Here’s what you should know today:

1. President of Indonesia signed the ecommerce road map

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has signed the long-awaited ecommerce road map that was expected to be issued at the end of this year

The road map will provide guidelines for the country’s digital economy sector, including issues such as payment, logistics, cyber securities, taxation, human resources development and consumer protection.

The ministry was also designing a measure to record online transaction information from the marketplace, in coordination with the Finance Ministry, Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and Bank Indonesia.

Read the full story here.

2. Facebook enters China with photo sharing app

Facebook is testing a photo-sharing app called Colorful Balloons in China after banned in the country since 2009.

Colorful Balloons works like Facebook’s Moments app by allowing users to share photos with friends and family members.

However, instead of using Facebook’s interface, it relies on WeChat, and was released by a local company called Youge Internet Technology.

Read the full story here.

3. Indonesia’s niche ecommerce players attract 

Chinese internet giant continues to show its interest in the market by pursuing new partnership with niche ecommerce players in Indonesia. The company is also said to be open to making an equity investment. is learnt to be interested in partnering with Laku6 although that relationship may not be an equity based one. The firm aslo recently participated in Traveloka’s $500 million funding round.

The rumour of its talks for investment in Tokopedia has been around for months with its rival Alibaba also showing interest in closing the deal.

Read the full story here.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, vowed to develop all of Indonesia’s frontier areas to accelerate growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, reports Bloomberg.

“We will develop areas such as Entikong, Natuna [close to where it is embroiled in a dispute with China] and Atambua so the world sees Indonesia as a great nation that pays attention to every inch of its land,” announced the President during his annual Independence Day speech in Jakarta.

While Indonesia is not a claimant in the broader disputes China has with several other nations over its South China Sea claims, President Jokowi has been emphasizing Indonesian sovereignty in the area.

The President forecasted a growth rate of 5.3% next year, well below the 7% he promised to achieve when he came into office in 2014. The deficit was expected to climb $25.4 billion, but at 2.41% of GDP, debt will be lower than the figure announced earlier this month.

President Jokowi wants to transform Indonesia, a string of more than 17,000 islands that would stretch almost from New York to London, into a maritime power.

He has also outlined plans to improve the country’s poor infrastructure, which has been the key roadblock to various economic growth, including a roadblock to ecommerce, due to the complex logistics infrastructure that makes last mile solutions difficult to manage.

Second to infrastructural improvement, the President also wants to solve unemployment.

President Jokowi’s second full year budget speech comes only three weeks after he re-shuffled his economic team, bringing back former World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati as finance minister to pioneer a tax amnesty that could boost the economy next year.

The rupiah is forecast to be about 13,300 to the dollar in 2017, compared to today’s 13,096.

A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on August 16. Read the full version here

Indonesian government launches food stocks monitor app


In another digital initiative from the Indonesian Government, The National Economic and Industry Committee, which advises President Joko Widodo on economic policies, is developing a mobile app to collect data and information on food production and stock levels, reports The Jakarta Globe.

The app will collect food stocks data directly from farmers, distributors, storage centers and markets across Indonesia in order to provide the government with accurate and timely data. The app will be called “Logistik Tani”, which is translated to “Farmer’s Logistics” and is currently being developed with state-controlled Telkom, Indonesia’s largest telecommunication company.

This initiative will attempt to clean up conflicting data retrieved by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Statistics Agency. Prices of rice, corn and beef are often inaccurate and spiked, despite results suggesting that Indonesia should have a reasonable amount of food stocks. Inaccuracies in data often cause conflict within the government, as it affects their policies on importing goods. The app will provide more clarity to the confusion, and allow the government to track any sudden changes in the field.

Prices of rice, corn and beef are often inaccurate and spiked. The food stock app will attempt to clean up conflicting data retrieved by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Statistics Agency

Farmers will be able to download the mobile version of the app, allowing them to make real-time inputs on their crop and livestock situations. This is part of the government’s initiative to boost Indonesia’s manufacturing sector, as previously seen with the announcement of their e-catalogue site which provides real time prices of goods and supplier details. However, not a lot has been covered about whether farmers are equipped with mobile data to fully utilize this app. Digital Government initiatives are always encouraging, but it also must go hand in hand with full co-operation from its target groups.

A version of this appeared in Jakarta Globe on June 30. Read the full article here.