Whenever you sit in a coffee shop or restaurant (warung) in Indonesia, enjoying a drink or a meal, you will probably notice that most of the Indonesians around you are in constant contact with their mobile phones (or smartphones), iPads, and laptops. Or, when you walk on the bustling urban streets, you will notice that many Indonesians are sitting or standing next to the road while using their smartphones.
For Indonesians, particularly the younger generations in the urban areas of the country, a day without smartphone or Internet is among their biggest fears. Without smartphone or Internet people feel as if they are completely isolated from the world (which is in fact true in this digital age); limited means of communication, limited access to information, and no access to the services that are offered by popular tech startup companies such as Gojek, Grab, and OVO.
In case your smartphone’s battery is dead, there are basically only two solutions: find the nearest power outlet to charge your smartphone (thereby returning back out of isolation) or borrow a friend’s smartphone (to order ride-hailing services or to make a payment, and pay your friend back later).
Considering smartphones and Internet have become crucial tools in our lives, life without these two tools becomes highly inefficient, frightening, and quite boring. In this article we discuss Internet and smartphone penetration in Indonesia. Both developments have a huge impact on the development of Indonesia’s digital economy.
This article discusses the following:
• The development of Internet and smartphone penetration across Indonesia. What factors encourage this development in Indonesia?
• For what purposes do Indonesians use the Internet and their smartphones? Or, in other words, which (mobile) applications and websites do they visit?
• The government of Indonesia has set new regulations that force those foreign tech companies that do not have a legal presence in Indonesia, but do generate sales from the Indonesian market, to pay taxes.
• The Internet makes it easy to violate certain copyright laws. For example, Indonesians love illegal streaming sites.
• The Indonesian government's battle against pornographic content on the Internet. Is this battle a waste of money and time?
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