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Silicon Valley brings out fresh, vibrant side of Jokowi, RI economy

  • Tassia Sipahutar

    The Jakarta Post

San Francisco, California | Fri, February 19, 2016 | 07:05 am
Silicon Valley brings out fresh, vibrant side of Jokowi, RI economy See my tweets: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (center) shows his mobile phone to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (left) while First Lady Iriana looks on at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, which the President and his entourage visited on Wednesday.(JP/Tassia Sipahutar)" height="341" border="0" width="512">See my tweets: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (center) shows his mobile phone to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (left) while First Lady Iriana looks on at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, which the President and his entourage visited on Wednesday.(JP/Tassia Sipahutar)

Once a commodity-reliant country, Indonesia is now shifting gears to explore the digital economy as many, including President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, see it as the future of the economy.

Appearing relaxed in a long-sleeve Batik shirt with First Lady Iriana in a simple pink hijab and red traditional Indonesian garb, Jokowi visited the headquarters of US technology giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and Plug and Play in Silicon Valley and downtown San Francisco on Wednesday local time to spread the message in the world center of technological innovation that Indonesia is serious about expanding into the digital economy.

From playing zero-gravity ping pong in virtual reality with Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg to writing on the office walls of Facebook and Plug and Play, Jokowi appeared to be having fun on his visit as well as showing his strong interest in the technology, innovation and digital sector.

“Start it up together, prosper together,” Jokowi wrote on Plug and Play’s office wall, on which his photo is displayed, in a clear sign of support for start-up companies to take on a larger role in the economy.

“I hope Plug and Play can take part in Indonesia’s vision to be Southeast Asia’s biggest digital economy, [one] that will reach US$130 billion by 2020,” he said during a meeting with Plug and Play CEO and founder Saeed Amidi at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

Plug and Play connects startups with corporations and invests in 100 companies every year, including Dropbox, with $3.5 billion in funds raised by its start-ups since 2006.

Along with the $130 billion target, Jokowi envisions the birth of 1,000 “technopreneurs” into Southeast Asia’s largest economy with a more than 250 million population sprawled across the archipelago.

His administration has allowed foreign e-commerce players valued at over Rp 100 billion to fully open businesses in Indonesia and teamed up with financial authorities to support funding for IT companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are the heart of the President’s digital economy vision.

At Googleplex in Mountain View, California — where Jokowi had Indonesian food for lunch with over a dozen Indonesian workers at the company — the President was greeted by CEO Sundar Pichai, whose company agreed to train 100,000 Indonesian mobile developers before 2020 through universities, online and working groups across the country.

Facebook friends: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (second left) and First Lady Iriana (third left) meets Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (center right) near the latter’s office in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley, on Wednesday.(JP/Tassia Sipahutar)

See my tweets: President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo (center) shows his mobile phone to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (left) while First Lady Iriana looks on at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, which the President and his entourage visited on Wednesday.(JP/Tassia Sipahutar)

Once a commodity-reliant country, Indonesia is now shifting gears to explore the digital economy as many, including President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, see it as the future of the economy.

Appearing relaxed in a long-sleeve Batik shirt with First Lady Iriana in a simple pink hijab and red traditional Indonesian garb, Jokowi visited the headquarters of US technology giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and Plug and Play in Silicon Valley and downtown San Francisco on Wednesday local time to spread the message in the world center of technological innovation that Indonesia is serious about expanding into the digital economy.

From playing zero-gravity ping pong in virtual reality with Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg to writing on the office walls of Facebook and Plug and Play, Jokowi appeared to be having fun on his visit as well as showing his strong interest in the technology, innovation and digital sector.

'€œStart it up together, prosper together,'€ Jokowi wrote on Plug and Play'€™s office wall, on which his photo is displayed, in a clear sign of support for start-up companies to take on a larger role in the economy.

'€œI hope Plug and Play can take part in Indonesia'€™s vision to be Southeast Asia'€™s biggest digital economy, [one] that will reach US$130 billion by 2020,'€ he said during a meeting with Plug and Play CEO and founder Saeed Amidi at its Silicon Valley headquarters.

Plug and Play connects startups with corporations and invests in 100 companies every year, including Dropbox, with $3.5 billion in funds raised by its start-ups since 2006.

Along with the $130 billion target, Jokowi envisions the birth of 1,000 '€œtechnopreneurs'€ into Southeast Asia'€™s largest economy with a more than 250 million population sprawled across the archipelago.

His administration has allowed foreign e-commerce players valued at over Rp 100 billion to fully open businesses in Indonesia and teamed up with financial authorities to support funding for IT companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are the heart of the President'€™s digital economy vision.

At Googleplex in Mountain View, California '€” where Jokowi had Indonesian food for lunch with over a dozen Indonesian workers at the company '€” the President was greeted by CEO Sundar Pichai, whose company agreed to train 100,000 Indonesian mobile developers before 2020 through universities, online and working groups across the country.

Facebook friends: President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo (second left) and First Lady Iriana (third left) meets Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (center right) near the latter'€™s office in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley, on Wednesday.(JP/Tassia Sipahutar)Facebook friends: President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo (second left) and First Lady Iriana (third left) meets Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (center right) near the latter'€™s office in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley, on Wednesday.(JP/Tassia Sipahutar)

Google has also recently lowered the minimum price for applications, games and products on Google Play, from Rp 12,000 to Rp 3,000, so developers can reach more users.

Jokowi'€™s fresh and vibrant outlook on Indonesia'€™s economy, which is still somewhat reliant on commodity exports, was reflected in his message inscribed at Facebook'€™s headquarters.

'€œPeaceful together in harmony,'€ Jokowi wrote with pink chalk on the chalkboard wall at one of the world'€™s largest companies, with much laughter and light moments with Zuckerberg '€” who toured Tanah Abang market, Jakarta, with the President in late 2014 '€” as well as a dozen or so Indonesian workers.

At Twitter'€™s headquarters in downtown San Fransisco, where Jokowi met CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, the President was quick to record a live video of his activities there through the Periscope app that directly uploads to his Twitter account @jokowi.

There he also live-tweeted: '€œWe invite @twitter to spread the word of tolerance and world peace.'€

Wahyu Dinata Setiawan, 34, and Karl Karnadi, 33, both Indonesian workers at Facebook, said they appreciated the government'€™s support of start-ups, adding that they were thinking of opening their own business in Indonesia in the future.

Jokowi'€™s visit to the tech giants'€™ headquarters was part of his official agenda after attending the two-day US-ASEAN Summit that ended on Tuesday, where he spoke as part of a national leaders counterterrorism panel aimed at addressing the growing need for moderation, tolerance and peace amid the increasing threat of terrorism.
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