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Doing Business in Indonesia: Understanding the Indonesian Business Culture

  • InCorp Editorial Team
  • 11 December 2023
  • 4 minute reading time

What does it take doing business in Indonesia? It needs more than capital, human resource, and the market. You should also know how to conduct business, and it goes beyond contract agreements.

The business culture in Indonesia is different from that of the West, and that is understandable and predictable. What you don’t know is how unique and traditional it is. Below are some of the most common points to remember when doing business in Indonesia. Note they don’t hold true for all companies and business people, but they can serve as a guide.

1. Taking Time

Just as the Westerners are notorious for time adherence, so are the Indonesians – and most of the Southeast Asians – for tardiness. But many factors contribute to such behaviour.

One, although the country is getting better in ease of doing business, red tape remains to be alive and well. Also, for Asians, business is all about relationships. As such, for the partnership to become a long-term success, parties need to be friends first. Indonesians also just have a more leisurely approach on life.

So before you head to the round table, gather enough patience. If you need help, Cekindo is here to facilitate your company registration quickly and efficiently. We can also help you find a local nominee who has a more thorough understanding of Indonesian business culture.

2. Mixing Formal and Informal

What’s a meeting without doing it in a conference room? For Indonesians, however, it also includes restaurants, cafes, and even lobbies of hotels. It may also indicate an invitation to dinner, a few rounds of beers, some tee time, or a weekend holiday excursion.

While you prep some casual clothing, go look for suitable venues for meetings. Cekindo’s serviced offices have comfortable, spacious boardrooms, while our location brings you at the center of the business district. Whether you’re up for coffee or lunch, finding a suitable spot to close the deal is very easy with us.

3. Reaching a Consensus

At the end of the day, business people make decisions. But while Westerners are upfront about it, Indonesians may be more passive. It is because they decide by consensus. All parties should be happy and there is harmony. It’s not unusual for them to say yes even if they mean no or go through the long route of trying to explain why they disagree with your ideas.

4. Recognizing Authority

A lot has changed in terms of organizational governance. Newer businesses tend to adopt a flatter structure, for example. But a lot still stick to tradition, and that is authority equals to influence and power. It may have stemmed from the long-standing culture where males are head of the family. Their words are set in stone.

Before you meet your potential partners, know their head. Appeal to them first with your presentation, and you are more likely score a deal.

doing business in indonesia 2

Find the Right One-stop Indonesian Business Partner in Cekindo

Setting up a business in Indonesia can be a huge challenge, especially for foreigners who don’t have a deep understanding of the country’s culture. Our company is here to help you in many ways.

Not only do we help register a company, but we also run a market analysis and research. We are also experts in tax reporting, business visas, and work permits.

We provide good-quality office spaces, business and legal consultants who will guide you through the entire business process, and the support you need to set up crucial enterprise functions such as human resources and payroll.

Our hundreds of successful clients could never be wrong. Don’t jeopardize your opportunity. Talk to one of our consultants today to know what we can do in doing business in Indonesia.

Pandu Biasramadhan

Senior Consulting Manager at InCorp Indonesia

An expert for more than 10 years, Pandu Biasramadhan, has an extensive background in providing top-quality and comprehensive business solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and managing regional partnership channels across Southeast Asia.

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