First of all, I was utterly shocked to hear that only days after the launch of Netflix that there’s already a notion to block the service by the government censorship agency. To add that up, MNC is being bitter about it as well but that’s to be expected. Should we block Netflix? Well, let’s look at what has happened on other industries when a foreign entity with big money comes to Indonesia.
Rocket Internet came to Indonesia with Lazada and Zalora, they pour in so much money to educate the market and pay premium salaries for their employees. There’s not much e-commerce expert around so they had to make them. 2 years in, they became number one and buying online is the norm. Ex-employees of Zalora and Lazada are still enjoying their premium salaries and higher positions even after leaving those companies. Not to mention the acceleration of e-commerce investments which became the largest sector to be invested last year (source: Dailysocial Startup Report 2015).
Not long after that, Uber comes along and change the whole game transportation game. It disrupted the incumbents for sure but it gives Gojek the momentum it needs to excel massively and even got invested by Sequoia Capital and jacked up the valuation to $200-$400 million. Gojek changes about 200,000 regular ojek drivers’ lives and millions of people that use the app on a daily basis.
Ok now let’s look at it from the creative point of view: Line Webtoon. This is a bit of a surprise for me but personally I’ve been reading more online comics because of Webtoon. It’s free, and easy and updates regularly. The comic artist got paid fairly and regularly to make this and Line gave them the tool to access hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of Line users. Tell me this, do you even know any Indonesian comic artist before Line made Webtoon accessible in Indonesia? They’ve been here all along, they just didn’t have access enough.
Would all of the above happened without the foreign entity coming in at that time? Maybe, but probably in 10-20 years from now. Like it or not they accelerate a lot of things, paved the road and made it easier for us to do our thing. E-commerce has been around since the 90s, Taxi has been here longer and comic book artist has been struggling since the era of R.A. Kosasih and not much have change.
Like it or not we need them, and they need us.