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Top Three Strategic Sectors for Investors to Watch in 2023

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Top Three Strategic Sectors for Investors to Watch in 2023. Image by PIRO from Pixabay

The former Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, and arguably the father of modern science, Francis Bacon, died in 1626 and one of his most famous quotes, “knowledge is power,” is still widely used today.

Fast forward to 2023. Motivational speaker and minister, Eric Thomas, argues knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power meaning it’s all about how you act or apply the knowledge that you gain.

At Seven Stones Indonesia, we advise our clients that the best way to do business in Indonesia legally; from property acquisitions to going public on the stock exchange and being the next big unicorn. Regulations can and do, change, as we’ve recently seen with the Omnibus Laws and the passing of the new Criminal Code. That’s why we spend time and energy researching and sharing content we think will help, not only on our own company website but also through the platforms we’ve recently acquired at Invest Indonesia and Bali Expat.

We believe Indonesia is getting easier for foreign investors; systems are more transparent; procedures have been improved; and the time things take, arguably the most important aspect for any business owner, has been greatly reduced. We are here to encourage you to invest in Indonesia and guide you through the process of doing so. And with that in mind, we’d like to start 2023 with the top three areas we think are worth learning more about if you’re a savvy investor.

Number One: Renewable Energy and Electric Vehicles

The buzz around clean energy and electric vehicles (EV’s) is changing the world as we know it and Indonesia has made some pretty serious commitments to the cause. The government is looking to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 41 percent, offering some exciting opportunities for businesses specialising in clean energy. Climate investment funds, such as the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) have US$400 million available to assist initiatives in this sector, particularly in the geothermal space, according to Tetra Consultants.

Mordor Intelligence research papers suggest that Indonesia currently has around 13 percent of its power generated from renewable energy resources, mainly hydroelectric and geothermal power, but the target is to get to 23 percent by 2025 with 31 percent of the country’s total electricity generated from renewables by 2050.

Reuters recently reported that Indonesia may allocate Rp5 trillion, that’s approximately US$320 million, from 2023’s budget to incentivise electric vehicle purchases, with special attention going to those vehicles manufactured domestically.

A number of foreign vehicle manufactures already have a significant presence in Indonesia including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, General Motors, and Wuling. There have also been high-level overtures towards Tesla to produce not just EV batteries but also electric cars in Indonesia.

We recently posted an article from Antara News on our Invest Indonesia website saying that Bahlil Lahadalia, Investment Minister and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is in talks with automotive companies and manufacturers to participate in building an electric vehicle battery ecosystem in Indonesia including LG, CATL, Foxconn, British Volt, Ford, BASF, and Volkswagen.

Number Two: Health Care and Medical Tourism

Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin Stratcited in a report published by Vietnam Plus in August 2022, that his ministry will set aside a budget of Rp88.5 trillion, approximately US$5.96 billion, for Indonesia’s health transformation in 2023. Big numbers for sure, but the bigger question is will Indonesia allow foreign doctors to work here, which would clearly be a game changer?

In a November 2022 report, Tempo suggests the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) shouldn’t be concerned about opening the doors to foreign doctors (which they are apparently) as it would not only improve public health services but could also bring about advances in the domestic medical sector.

This concern from the IDI is somewhat of a moot point because Indonesia has already signed a multilateral treaty with the Asian Economic Community, which allows for the entry of goods and services from 2025, and that includes doctors. Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, also appears optimistic about the idea of developing Indonesia’s health and wellness sector, saying that “there are plans to cooperate with international institutions from several countries, including the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University to provide the best health tourism destinations, both for Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals who are on vacation in Indonesia.”

The IDI and politics aside, Bloomberg ran a story in November about how Sanur could put Bali on the map for medical tourism, with the development already taking place of a large medical facility on the 41-hectare grounds of the old Grand Bali Beach/ Hotel Indonesia, which will become a health Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the first of its kind in Indonesia.

A big driver here is the fact that Bloomberg suggests around two million Indonesians travel to countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and the U.S. for medical treatment, which translates to Rp97 trillion, approximately US$6.2 billion leaving Indonesia with outbound medical tourism each year. That’s a big market to tap into with the right kinds of products and services.

Traditional health services are also being developed along with encouraging MSMEs to be involved with the production of medical devices as more than 90 percent of them are currently imported.

And from the sidelines of the recent G20 Summit held in Bali in November, CNN Indonesia reported that President Jokowi made a call for Indonesia and “other developing countries to be part of the global health supply chain. According to Jokowi, developing countries need to take part in order to erase the health disparity with developed countries, where the gap in health, especially in infrastructure, is very wide.”

Jokowi also urged developing countries (including Indonesia) to be part of world health manufacturing and research, which, he said, “can only happen if investment in the health industry is increased, research cooperation and technology transfers are strengthened, and access to production raw materials is expanded for developing countries.

We’ve also been hearing talk about re-functioning some of the floors of Bali’s four- and five-star hotels and resorts, especially in the Nusa Dua area, to cater to clinics and medical tourism markets, which would be a perfect way to kick-start Indonesia’s medical tourism initiatives.

Number Three: All Things Digital

Indonesia has embraced all things digital with open arms and is above and beyond any competition in the region when it comes to financial transactions. In the Fintech (Financial Technology) sector, for example, Indonesia has seen rapid growth in all aspects of Fintech, including payments, lending, and investments. On its current trajectory, digital payments are forecast to grow to US$351 billion, digital loans look to reach US$35 billion, and Fintech investment AUM will hit US$28 billion by 2025 according to research from Google, Bain, and Temasek and reporting from AC Insights and Forbes Indonesia. 

Even though these figures are impressive, AC Insights suggest the opportunities in Indonesia’s Fintech sector are enormous, particularly because adoption numbers still constitute just a fraction of the total addressable market, which has a total of 47 million underbanked and 92 million unbanked adults.

As of 2021, P2P loan book accumulation only reached US$20.4 billion from 103 Fintech companies officially listed by the Financial Services Authority (OJK). This, however, only covers around 26 million borrowers in a country with a population of more than 276 million (Source: World Bank). In addition, AC Insights suggests 63 million MSMEs are contributing over 60 percent to the country’s GDP, but less than two percent of them have access to financial products resulting in an estimated US$80 billion lending gap.

The number of retail investors has increased by 362 percent in the last three years but estimates suggest this only translates to a total of 7.5 million retail stock investors, which is only four percent of the total adult population.

Crypto investments have also seen astronomical growth, touching over 10 million investors, which is less than 10 percent of the total adult population in Indonesia, leaving a lot of room for phenomenal growth. Crypto transactions in Indonesia have experienced an increase of almost 1,000 percent from Rp64.9 trillion in 2020 to Rp859.4 trillion in 2021 according to CoinGape.

There are, of course, other key sectors that savvy investors should be aware of; infrastructure, tourism, education, and property are among the most exciting, which you can read more about at www.sevenstonesindonesia.com and www.investindonesia.co.id.

If you’d like more investment insights and you’re interested in investing in one of the world’s most politically stable and dynamic economies, get in touch with us via [email protected].

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