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Jakarta Post

Indonesia provides free domain names for SMEs

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, November 3, 2016   /  09:55 am
Indonesia provides free domain names for SMEs The Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry secretary Agus Muharram (left) has called on the Directorate General of Taxation to scrap its plan to tax internet and social media users who use their accounts to run online businesses. ( Arhando Julianto )

The Communications and Information Ministry is trying to propel small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into regional and global markets, by providing free domain names to help them take advantage of the country’s growing e-commerce sector.

The government will provide the free domain names to about 8 million SMEs in all parts of the country until 2020, Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said on Wednesday.

In the first stage, the ministry would provide free domain names to 1 million SME customers of stateowned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) by 2018, he said. The ministry, in partnership with BRI, has also developed a digital platform for SMEs.

“We want to speed up the [1 million free domain name] program and BRI has a lot of SME customers,” Rudiantara said on the sidelines of the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Jakarta, adding that that it might collaborate with other companies if necessary.

Under the current cooperation with BRI, the SMEs will be given a free domain name for a year. At present, a commercial domain name in Indonesia costs between US$10 and $20 a year.

BRI president director Asmawi Syam said the free domain would directly involve SMEs in the e-commerce business and expand their market, while the digital platform would help transform the SMEs which are the backbone of the Indonesian economy.

Currently, BRI has 9.5 million SME debtors in total. The program, launched in August, has managed to facilitate free domain names for 5,000 of them. As of September, BRI’s outstanding loans to SMEs stood at Rp 397 trillion ($30.4 billion).

According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), there are more than 54.5 million SMEs in Indonesia. Accounting for around 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), they provide jobs for almost 99 percent of Indonesian workers.

BRI consumer banking director Sis Apik Wijayanto explained that not all of the lender’s clients in the SME segment would participate in the program, as it was only aimed at companies with good business prospects.

The domain names, he further said, would allow them to sell their products nationwide and even abroad.

“If they are growing, it will be also good for BRI. When they have wider market, their turnover will increase and they will need bigger financings or loans from BRI to expand their business,” Sis said.

The ministry’s target of 1 million domain names, he added, could be easily achieved due to the large number of BRI’s SME customers.

The lender has been disseminating information related to the program in its 12 regional offices in 10 provinces and aiming to do so in all 34 provinces in the country. It has also provided training for its clients in Yogyakarta, and in seven cities of West Java, on how to manage a website. (wnd)

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