Consumer Companies Invest in Indonesia

indonesiaIndonesia has become quite the hub for consumer firms. As the region becomes increasingly middle class (closet to 250m of its residents are in that category), the high-tech buzz around Indonesia seems to have caught on to a whole slew of e-commerce startups.

One such company that clearly finds Indonesia an attractive region is SoftBank and thus it recently invested $100m in Tokopedia – the online venue for Indonesian citizens and companies to open and maintain their online stores for free.

So apart from the increase in the middle class population in Indonesia, what is making the region so attractive to foreign investors? A change in the law could be one factor. Until April 2014, many businesses were closed to foreign investments, with others posting incredibly high restrictions. Since then however, the Negative Investment List came into effect, changing this. Perhaps this was why the country’s GDP expanded by 5.12 percent between April and June. And with this change, businesses saw a change in attitude from the region’s government that has since then been seeking to develop a far more open economy.

Added to that factor is the Asean Economic Community that is due to come into play at the end of next year.

First Asia Capital analyst David Nathanael Sutyanto, recently said that due to the sharp increase in subsidized oil fuel price, there has been a review of Indonesia’s fundamentals. While eventually this will result in an improvement of Indonesian economic fundamentals, there still needs to be government anticipation of the potential short-term negative impacts.

Yahoo In Talks to Sell Asian Shares

Yahoo, a major U.S.-based internet company, may sell a significant amount of its Asian investments. According to inside sources, the plan can put $17 billion on the holdings, putting the value of the Asian stakes at more than the entire company’s worth as of September.

The transaction will be discussed at a board meeting later today, as part of an intensive review of the company following the departure of former chief executive Carol Bartz.

One source, who is directly involved in discussions, has revealed that valuations are still unclear, and that so far offers have fallen short of $17 billion. Another source added that whether Yahoo executives choose this option or not, the deal will take at least three weeks to close.

Reports have stated that Yahoo’s primary negotiations are related to stakes in Yahoo Japan, as well as Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce group. Yahoo’s partners in Asia, Alibaba and Softbank, made the initial offer to buy back the 40% stake in Alibab and the 35% in Yahoo Japan this past October. Today’s discussions will focus on Yahoo keeping a 15% share in Alibaba for future gains in China, with all remaining holdings to be sold.