Google talks of Indonesian expansion plans to expand their offices to Indonesia by 2012 to tap into the country’s potential, where 40 million people are wired to the Internet.

Google’s expansion plans were revealed during a meeting between Vice President Boediono and Google chairman Eric Schmidt in Jakarta on Friday.

Vice Presidential spokesman Yopie Hidayat said the visit by Google was a “courtesy call” during which Google “expressed its interest” in expanding its offices to Indonesia.

“Eric Schmidt said to the vice president that Google was designing plans to develop its business in Indonesia,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Yopie said that Google wanted to start the expansion by the end of 2011, provided that it perceived factors, such as “the compatibility of an e-payment platform with the Indonesian banking system” in the country as “congruous” with its business.

He added that Google’s minimum investment would usually be around a minimum of US$100 million.

However, neither the exact date nor further details of the expansion were discussed during the meeting.

“[The people at Google] are conducting studies and analysis as preparation efforts,” he said. “They will execute their plans once they consider that all is in accordance with the parameters of their company”

Once in Indonesia, Google intends to “accelerate many matters in Indonesia”, with an emphasis placed on “supporting small and medium enterprises’s [SME] access international markets”, he said.

“What is already there in their vision is building an e-transaction platform and marketing channel for SMEs in Indonesia to access the global market,” he added.

Communications and Information Ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewabroto revealed that two months ago Google had deployed a team to visit the ministry to speak on matters related to Google’s expansion to Indonesia.

He said Google had a plan to open a branch here as early as October this year.

Eric Schmidt said at a press conference after the meeting that these SMEs were potential drivers of the economy.

“There are 50 million small businesses in Indonesia, I had no idea it was that large. Those [small businesses] will be the engine of growth for the future economy,” he said, as quoted by Antara news agency.

With more than 22 million users, Indonesia trails only the United States and Britain in the number of registered Facebook users.

Information technology expert Heru Sutadi however said that beyond opening a branch office and providing platforms, Google should also establish a server in Indonesia if it was serious about investing in Indonesia.


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