Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Export | Joint Ventures | Distributorship
PT Planet Selancar Mandiri (Planet Surf) | Mr Bruno Tjahjono
Mr Bruno Tjahjono

Both foreign investors and local companies are perhaps assessing each other extensively to find the best possible synergy as well as the best prospective partner. This is also important for us; to find the right counterparts as opposed to engaging with all of them.

Mr Bruno Tjahjono, President Director

Planet Surf is a leading surf equipment retailer in Indonesia having established many outlets throughout Indonesia since the company’s inception in 1996. What more can you tell us about Planet Surf and its main strategies going forward?

The idea for Planet Surf was conceived during my visit to Bali. At the time, Bali was the surfing Mecca of Indonesia where all businesses related to the sport were centred. The vibrant commercial activities, however, were nowhere to be found outside of the province, including in Java or the country’s other regions. The industry was basically confined to the island and no expansions beyond it were carried out by the businesses there. After a protracted process, I eventually reached the decision to open a store in Central Java. However, I encountered a setback in that the population was not accustomed to wearing board shorts. As such, I further concluded that steps to educate the masses were needed, including in creating brand awareness as Planet Surf was relatively unknown. We managed to do this by showcasing a unique style through our stores to suggest that a new trend is taking place.

Furthermore, we also held various events to attract attention, one of which was a skateboarding competition. The decision to hold this particular extreme sport instead of surfing was due to the fact that people in Java were still unfamiliar with surfing, Kelly Slater, or any of the sport’s icons. Our image in connection to skateboarding became so prominent that Planet Surf began to sponsor local athletes to participate in international extreme games. Planet Surf’s current expansion is already far-reaching with outlets in smaller cities throughout the country, hence we have acquired somewhat of an expertise with regards to the domestic market; even making excellent sales in religiously-conservative regions such as the city of Banda Aceh.

Indonesia’s retail sector has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade, but 2015 has seen a significant decline following on from the country’s economic slowdown. What is your outlook for the industry?

As a businessman, I acknowledge that a company and the economy will have its ups and downs. As such, what has always been my philosophy is for us to strengthen ourselves during difficult times so that we can pick up when the situation reverses; the rest is natural selection. I also have complete confidence in President Joko Widodo. As long as political and economic stability in Indonesia are maintained, I expect him to succeed in accelerating the country’s growth. I am also optimistic that Indonesia’s middle class will flourish as a result. My hopes are founded on his many plans, one of which is infrastructure development. It, of course, will need time to come about, but that is perfectly understandable.

Planet Surf has extended its business arm to the property and hospitality sector by opening multiple hotels. What more can you tell us about this strategy?

I saw the property sector as a viable area we can expand into. Indonesia’s property sector in particular offers a degree of ease in carrying out property development activities compared to other countries. Our latest project is to open a hotel in the city of Singkawang, West Kalimantan.

What are Planet Surf’s priorities with regards to future innovation for its products?

When it comes to thinking up our next innovation, we typically start from a simple idea and draw upon our self-belief to develop it into something bigger. It will involve a concept that is different yet well-calculated to make sure that our investment is well-rewarded.

Foreign investors have been quite active in both the retail sector and the property sector. How are you positioned towards working with international firms?

We already have extensive experience in engaging companies from abroad. Among them, Planet Surf is currently in a partnership with Channel Islands Surfboards through a factory in Bali. It is one of the foremost surf brands in the world which has moved its production to the island. We will subsequently export the output to markets throughout the world. We are also distributing Electric sunglasses, a brand which has been acquired by a group that also distributes world renowned brands such as Gucci. The parent company has approached us for a prospective joint venture in Indonesia. Overall, we are open to all possibilities of cooperation.

What is your message and final thought that you would like to share with our readers?

There is certainly a high interest from foreign firms towards Indonesia. In this respect, both foreign investors and local companies are assessing each other extensively to find the best possible synergy as well as the best prospective partner. This is also important for us; to find the right counterparts as opposed to engaging with all of them.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2015

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