Unlike the government’s previous stance, Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said Wednesday that it was no longer necessary to have the production base of BlackBerry smartphones in Indonesia.
Tifatul noted that BlackBerry manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM), was experiencing a major drop in its sales worldwide.
“The idea is actually good [to move the production base]. But with the dropping sales of up to 75 percent in the last eight months, do we actually need them here?” Tifatul asked on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.
RIM is in a steep decline. From June 2008 to June 2011, the company lost almost US$70 billion, or 82 percent, as its market capitalization dropped from $83 billion to $13.6 billion, the biggest decline among communications-equipment providers, the manufacturer said in a release issued on June 28.
The Canadian tech giant also suffered one of its worst hits on Thursday. The company revealed that its sales were dropping by a stunning 43 percent year-on-year in the first quarter ending June 30.
Also, in July last year, the company reportedly cut 2,000 jobs. The layoffs reduced the workforce by around 11 percent, from 19,000 employees to 17,000. The company slashed another 5,000 jobs last month, the biggest layoff in its history, or around 30 percent of its 16,500 employees, in a struggle to save the company.
On Tuesday, Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi still said RIM should have built a factory in Indonesia as demands here far exceeded that of Malaysia, RIM’s regional production base.
Bayu referred to the Trade Ministry’s report, revealing that cellular phone imports increased 22.2 percent in the first five months of 2012. The government had requested that phone manufacturers build production bases in the country to lower import levels, he said.
Tifatul actually agrees with the Trade Ministry’s request to have a BlackBerry manufacturing center in Indonesia on the basis of Indonesia having a larger market. He, however, said that not only RIM, but all other companies should build bases here.
Besides creating job opportunities, he said local companies could collaborate to make Indonesian products assembled by foreign vendors.
“For example, we could start making tablets priced at less than Rp 1 million (US$105.70). We are always buying foreign tablets,” he said.
Tifatul said that by producing local products, the state could increase its foreign exchange reserves. (fzm/nvn)