Expanding a medical business to Asia? Consider Indonesia
    Category: Column By : Aart van Wingerden Read : 655 Date : Tuesday, March 01, 2017 - 11:40:53

    If a medical device supplier is considering an entry into the Asian market, Indonesia should be on the list. Indonesia is Asia’s third most populous country with more than 250 million inhabitants; so try to imagine the huge and growing healthcare demand. With the implementation of the universal healthcare system by the government, every Indonesian citizen and expat who is longer than six months in Indonesia will be able to access this healthcare system.

    That’s why foreign suppliers should be eager to participate in Indonesia. Hospitals are shooting out of the ground “like cabbages in the field,” and all of these need to be equipped. Mobile equipment to cover remote areas has a high potential.

    For suppliers entering Indonesia, there is much to keep in mind, including regulatory and cultural differences. The process may not go as smooth as European companies would like, nobody says it is easy, but the rewards may justify the effort—and remember, other countries have their own set of challenges. That the Indonesian language uses the same alphabet as most Western countries is an undervalued detail. While suppliers don’t need to learn the entire language, it might be helpful if you want to know what is written.

    For foreign companies who are considering the Indonesian market, I have the following advice: be prepared, always consult the institutes specialized in the market, such as chambers of commerce, embassies, the EIBN or companies who are already there and willing to share their experiences.

    Select your partner carefully. Finding the correct partner is one of the main concerns for foreign suppliers in Indonesia. When you find a partner who shows responsibility to his customers, he probably does the same to his suppliers, and that’s a good sign.

    Adapt to the Indonesian culture, don’t waste time trying to change it, even when business is not going as fast, or in the same way as you are familiar with in Europe. If regulations change and you get something unexpected, you should not give up, but go with the flow, and don’t be surprised to find you’ll probably get where you wanted to go in the first place.

    Be there, if there is a demand for your products, the requirements can be fulfilled and the price is right, you will have a good chance to get a small piece of that big pie. If you’re not there, your chances also aren’t there. After all, as Wayne Gretzky said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.