Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Semesta Keramika Raya | Mr Ian Suryadi
Mr Ian Suryadi

Foreign investors need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to sourcing ceramic products

Mr Ian Suryadi, President Director

As a leading manufacturer of ceramic homeware in Indonesia, Semesta Keramika Raya has had considerable success in capturing the local market and reaching international consumers. What can you tell us about the company’s background and its strategies going forward?

Founded in 1976, Semesta Keramika Raya is a ceramic manufacturing company that specialises in stoneware products. What differentiates us from our competitors at both the local and international level is that we are more focused on promotional items such as gifts and souvenirs. We work closely with corporations that have funds allocated for promotional events such as banks and FMB companies. Our services are particularly popular amongst companies launching new products, as we are able to provide branded souvenirs such as mugs or bowls with company logos for them to give out as a means of promoting their new good or service. At present, 90% of our production is centred on our ceramic items for corporate clients, but we also plan on increasing our capacity to manufacture regular products for a more general consumer base. Once our production capacity in this field increases, we also plan on introducing our own brand.

It is our company’s vision to be able to surpass the Chinese-owned ceramic manufacturers who have long dominated the Indonesian market through their porcelain and stoneware products made available at extremely low prices. It has been a challenge for us, as a local enterprise, to be able to contend with the presence of such cheaply priced ceramics in our market given that our product costs price is rendered unviable by the market selling price.

However, recent government regulation implemented to protect local ceramic producers by imposing higher taxes and tariffs on Chinese tableware products has raised our competitors’ selling price, and has allowed us to gain a stronger grip on the local market. In the future, we hope that our company is able to further develop to the point where we can compete both in terms of product price and quality with our counterparts in China.

What is your current outlook for the ceramic and promotional items industries in Indonesia?

The market in this country is thriving and the number of companies willing to allocate their resources towards promotional items is growing. It is thus important for businesses like ours to be able to seize upon the opportunities currently being presented to us. A host of large companies within our portfolio of clients such as Guinness Beer are in the process of expanding and as such are investing heavily in promotion and advertising. We therefore have a very optimistic outlook for the prospects of these industries.

Having previously exported your products to several different countries around the world, what are Semesta Keramika Raya’s current target markets abroad and in what regions do you hope to expand into in the future?

We have been working closely with a lot of similar promotional services oriented companies such as ADM Promotions and Li and Fung that are located in export markets and wish to source ceramic goods from Indonesia.

Our success in this type of endeavour has encouraged us to pursue similar partnerships with companies based in Europe and the US; two regions that we see a great deal of potential in going forward.

Due in large part to a lack of branding, Indonesian products are not often associated with high levels of quality. What do you think are the main challenges when it comes to positioning your company internationally?

The main challenge in being able to tap into the international ceramics market is matching the existing quality level established by Chinese companies that have extensive experience in this field. To do so, we need to train our local human resources and our company has taken steps to bring in experts from China to conduct training sessions for our employees.

Most manufacturing companies in Indonesia are located outside of Jakarta, where general education levels are lower and absorption of new ideas and processes can take longer. It can thus be difficult to train workers to become skilled in advanced manufacturing techniques. With that said, we are very optimistic that improvements are being made in this area and it is readily apparent that the standard of education in Indonesia has improved over the last fifteen years.

Is your company interested in working with foreign investors looking to enter the Indonesian market with a high quality local partner?

We are open to working with foreign entities, and are particularly interested in partnering up with companies from China. There has been a recent movement of Chinese manufacturers out of China towards other parts of Asia, such as Vietnam and Thailand, and our company hopes to be actively involved in working with those currently considering entering the Indonesian market.

At present, we are most interested in technology transfers and believe that working with large international partners will expedite our company’s ability to improve upon its production processes and craftsmanship levels.

What would you like our readers to remember about Semesta Keramika Raya and Indonesia as a final message?

Foreign investors need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to sourcing ceramic products. The current market leaders, China, will soon need to cater to the demands of an increasingly consumption-driven population and will no longer be able to provide the same quantity of inexpensive ceramic products in the future given the introduction of anti-dumping regulations. As such, parties seeking alternative ceramic sourcing options need not look further than Indonesia.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2014

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