Creative sector in Indonesia

Indonesia has for some time had a strong focus on creative industry development. It’s a sector worth tens of billions to the economy and is growing. A government department called Bekraf leads the sector. See herefor background. Bekraf has for some time played a major role assisting research, funding, start up infrastructure, marketing, intellectual property and other training and assistance.

Following April’s elections the President has announced a new cabinet. There have been rumours of tying up the huge digital economy, including the vibrant start up world, with the creative sector into a new Ministry.

Instead Bekraf was merged into the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. In fact this is the ministry it started its life as a department in.  Wishnutama Kusubandio has been appointed Minister. He is a former journalist, TV producer and TV company executive. The President also appointed Deputy Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Ms Angela Tanoesoedibjo (formerly of MNC, a media company). They are definitely the right fit. 

However the creative sector has become a major part of Indonesian commerce, driven by e-commerce. The travel sector has close connections to the creative sector, in tickets, bookings, ride sharing and so on. There are many creative sectors that focus on the travel sector too – F&B, media, publishing etc. But the wider start up, digital and ecommerce business beyond travel, is much larger. IS it limiting to put it next to tourism?

A worry is the government missed an opportunity to drive the digital and creative sectors together into something much bigger. Digital regulation still sits under the Ministry of Communications and Informatics. It too has a major role in the start up ecosystems too. Will the two ministries overlap, have conflicting roles and how will they cooperate? This at a time when convergence in the creative and digital sectors will become extremely fast. It has been said that Indonesia is entering a ‘scale-up stage’ for many of its creative and digital businesses. Will multi-ministerial backing be effective? Will the next creative tech start ups be able to thrive? Will cybersecurity, data, and ICT become barriers to the creative sector because of the differing ministries?

Of course its still too early to see how this will play out; but the two ministries will need to work closely if Indonesia’s huge digital and creative sectors are to reach the potential the analysts say they have.