Indonesia's economic expansion is giving rise to Southeast Asia's hottest market for 3G mobile devices and other portable computers. With the country's internet penetration estimated to be lower than the average for Southeast Asia, a mobile telephony roll-out is the best way to reach its rural areas by 2015.
"Indonesia is the next internet country. That's why we are preparing ourselves by having up to 2,000 company-owned stores all over Indonesia within the next three years," says Sugiono Wiyono Sugialam, president, director and CEO of Trikomsel Oke, Indonesia's largest mobile phone retailer and distributor.
With a network of more than 16,000 independent retailers across 175 cities in Indonesia, Trikomsel's reach is unmatched in the country's consumer electronics scene. The company specialises in mobile computing devices ranging from feature phones to smartphones and portable personal computers. As a local market leader, it has long-standing relationships with global brands such as Nokia, Sony Mobile, Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, HTC and Lenovo.
Trikomsel has 1,200 company-owned retail stores, branded as OkeShop and Global Teleshop. Aside from mobile phones and portable computers, these stores sell pre-paid loads, ring tones, games and other mobile and internet content. Known for its value-added services, Trikomsel educates customers in-store on how to maximise their investments in high-end gadgets.
"We still want to grow because the potential is huge," Sugiono says. "There are 400 cities requiring retail presence, and we are just entering one-third of it so far. With the Indonesian economy's continuous growth, I will be very busy opening new stores in the next three to four years."
Sugiono's entrepreneurial spirit has driven Trikomsel's growth since its inception in 1996. As a trusted business partner co-founding the company, Sugiono ran the business professionally.
Good governance and sound decision-making underpinned Trikomsel's successful debut on the Indonesia Stock Exchange in 2009. Trikomsel's shareholders have also been supportive of re-investing profits into company operations, settling for an average return of 30 per cent as the company continues to grow. They approved in June the US$100 million acquisition of Global Teleshop, Trikomsel's closest competitor in the mobile phone retailing segment. Officially completed in July, the acquisition of Global Teleshop contributes to the total number of 1,200 retail stores in Trikomsel's growing network.
With the explosion of social media, Sugiono sees a bright future for value-added services for smartphones and tablet PCs. A lucrative venture is the production and distribution of internet and mobile content that can be localised for ripe markets such as Indonesia.
"In the ecosystem of value-added services, we are interested in bringing the contents that are produced in the United States, Japan, South Korea and China to Asean, with more focus on Indonesia. Of course, before these contents can be consumed, we need to localise them to be more engaging to the domestic customers. We would like to distribute the localised content in Indonesia through our OkeShop and Global Teleshop," Sugiono says.
Sugiono is seeking partnerships with companies to create or modify mobile content to suit the Indonesian market. He is also replicating Trikomsel's local business success elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The company is gaining headway for international forays through a wholly owned Trikomsel subsidiary in Singapore. Sugiono also has a joint venture operating in Vietnam.
"We can use the Indonesian model - take all of the information technology systems, supply chain management and consumer analytics - and then make it work in another Asean country where there are many similarities. We would like to be the preferred partner in Indonesia and grow our business in Asean," Sugiono says.
A believer in respecting locality, Sugiono is open to working with companies that share similar values by building synergies between Indonesia and its neighbouring countries.