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Jakarta Post

SoftBank Group in talks with Jokowi to fund new capital city

  • Marchio Irfan Gorbiano and Made Anthony Iswara

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 10, 2020   /   05:35 pm
SoftBank Group in talks with Jokowi to fund new capital city SoftBank Group founder and CEO Masayoshi Son (‘center’) walks with Grab CEO Anthony Tan (‘left’) after attending a meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Friday. (Kompas.com/Ihsanuddin)

Japan-based Softbank Group has hinted at partnering with the government to fund Indonesia's new capital city.

On Friday morning, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo welcomed SoftBank Group founder and CEO Masayoshi Son and SoftBank-backed ride-hailing app Grab CEO Anthony Tan at the State Palace in Jakarta to discuss the matter.

"We won't discuss the specific number yet, but a new smart city, the newest technology, a clean city and a lot of AI [artificial intelligence] – that's what I'm interested in supporting," said Son when asked about how much he would invest in the new capital city.

The government will move Indonesia’s capital city from the heavily populated and polluted Jakarta to a now-forested area in the North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara regencies in East Kalimantan by the end of Jokowi’s second term in 2024. The President has said he wants the new capital to be a smart and green city.

Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said the government would soon form a new team to review the partnership, including the size of the investment, which would be based on the capital city's initial population.

If realized, the collaboration could bolster Jokowi's vision to build a new administrative hub in East Kalimantan, which is projected to cost up to Rp 466 trillion (US$32.7 billion).

A spokesperson for Grab said in a statement that the meeting with Jokowi on Friday continued discussions on several potential points of collaboration, “including building more smart cities with environmental friendly initiatives across Indonesia.”

In July of last year, Son met with Jokowi. After the meeting, he pledged to invest in renewable energy and the electric vehicle ecosystem in Indonesia. He also announced another round of investment, worth $2 billion, for the Indonesian branch of Singapore-based Grab.