What is the best business in indonesia

Business etiquette in Indonesia: friendship first, then business

| Intercultural

Indonesia is considered one the Growth markets par excellence; According to a BBC survey of 24,000 people in 24 countries, Indonesia was named the best location for business start-ups - ahead of the USA, Canada and Australia. This is increasingly recognized by German medium-sized companies, which have a good chance of establishing themselves on the Indonesian market with around 240 million potential consumers (and GDP growth of six percent this year). The reason: German expertise and German engineering are in great demand. For example, there is a great need for devices, plants and systems in safety engineering.

"Rubber time" extends processes

Since their good reputation precedes them, German business travelers are welcomed with open arms and with the smile typical of Indonesians. However, this openness should not be misleading, because the road to success tends to be rocky. A particularly big hurdle is the residents' sense of time. What the Indians call “Indian stretching time” is called “Jam karet” in Indonesia, which freely translated means “rubber time”. And rubber is a stretchy material. Indonesians do not attach great importance to punctuality - on the contrary: Anyone who, for example, appears as a guest on the minute at the agreed time is considered impolite. It is even more impolite to lose patience - for example when business partners do not get to the point quickly enough by European standards. While European culture is very factual, for Indonesians the person or the collective comes first. For everyday business, this means that, based on the motto "First friendship, then business", the establishment of relationships precedes the business details. This can make negotiations tough, but those who push for quick decisions will quickly lose out. For example, one should never insist on signing a contract too early - this is interpreted as a lack of trust, which, however, is the basis of all contracts and collaborations.

Guidelines instead of obligations

In any case, a harmonious coexistence is very important. This often has an impact on the contract design, as the credit insurer Atradius knows from experience. In its 10-point plan for building a business in Indonesia, the company recommends that contractual provisions be formulated as if they were guidelines rather than a list of obligations. In the event that payment problems should arise, Atradius advises affected companies to come to an amicable agreement instead of taking drastic measures. Otherwise, a medium to long-term business partnership is massively jeopardized.

Initiative, constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement are very unusual for Indonesian employees. Responsibility is often delegated to superiors. It is accordingly unlikely that problems will be identified directly. When grievances come to light, it is usually too late to rectify them. European managers should therefore pay particular attention to difficulties encountered in projects.

As in most Asian cultures, Indonesians attach great importance to hierarchies. For business travelers, this means adhering to hierarchies, for example when greeting and negotiating. The title on business cards helps to better assess the position and thus the status of the person you are talking to. Women still play a comparatively minor role on the island archipelago and are not welcomed first. In the case of private invitations, it is often common for only men and guests to be entertained and women to eat at a separate table with the children.

Although more than 80 percent of Indonesia's population are Muslims, Islam is not the state religion. The people live what is known as Sunni Islam, which is characterized by great tolerance. Women should still cover their shoulders and knees in public. In business life, western clothing - suit and tie for men and suit or trouser suit for women - is the order of the day.

Brief business etiquette in Indonesia

  • punctuality is considered impolite, especially for private invitations
  • Who himself loud articulated, is considered aggressive. You should therefore also hold back on the pitch.
  • The greeting is done with the right hand, but this is only shaken gently, never vigorously. The left hand is considered unclean.
  • When entering religious sites and private homes, the Shoes be pulled out.
  • Party favors from Germany (such as marzipan, chocolate or gummy bears) are valued, restraint is advised when it comes to alcohol.
  • Typical conversation topics are religion and family. Those who do not belong to any religion and / or have no children can expect unbelieving comments.
  • Never embarrass the other person. Even with Indonesians it is Loss of face sometimes the rudest thing you can do to others.

Reading tip:

Doris Gutting: Management in Southeast Asia: Economy, Society, Culture in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. NWB Verlag, ISBN: 978-3-47064811-8; 27.90 euros

More on the subject:

Indonesia with a record number of visitors

Exports to Indonesia: Ten Point Plan

Indonesia buys modern security technology abroad

Photo: © Kzenon - Fotolia.com

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