation which have arisen and were totally unexpected and often hilarious if seen through the lens of my native Culture.
     
  14. godmachine12

    godmachine12 Member Charter Member Cager

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    Ought to be required reading that post. Spot on.
     
  15. godmachine12

    godmachine12 Member Charter Member Cager

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    This happened to me not so long ago. A great business idea arose where I supplied all the capital, put everything in someone else's name, all his family and mates came to work and everything would be great. Just when you think you've heard the dumbest shit ever, you hear something even better. :-D
     
  16. Bad_azz

    Bad_azz Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    Banks do it globally, so I guess it isn't the stupidest business idea.... as long as one can collect on the repayments ... here that tends to be by sending the heavies in afaik
     
  17. Anglian

    Anglian Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    I knew a chap who had a partnership with an Indonesian ,he had actually paid for everything, it was a an aircraft wheel and brake shop and brake shop, it was based in Surabya, he decided to move it to Jakarta, when he went to move it the police stopped him saying it wasn't his, he realized he had lost it, some months later a man turned up with aircraft wheels and brakes to sell, he realized it was his old stock, the chap who had stolen his firm had gone bankrupt as he had no business, and was trying to sell him his his stock he had lost, needless to say he didn't buy.

    Another case of corruption, I was offered a complete B737 main and nose landing gear, not very expensive, but no records, so to me totally useless without history, transpired they were from the Silk Air aircraft that had crashed, the offer was someone from the DGAC, it was done over the phone so I never met or knew who the seller was
     
  18. macvert

    macvert Active Member Cager

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    I think I've got one of those signs around my neck too.
    I was checking the surf the other day & saw this Indo dude wandering around the cow paddock on the headland. He walked up to me, opened his hand & asked me if I wanted to buy about 5 of the most pathetic little magic mushrooms I've ever seen in my life for rp100,000, I laughed & said I could pick my own if I wanted.
    Anyway the conversation went on & he told me he was picking mushrooms to get money to put fuel in his bike & he was married to an Australian woman from Adelaide.. He then asked me if I wanted to open a restaurant with him …. fair dinkum, I thought “yeah mate what a great idea, I've known you 5 minutes, you can't afford to put fuel in your bike although you're apparently married to an Australian woman & you just look like the type I wouldn't trust as far as I could kickâ€.
    Once he realised I wasn't going to go into business with him he asked me if I wanted to go to the warung at the beach & get a drink, I wondered who would be paying & declined his offer. .
     
  19. Nimbus

    Nimbus Active Member Charter Member Cager

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    My mom used to flip property as a side job, and she learned that no money can change hand without the seller showing the actual sertipikat. Everybody and their brother can claim they own the property, only the legal owner has the title.

    Unless you have access to people who can and will literally kick asses for you, a lot of contracts are not worth the paper they are written on. Finding a trustworthy business partner is very hard, including among relatives.
     
  20. fastpitch17

    fastpitch17 Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    I remember when I sent my wife to Lampung to find and rent a house for us. It just amaises me the people trying to rent houses that were not the owners. I understand a family member or someone could be helping out someone who is living in another place due to work or something but some you just have to scratch your head over. Payment and then will deliver the contract. A big drop in price from what they are asking and will give you the keys.

    There are also the ones who want to sub contract. 10 months left, pay what I probably paid for 12 months, no, the owner is not available but it's OK I sub let, oh, you want the owners contact information, I will have to send that to you. And never hear back.

    If the actual owner of the property isn't in the picture, we stayed away from it. If it was an agent for the owner, prices seem to jump way up. We rented a bigger house next door to a smaller house an agent was handling for 40% less. The agent seen what they thought was that stupid sign and we seen the screw the Bule greed sign they were openly wearing.
     
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