Tuesday, October 30, 2007

3G euphoria, where to from here?

How is 3G faring in Indonesia? While it is still being promoted, this third-generation cellular telephone service seems to be losing its sheen. The presence of this latest technology in the mobile phone industry, advertisements of which feature a number of celebrities ranging from Gigi and Krisdayanti to Muslim religious teacher Jefry, it appears to be a wilting flower.

It is true that when 3G technology was first introduced in Indonesia, users lacked proficiency in this technology. It calls for a change in the habit of making a telephone call, namely from merely speaking and listening to speaking, listening and viewing.

However, it is not the lack of proficiency in this latest technology that is responsible for the very slow development of 3G in Indonesia. According to several observers, 3G operators seem to pay more attention to video calling services while in fact subscribers need speedy data access.

Obviously, GSM operators in Indonesia have invested hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to develop 3G service. A year after its introduction here, however, the number of 3G subscribers stands at fewer than 3.5 million people. Telkomsel, who had 3.2 million subscribers up to July 2007, claims to be among the 10 biggest operators in the world. Meanwhile, XL claims to have 100,000 subscribers making video calls every day (HandPhone magazine, October 2007).

These figures, however, are far from the estimate by International Data Corporation, a leading data institution, which has predicted that Indonesia will have 300,000 3G subscribers using video call-up by late 2008. The 3G euphoria in Indonesia, which operators have plugged since September last year, has failed to gain a proper response. GSM operators initially set a minimum target of 15 to 20 percent of their subscribers being users of 3G mobile phone technology. This means by 2008, there would be a potential for 10 to 12 million 3G subscribers.

The question is, how willing are these subscribers to spend money using 3G technology, which is certainly more expensive than using the ordinary mobile telephone? The number of subscribers may be real but they are not active users as they have simply registered. "My cell phone is 3G equipped, but I very rarely use it for video calls. I use this technology only when it is really necessary," said A. Baihaqi, director of Tactic Communications.

Baihaqi is just one example. In fact, over the past year, the average revenue per user rate has continued to drop. It therefore comes as no surprise that some people question the future of 3G in Indonesia. Will it fizzle?

In 2003, the director of Pyramid Research, Ross O'Brian, predicted that 3G in the Asia-Pacific region would sell well only in Japan, South Korea and Australia. As for countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, he said it was not time to implement 3G serviced because the markets in these countries were not ready for 3G technology, plus the income level of Asians was still relatively low.

Perhaps the promotion period needs to be longer so that 3G investments in Asia will increase. In addition, in most Asian countries teledensity is still below 50 percent, while there is more concern about augmenting the capacity of the network for voice rather than building a new service based on 3G technology. Operators may claim that they are on the right track in developing 3G services, but facts illustrate the opposite, if not indicate that they have used the wrong tactic.

At the initial stage, operators prioritize the video calling service to lure the public. In fact, what subscribers need is not a video calling or video streaming service but high-speed data access, or an Internet service using HSDPA technology.

In countries where 3G has been successful, such as Japan and South Korea, video calling service is not overly popular. Most subscribers use this service for music downloading and Internet access. In addition, what's more important is that the Japanese government, for example, fully supports 3G technology and imposes an upfront fee on the use of the 3G spectrum, while South Korea, which also imposes an upfront fee, offers incentives and assistance in the development of the broadband wireless network.

It is true that to operators providing 3G services in Indonesia, video calling -- the rate of which is the same as that of ordinary phone conversations during this one-year popularization period -- is merely a gimmick to lure subscribers to use other services. They are now beginning to sell a data package of high-speed Internet modem.

In addition, a number of operators have also begun to seriously set up communities of mobile Internet users. They have begun to popularize what is called Web 2.0 or Mobile 2.0, which enables subscribers to do mobile blogging, video sharing and avail of other content-sharing applications. Unfortunately, those most intensively involved in this campaign are mostly cell phone vendors, not operators.

Nokia, for example, has forged a strategic cooperation deal with three broadband wireless Internet providers, namely PT Telkom, PT Indosat Mega Media (IM2) and PT Cyberindo Aditama (CBN), while one content aggregator, PT Mobile Lifestyle Indonesia (MLI), is offering free Wi-Fi services.

This cooperation will allow all users of Nokia N series handsets, which have a Wi-Fi feature, to access high-speed Internet free of charge at 1,000 hot spots owned by these three operators in more than 20 cities in Indonesia. However, to access free Internet services, N series users must first register through www.cooldesak.com, built by MLI. According to the general manager of Nokia Indonesia, Hasan Aula, cell phones have become an inseparable part of modern life. A cell phone is not simply a device for making a phone call as it now has many other functions. Once the cell phone started enjoying its heyday as a device for talking and sending SMSes, more functions started to be included in the cell phone following increased capability to use various technologies, including making cell phones compatible with 3G technology, or even with 3.5 G, 4G or WiMAX technology.

What's obvious is that GSM operators are hedging their bets with 3G service. This is not only because they have invested a lot of money in establishing this service but also because this service is a stepping stone for the operators to eventually enter the data service arena. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, October 30, 2007

Expected low Internet rate to lure more users

There appears to be an opportunity for Indonesians to enjoy cheap Internet connections, with the entry of PT First Media Tbk. into the high-speed broadband Internet network access business. PT First Media Tbk, a subsidiary of the Lippo Group, has advertised its relatively cheap product, FastNet 384, at Rp 99,000 per month. For just Rp 99,000, a subscriber gets unlimited access to the Internet at a speed of 384 kilobits per second.

First Media provides cheap Internet services through what is called Triple Play. Triple Play consists of FastNet, which is a high-speed broadband Internet service, home cable and digital TV cable as well as datacomm, which is a communication data service for corporations.

First Media gives real broadband service because it is no longer based on shared network access, which is common practice and is purportedly called a broadband service. The low Internet connection rate is expected to lure more Internet subscribers, not only corporations but also students and housewives.

However, it may be some time before anyone can enjoy this particular service as the network infrastructure has yet to be established. According to First Media, the company will invest US$650 million in this service over the next four years.

First Media's low Internet subscription rate is indeed good news for prospective subscribers but it also poses a threat for other Internet providers, such as PT Telkom's Speedy, because they will have to reassess their position if they wish to continue engaging in the broadband business. The presence of FastNet will certainly spur massive price competition, which will have an impact on all other broadband businesses, including wireless services through the use of 3G technology.

Indications that Internet rates would drop became apparent in early February following the issuance of Communication and Information Ministry Regulation No. 3/2007 on network leases, which may lower the network lease rate by up to 50 percent. According to Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII) chairperson Sylvia W. Sumarlin, the component of leased circuit in the form of bandwidth from abroad represents 50 percent of the total operational cost of an Internet service provider. "Other big costs are backhaul, access network to subscribers and taxes, the rate of which has yet to be fixed," she said.

According to her, following the lowering of the network lease rate as a result of the new regulation, it is expected that rates will decrease by up to 30 percent. Sylvia stressed that the reduced rate would have a significant impact on Internet usage, namely a 30 percent increase, although this would not mean a rise in Internet users. However, APJII has separately estimated that the number of Internet users would rise by 30 percent once the regulation on leased circuits was applied. At present there are about 20 million Internet users in Indonesia.

Indonesia still lags behind neighboring countries, such as Singapore, in providing cheap Internet access. Since January of this year, Singapore has provided free Wi-Fi access in many public places. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that in 2007 the broadband Internet infrastructure network will reach all parts of Singapore. The public will enjoy 512 kbps wireless access for free at public Wi-Fi spots across the city through local telecommunications operators SingTel, iCell and QMax.

While ICell and QMax will provide free Wi-Fi services for two years, SingTel will offer free services for three years. Through a hot spot wireless Internet service program, called Wireless@SG, the Singaporean government will also raise the number of hot spots from 900 to 5,000, concentrated in town centers, business districts and shopping belts. To ensure a more equitable Internet penetration, Lee said, the government will, besides expanding the scope of the hot spots, also provide 10,000 subsidized computers to needy households with school-going children.

The Singapore government's initiative is intended to ensure that all Singaporeans can enjoy the same digital experience. "We must create digital opportunities for all Singaporeans, and never allow a digital divide in our society," Lee said.

Internet penetration is said to be a yardstick for the level of progress achieved by a nation. Indonesia has only 20 million Internet users or a penetration of 8.9 percent of the total population (See http://www.internetworldstats.com/). Viewed from the number of Internet Protocols (IP) in circulation or allocated, which stands at over 2.8 million, they can be estimated that the maximum number of subscribers is somewhere in the vicinity of two million.

Compare this with Malaysia, which has an Internet penetration of close to 38 percent and 2.8 million allocated IP numbers, or with Singapore, where 68 percent of the population has Internet access and the IP numbers stand at 2.6 million. As the need for bandwidth should be viewed not from penetration but from the number of users and IP numbers, it is strange that allocated IP numbers in Indonesia are greater than in neighboring countries. As the IP numbers are comparable with those in neighboring countries, Indonesia should therefore have Internet rates comparable with those in neighboring countries. Unfortunately, many countries have no intention of introducing low rates and broad bandwidth.

In terms of economic calculation and needs, the Internet is indeed a necessity. The biggest constraint for Internet users is the rate. If the government is aware of this condition, it must introduce policies to ensure that the Internet is cheap.

Indonesia is a country with a host of anomalies. Creativity has become increasingly challenged with so many constraints being faced. Once a company expressed an intention to provide free Internet access, other companies boycotted this in a variety of ways. What is worth asking now is, given the fact that First Media can set a rate of Rp 99,000 per month, what is the actual rate of gateway access abroad, something that has until now been used as an excuse for high Internet rates in Indonesia. (Arif T. Syam)

The Jakarta Post, October 30, 2007

The Internet revolution

The term "information technology, or IT, applies to the invention of the Internet and its release into the market. The Internet is a worldwide computer database that is technically available to anyone with a computer and a telephone. With the help of the Internet, and its attendant facility, the e-mail, communication can be made over vast distances without one seeing, knowing or physically talking to the other party. This feature has helped to stimulate business dealings and easy acquisition of contacts.

The Internet became the vehicle in which ideas may be spread around easily and research into a particular key issue done easily and conveniently. Online search engines allow access to websites yielding information from all parts of the world on a particular subject within seconds. Along with the cell phone, the Internet is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century and one of the mainstays of globalization.

The Internet was originally designed for intended use by the U.S. military. Alongside its satellite technology or global positioning system (GPS), which gives situational up-to-date information on the battlefield, the U.S. system of waging war was revolutionized and demonstrated its awesome capability during the Gulf War. Commanders may communicate with each other easily and with the central command, assuring that the highest decision makers have a relatively clear idea about what is going on. This phenomenon of removing essentially the "fog of war", where commanders in the past had to make instant decisions based on ignorance or only partial information on the battlefield, which led to an astonishing low number of casualties in the U.S. Army and its allies in the Gulf War, while inflicting devastating defeats on the enemy forces.

After the Gulf War, the Internet eventually was released slowly on the market, alongside improvements in computer technology. Immediately, the civilian world saw the potential for its use in the commercial, administrative and mass media context. The Internet provides the following benefits:
* A cost effective billboard for advertising products in reaching out to the world market.
* The gradual removal of middlemen and agencies in matching product service providers with purchasers, leading to direct buying and selling.
* Storage of important financial data for banks and other commercial enterprises.
* Wire transfers of funds, such as PayPal accounts.
* A better and more convenient information provider and therefore less ignorance on the part of individuals.
* A reduced need to engage in physical travel, such as the mailing of certain type-written documents.
* As an easier and more convenient vehicle for research and development, and a more convenient and efficient way to search for information.
* As a convenient form of administration and record keeping for bureaucracies and ministries, making redundant the need to keep cabinets of paper records and files, thus freeing office space as well as increasing efficiency.
* News dispersion through media coverage on online news websites.

The Internet is undoubtedly an important part of the process of globalization. An innovation originally designed for military use, it has led to even greater inter reliance of states with each other, and also brought forth and crystallized the idea that a free market economy presided over by a capitalist type of democracy is the key to creating and distributing wealth.

The writer has a M.Sc in Strategic Studies and is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London. (Eric Koo Peng Kuan, Singapore -- can be reached at erickoopk@yahoo.com)

The Jakarta Post, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Titik Nol

Seorang teman protes, gara-gara membaca Appetite Journey ia bertandang ke sebuah restoran ala Timur Tengah. “Gambar-gambar makanan di majalah yang bikin ngiler, lengkap dengan atmosfer restoran yang menawan, ternyata tidak seindah dengan warna aslinya,” ujarnya bersungut-sungut.

Tidak bisa dimungkiri, ada review yang kadang-kadang berlebihan. Tapi percayalah, tidak ada unsur ‘penipuan’ apalagi pembohongan publik. Yang terjadi mungkin adalah perbedaan angle. Bagi orang tertentu, candle light dinner akan menerbitkan efek yang romantis. Tapi bagi yang lain, makan yang hanya ditemani dengan nyala lilin tersebut tidak hanya temaram, tapi tidak memunculkan ‘kilau’ makanan tersebut. Tergantung sudut pandang masing-masing, dari mana melihatnya.

Soto betawi pinggir jalan yang sering kita temui sehari-hari di Jakarta, mungkin terasa biasa-biasa saja. Tapi di lidah Bondan Winarno yang jago mengapresiasi makanan menjadi luar biasa. Mak nyuss…

Memang, bagi sebagian orang, sebutlah orang-orang Surabaya, lebih suka soto ambengan ketimbang soto betawi, misalnya. Tapi ini adalah masalah selera dan kebiasaan. Teman saya dalam cerita di atas, selidik punya selidik, ternyata memang tidak atau belum akrab dengan makanan Timur Tengah. Sementara seleranya, yang terbentuk sejak kecil di Yogyakarta dan sekitarnya, setengah menolak ‘makanan asing’, termasuk makanan dari Negeri Sheik itu.

Pengalaman teman saya tersebut mirip dengan pengalaman saya pada awal 1990-an (jadul banget ya). Ketika itu saya berkesempatan untuk meliput launching seri baru sebuah mobil bergengsi yang dipusatkan di Australia. Acaranya sih sangat exciting, tapi yang bikin sebel adalah makanannya. Maklum, lidah saya yang ‘ndeso’ ini setiap hari harus berhadapan dengan makanan Negeri Kangguru yang notabene jarang memakai bahan nasi. Padahal kalau belum makan nasi kan belum makan, kata orang Melalyu.

Alhasil, selama di Aussie – yang tidak lebih dari dua minggu, ada sedikit perjuangan kalau ingin makan selayaknya. Kalau ingin makanan ala Indonesia, terpaksa saya pergi ke restoran chinese food yang jumlahnya bisa dihitung dengan jari, kecuali di China Town. Lumayan, kerinduan terhadap nasi dan sejenisnya bisa terpenuhi.

Tapi itu dulu. Kini, setelah lidah mencecap berbagai makanan – apalagi semuanya tersedia di Jakarta, “gap rasa” sudah tidak ada. Paling tidak, dengan sedikit empati kita pun bisa mencicipi berbagai menu makanan dari mana pun. Makanan Nusantara oke, menu dari negara lain pun, hayo! Tinggal di Eskimo pun, ibaratnya, no problemo!

Saya mengikuti tip seorang teman, yang suka berpetualang rasa. Jika ingin menikmati makanan baru, sebaiknya me-reset dulu lidah kita menjadi nol. Jangan mempunyai bayangan rasa dengan mindset yang sudah terbentuk lama. Misalnya mencoba sup tom yam ala Thailad, tapi yang di otak adalah sayur asem. Menikmati nasi bryani tapi yang dibayangkan adalah nasi goreng kambing Kebon Sirih. Gak nyambung, dan mungkin berakhir dengan kekecewaan…. (Burhan Abe)

Appetite Journey, November 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Menu Asli Italia di Jakarta

Uno non puo pensar bene, amare bene, dormire bene, se nan ha mangiato bene!

Kalimat berbahasa Italia itu amat mencolok, terletak di salah satu dinding PURO Ristorante e Bar. Artinya kira-kira, “Seorang tidak bisa berpikir dengan baik, mecinta dengan baik, tidur dengan baik, kalau tidak makan dengan baik.”

Ya, makanan adalah kebutuhan dasar manusia, yang kalau tidak dipenuhi niscaya manusia tidak bisa berpikir dengan baik, apalagi melakukan segala aktivitas keseharian dengan normal. Yang dimaksud pomeo di atas tentu bukan sekadar makanan sebagai pengisi perut, tapi jenis makanan apa yang kita makan.

Puro menambah satu lagi restoran ala Italia. Berlokasi di City Plaza, Wisma Mulia, Jakarta, bersebelahan dengan Blowfish yang memang satu manajemen dalam Grup Ismaya, kreator sejumlah restoran dan venue-venue gaya hidup di Jakarta. Bedanya Puro dengan restoran Italia yang lain adalah terletak pada keasliannya – tanpa embel-embel “disesuaikan dengan lidah orang Indonesia”, misalnya. Puro sendiri dalam bahasa Italia berarti “Pure” alias asli, bo!

Puro adalah restoran yang menawarkan otentisitas makanan Italia. “Serving regional Italian specialties with emphasis on pure rustic Italian flavors featuring simple, yet creative, tasty dishes,” ujar Executive Chef Marco Medaglia.

Memang, di antara ragam makanan mancanegara, makanan Italia adalah salah satunya yang digemari masyarakat Indonesia. Restoran atau gerai yang menyajikan makanan Italia memang gampang ditemui. Orang pun menjadi akrab dengan pizza, spagheti, risotto, lasagna, atau bruchetta. Namun Puro, restoran yang dilengkapi dengan bar yang berkonsep “classic-meets-modern Roman” ini seakan menjanjikan sesuatu yang istimewa, pengalaman berwisata kuliner yang berbeda.

Puro bernuansa romantic, warna putih mendominasi, tapi tidak tejebak dalam kepucatan atau membuat bosan. Justru corak baroque menerbitkan keindahan tersendiri, mulai dari langit-langitnya hingga pilihan detil interiornya. I love the ambiance!

Menu makanannya, apa saja yang ditawarkan Puro? Pasti banyak, selain berbagai makanan Italia yang populer seperti yang ada dalam daftar buku menu, makanan-makanan yang lebih customized pun tersedia. Inilah yang beberapa yang direkomendasikan Chef Marco yang asli Italia itu.

Seperti halnya restoran Italia lainnya, Puro juga menyajikan pizza. Cara membuatya, seperti kata Marco, pizza dipanggang dalam tungku api tradisional ala Italia. Nyala apinya konstan. Kayu bakar yang digunakan untuk memanaskan tungku ini pun tidak sembarangan, sehingga tidak merusak cita rasa. Bahkan aroma yang keluar pun wangi.

Beberapa orang yang telah mencicipi mengatakan, pizza ala Puro ini pas di lidah dan juga dari segi ukurannya. Tidak tebal, lembut digigit, tidak lengket, sementara bagian pinggirnya terasa renyah. Mama Mia! (Abe)
Recomended Menu

Antipasti :
Involtini di Melanzane con Asparagi e Ricota
Insalata di Rucola pere e Gorgonzola
Tortino di Polenta Gratinata con Gamberi e Riduzione di Bisque
Vitello Tonnato

Le Nostre Zuppe:
Zuppa di Pesce

I Risotti:
Risotto Frutti di Mare e Broccilini

La Pasta:
Capelli d’Angelo al Nero di Seppia con Aragosta
Pappardelle con il Ragu’ Antico di d’Agnello
Ravioli alla crema di Parmiggiana
Ravioli Gamberi con Vongole e Spinaci

Secondi Platti di Pesce
Filletti di San Pietro con Caponata di Verdure e Pinoli con Salsa al Balsamico in Agrodolce
Snow Fish con Finocchi Stufati con Pomodori al Basilico

Secondi di Carme
Cerre’ d’Agnello alla Erbe con Salsa alla Senape

PURO Ristorante e Bar
City Plaza at WISMA MULIA
Jl Jend Gatot Subroto Kav 42
Jakarta 12710 – Indonesia
Reservation: 62-21-5297-1234
Web: www.blowfish-puro.com

Trendsetter in Fashion Industry

Senayan City, Jumat malam, pekan lalu. Para fashionista Jakarta tampak menyerbu gerai Massimo Dutti yang baru dibuka di plaza tersebut. Seru, karena gerai seluas 437,60 meter persegi itu buka hingga tengah malam hingga pukul 23.00 itu diikuti oleh para undangan VIP, public figure serta para relasi.

Bagi penggemar fashion, Massimo Dutti bukan merek asing. Produk yang berasal dari Spanyol ini sudah lama hadir di Singapura – yang pembelinya sebagian datang dari Indonesia. Merek ini kemudian dibawa ke Indonesia tidak lain oleh perusahaan ritel terkemuka saat ini, PT Mitra Adiperkasa (MAP), distributor dan pemegang franchise sejumlah merek internasional di Indonesia.

Ya, bisnis retail boleh melesu, tapi MAP agaknya tetap berjaya. Paling tidak, penjualan perusahaan publik ini pada kuartal pertama 2006 mencapai Rp 752 miliar atau naik 16 persen dibanding periode yang sama tahun lalu yang sebesar Rp 650 miliar.

Menurut Group Head of Investor Relation Mitra Adi Perkasa Tbk, Ratih D. Gianda, tingkat penjualan tertinggi diperoleh dari gerai-gerai khusus. Kontribusi terbesar omzet MAP diperoleh dari pengelolaan department store yang menyumbang 46,3 persen dari total pendapatan. Kontribusi terbesar kedua diperoleh dari pengelolaan usaha divisi specialty stores yang menyumbangkan penjualan sebesar 44,1 persen. “Kedua divisi itu merupakan penyumbang terbesar dari usaha kami,” ujarnya.

MAP tidak hanya dikenal di pasar modal, perusahaan ini juga identik dengan life style untuk kalangan menengah ke atas. Jaringan retailnya telah berekspansi hingga lebih dari 40 konsep bisnis, yang meliputi semua aspek, mulai dari sports ke fashion and lifestyle; dari department stores hingga ke trendy cafes.

Saat ini, MAP mengoperasikan lebih dari 500 toko dengan total area penjualan lebih dari 250.000 meter persegi di 22 kota besar di Indonesia. MAP merupakan perusahaan yang mengelola departemen store seperti Sogo, Debenhams dan JAVA, dan gerai-gerai khusus seperti Planets Sport, The Athlete’s Foot dan Mark & Spencer, sementara untuk gerai makanan minuman perusahaan ini mengelola gerai Starbucks Coffee Shop.

Selain sukses mengusung produk fesyen untuk kalangan atas melalui department store Debenhams, MAP juga mengambil mengusung tiga merek baru yang laris di Inggris kepada warga Jakarta. Ketiga produk fesyen yang dapat dilihat di pertokoan baru Senayan City, Jakarta itu adalah Topshop, Topman dan Miss Selfridge. “Sejak kita initial public offering November 2004 pertumbuhan usaha kami terus meningkat dengan pesat,” jelasnya.

Menurut Ratih, produk itu ditujukan untuk mereka yang ingin senantiasa memenuhi keinginannya memiliki koleksi busana, aksesori dan alas kaki yang inovatif. Di Inggris, ketiga merek itu di bawah payung perusahaan ritel Inggris Arcadia Group. Produk fesyen itu ditujukan untuk segmen pasar pria muda dan wanita muda usia 20-an tahun-30 tahunan. Selebritis dunia, seperti Madonna, Liz Jagger, Kelly Osbourne dan Claudia Schiffer disebut-sebut menjadi pelanggan produk tersebut.

Produk yang dikelola oleh perusahaan itu terdiri dari sepatu, pakaian, aksesoris, makanan, minuman hingga buku. Tidak ada perusahaan yang se-fashionable MAP, karena merek-merek fashion top ada dalam genggamannya. Sebutlah Calvin Klein, Energie, FCUK, Kipling, Lacoste, MEXX, Marks & Spencer, Miss Sixty, Morgan, NEXT, Nautica, Nine West, Liz Claiborne, Principles, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sole Effect, Women'Secret, dan ZARA.

Bukan sembarang merek, karena setiap langkah mengakusisi merek MAP selalu mempertimbangkan dari segala sisi. Keputusan mengambil Zara, misalnya, ternyata melalui serangkaian riset dan pertimbangan. Zara adalah merek fashion dari Spanyol, tapi namanya tidak asing di kalangan pecinta mode di Indonesia. Sebelumnya ia ada di Singapura dan Kuala Lumpur, yang pembelinya tak lain adalah orang-orang Indonesia. Maka, begitu masuk Jakarta (tepatnya di Plaza Indonesia dan Mal Pondok Indah 2) Agustus 2005, tak ayal, sambutan konsumen pun luar biasa. Tahun ini sudah mempunyai enam gerai, lima di Jakarta dan satu di Surabaya.

Zara, yang didirikan Amancia Ortega Gaona pada 1975, mampu meraih hati konsumen lantaran memiliki cara kerja yang berbeda dari kebanyakan merek lainnya. Majalah The Economist edisi 18 Juni 2005, menulis bahwa Zara bukannya menciptakan permintaan untuk tren baru pada musim semi atau musim dingin dengan membuat pergelaran busana, melainkan justru mempelajari permintaan para pelanggannya di seluruh jaringan tokonya dan memproduksi desain yang sesuai dengan kebutuhan tersebut dalam waktu yang relatif cepat.

Ada 200 desainer yang bekerja di pusat produksi Zara di Spanyol. Ke-200 orang ini kerap melakukan perjalanan keliling dunia untuk melihat perkembangan tren fashion di negara-negara lain. Upaya ini dilakukan agar bisa bergerak cepat dan lebih dulu menangkap perubahan pasar. Tak mengherankan, Zara menjadi trend setter bagi industri fashion.

Zara di bawah Inditex Group, yang juga membawahi delapan merek lainnya, serta mengelola hampir seratus perusahaan di berbagai negara di seluruh dunia. Selain Zara ada Massimo Dutti yang diceritakan di atas. Kedua merek itu mempunyai perbedaan yang cukup signifikan, jika Zara yang konsep bisnisnya sering disebut freshly baked clothes, maka Massimo tampil lebih klasik. Koleksi Massimo kebanyakan berwarna hitam, coklat, dan biru. Sedikit lebih mahal, tapi masih jauh di bawah Hugo Boss atau Armani, misalnya. “Kami sengaja mengambil segmen yang tidak terlalu tinggi, disesuaikan dengan konsumen Indonesia,” tutur Ratih.

Langkah-langkah MAP mengambil berbagai merek terkenal internasional ini merupakan bagian dari strategi perusahaan ini dalam mempertahankan positioningnya sebagai peritel kelas atas terdepan. “MAP selalu menjadi yang terdepan dalam bisnis retail kelas atas di Indonesia. Menciptakan standar-standar baru dalam industri ini dan menelurkan konsep retail secara revolusioner,” kata Ratih.

Rahasia suksesnya? “Our unwavering commitment to each brand, marketing acumen, and sheer professionalism!” katanya (Burhanuddin Abe).

Jakarta, Juni 2006

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Welcome to the Show!

A hotel is not merely a place where you can spend the night but is also a place to enjoy some entertainment. That's why nearly all star-rated hotels provide entertainment, both for people staying the night and for outsiders seeking some merriment. These facilities may range from a music lounge, a cafe to a karaoke hall and even a club.

There are hotels that offer serenity, mostly those adopting the resort concept, and also those that sell entertainment. Hard Rock Hotel Bali, for example, has made itself a center for activities linked with entertainment. This is indeed a positioning that this hotel, whose name is borrowed from that of a famous cafe established in London on June 14, 1971, wishes to feature. "The name Hard Rock itself is associated with a place of entertainment. We want to check out the most Rockin' Hotels around," said Dewi Endah Banowati, marketing communications manager of Hard Rock Hotel Bali.

Hard Rock Hotel Bali is not only located next to Hard Rock Cafe, which presents live music shows every night, but also has its own music stage, which is located in the lobby above the bar and is called Centerstage. It rocks from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

In addition, nearly every space of the hotel is named after something to do with music and connotes entertainment. Each type of room is named on the basis of a music genre, as is Lil' Rock Kids Club, a playground for children. The area of the main swimming pool, for example, presents music and has a bar that serves Tequila, Reggae and Limbo.

This hotel, which is filled with decorative memorabilia of the world's top musicians, treats guests like music superstars. Guests staying at Hard Rock Hotel are called "stars" while hotel staffers are "band members". Children are nicknamed "lil' rockers". Every guest is given a room key that they can wear around their necks just like a stage pass. Welcome to the Show!

Hard Rock Hotel, which uses "rest, relax and rock" as its motto for service, is a top example of how a hotel treats entertainment as the most important part in the concept of a hotel.

Other star-rated hotels also make an effort to make entertainment a major part of their services. If you have ever stayed at Hotel Mulia, Jakarta, for example, you are surely familiar with CJ's. The bar, which was renovated in December 2006, opens from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and is open until 3 a.m. on weekends.

What better way to end the day than with a well-deserved cocktail and rocking live music? A hit among guests and locals alike, CJ's is the place to see and be seen. "So let your hair down, hit the dance floor and get set for a wild night of non-stop partying!" said Romy Herlambang, director of communications of Hotel Mulia Jakarta.

According to Romy, entertainment is indeed an important part of a hotel. Many people visit the hotel not to stay but to eat at one of its restaurants or to hang out with friends. That's why The Kafe has enjoyed particular attention from the management, as is evident from the expansion of its space so that it can now accommodate 361 people instead of the original 298.

There are five main elements at the hotel that will kick off in mid November 2007. These five elements are the lounge, the Japanese food area, the Middle East area, the Italian area and the international area. "All this is intended to accommodate the needs of hotel guests and is in response to requests by customers who do not necessarily stay at the hotel," he said.

The same strategy is also employed by Ambhara Hotel Jakarta. Located in Kebayoran, this hotel is situated opposite a major shopping center and is near the central business district. It has the Arios Music Lounge and is in the process of establishing a music lounge with a new concept called The One.

If you are familiar with Hotel Sari Pan Pacifik Jakarta, you would have heard of its Pitstop Bar & Lounge. This place has indeed undergone a change of name. Originally called Pitstop, it was later renamed Avenue but has since assumed the new name of Pitstop Butterfly.

Pitstop's concept leans toward live entertainment. The music genres on the menu include classic disco, acid jazz, R&B and Unplugged. The new Pitstop has two VIP rooms with karaoke. In addition, Pitstop also has one VIP room called Butterfly Lounge. This room is twice as large as the other two karaoke rooms. Besides the karaoke facility, Butterfly Lounge is a suitable venue for private parties. Visitors can also enjoy the aromatic Sisha. Spirits and wine tend to be the dominant beverages. The lounge has tables to accommodate 200 people and standing room for about 350 people.

Meanwhile, newcomer Grandkemang Hotel, which is located on Jl. Kemang Raya, South Jakarta, realized from the start that entertainment is an inseparable part of a hotel's facilities. This hotel boasts its d'lounge, which is a posh lounge suitable for private events with business partners or family members.

Located on the ground floor opposite the Sperta all day dining venue, this is a VIP lounge with a minimalist modern design. It has a sound system and a lighting system that can be adjusted to your wishes while you enjoy high tea or a glass of wine with cheese platter. d'lounge has a capacity for 20 to 25 people.

As a more sensational choice, B.A.T.S., located in Hotel Shangri-La Jakarta, is also a good option for a night out. This is a legendary music lounge, which was operational well before it became trendy here for people to hang out in a bar or a pub.

With a stylish interior design, which depicts a bar in a subway station in New York City, B.A.T.S. reflects the lifestyle of urbanites. It is here that urbanites spend their time socializing, chatting or just hanging out. Don't forget to order Urban BATS, a blue soft cocktail with a refreshing, sweet taste, which represents the dynamic and passionate spirit of urbanites. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post
September 23, 2007

Simple, Unique, Friendly

Dengan konsep modern, muda, dan trendy, Harris Resort Kuta menawarkan cara unik menikmati liburan. Bergaya minimalis, tapi tidak mengurangi fasilitasnya yang maksimalis. Spacious bedroom, spa, gym, kid’s club, dan cozy cafe. Aha, meski tidak menginap di hotel, Anda pun bisa menikmati sarapan ala Harris. (Burhanuddin Abe)

Banyak tempat penginapan betebaran di Bali, tapi Harris Resorts, yang berlokasi di Kuta menawarkan keunikan tersendiri. Resor ini mempunyai konsep yang berbeda dengan yang lain, yakni modern, muda dan trendy. Yang menarik, harganya pun cukup terjangkau, karena ditargetkan kepada pasar menengah ke atas, khususnya pasar Asia. Saat ini sedang berlangsung program "Harris Simple Deal" dengan harga cuma Rp 488.000 nett per malam.

Tinggal di Harris adalah pengalamanan yang paling menyenangkan. Terletak di kawasan pantai paling populer -- surganya para peselancar dan "dugemania" di pulau Bali, hotel yang mempunyai color image orange dan hijau ini dapat ditempuh hanya dalam waktu 10 menit dari bandara internasional Ngurah Rai. Hotel dari kelompok usaha Tauzia Hotel Management, ini adalah tempat yang sangat tepat untuk menghabiskan masa liburan.

Harris Resort Kuta yang beroperasi sejak 2004 ini mempunyai motto ‘simple – unique – friendly’. Simpel diwakili oleh desain bangunan dan interior yang sederhana dan minimalis. Unik dengan menjadi inovatif dalam bentuk komunikasi (pemasaran), pendekatan pelayanan kepada tamu serta desain. Friendly (ramah) yang ditunjukkan dengan penggunaan warna, suasana hotel yang hangat, serta sikap karyawannya.

Keramahan itu bahkan sudah dimulai dari pintu masuk hotel. Tidak hanya welcome drink berupa teh hangat, tapi juga kehadiran Harris Clown yang mewakili keramahan, keunikan, serta kegembiraan di hotel ini. Sementara itu Harris Man/Girl yang bertindak sebagai concierge, doorman, dan guest relation officer, selalu siap membantu tamu hotel dan relasinya.

Harris Resort Kuta memiliki 191 kamar dan suite, terbagi atas beberapa kategori, yaitu Harris Room (Standard Room), Harris Room Pool Access, Family Room, serta Suite Room. Sambungan akses internet dengan kecepatan tinggi broadband tersedia di semua tipe kamar serta sambungan jaringan internet Wi Fi di seluruh areal lingkungan hotel, tak terkecuali lobi, restoran, dan area umum lainnya.

Pada Januari 2007, bersama Surfer Girl, Harris meluncurkan tipe kamar terbaru yaitu Surfer Grl Room, yang merupakan hasil penggabungan desain sederhana kamar dengan pernak-pernik dekoratif dari Surfer Girl.

Dengan teras pribadi dan sundeck yang menghadap langsung ke kolam renang, kamar yang unik ini ditargetkan secara khusus kepada kaum remaja putri, meski tidak menutup kemungkinan kelak untuk keluarga atau pasangan muda. Seperti halnya ciri khas kamar Harris dengan dekoratif hitam putih di setiap kamarnya, kamar ini dilengkapi juga dengan poster koleksi Surfer Girl yang berbeda di setiap kamarnya, menampilkan tiga karakter utama dalam bentuk komik yang sering didapati dalam setiap iklan ataupun materi promosi merek ini.

Giri Loka Spa, pusat perawatan kebugaran dan kecantikan yang ada Harris Resort Kuta, menyediakan perawatan tubuh dan terapi relaksasi lainnya yang eksklusif dengan menggunakan produk perawatan khusus. Perawatan tradisional ala Bali dan Jawa pun juga disediakan untuk memenuhi kepuasan para tamu yang ingin memperoleh perawatan tubuh secara penuh.

Jika Anda membawa keluarga, khususnya anak-anak, tidak perlu khawatir karena di Harris tersedia Kid’s Club. Tidak hanya fasilitas arena bermain untuk balita – serta pelayanan baby sitter jika diperlukan, anak-anak yang lebih besar pun bisa mengikuti kelas tari Bali.

Untuk urusan pengisian perut tersedia Harris Café. Kafe ini menyediakan hidangan internasional, oriental, serta beberapa hidangan khas Indonesia dari juru masak dengan pengalaman kuliner kelas dunia. Sementara Juice Bar menyajikan pilihan minuman segar menyehatkan.

Makan pagi adalah kegiatan yang paling menyenangkan bagi para tamu sebelum memulai kegiatan yang padat. Tidak hanya suasananya yang mengasyikkan, tapi pilihan menunya (prasmanan) sangat beragam. Yang menarik, tidak hanya para tamu hotel saja yang bisa sarapan, orang luar pun bisa ikut makan pagi di Harris Café hanya dengan membayar Rp 45.000 per orang. So, tunggu apa lagi. Segera temukan pesona kesederhanaan, keunikan, dan keramahan Harris Resort Kuta, tempat berlibur paling menyenangkan di Pulau Bali.

Harris Resort Kuta
Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta – Bali 80361
t. +62 361 753 868
f. +62 361 753 875

Hatten Wines, The Indonesian Wine

Wine adalah minuman dunia. Produsennya tidak terbatas pada negara-negara tetentu saja, Indonesia pun ternyata juga memproduksi wine. Merek yang paling dikenal adalah Hatten. Wine asal Bali ini berdiri sejak 1994. Semula adalah sebuah perusahaan penghasil “brem”, atau yang juga dikenal sebagai “arak beras” di Sanur, tapi kemudian merambah ke wine.

Hatten Wines dikelola dan dimiliki oleh Ida Bagus Rai Budarsa, seorang sarjana agrikultural yang terlibat sepenuhnya pada seluruh aspek operasional perusahaan. Sementara spesialis pembuat wine dipegang oleh Vincent Desplat, seorang pria berkebangsaan Prancis. Lulusan salah satu pembuat wine bergengsi di Montpellier Prancis ini sempat meniti kariernya di Perth Australia selama 12 tahun sebelum akhirnya bergabung dan ikut mendirikan Hatten.

Hatten yang memiliki arti “progress” dalam bahasa Jepang, sampai saat ini telah memiliki 40-an karyawan, yang bekerja tersebar di tiga lokasi, yakni di perkebunan anggur di Singaraja, Bali Utara, dengan areal seluas 14,5 hektar, pabarik di Sanur, serta kantor distribusi dan tasting shop di areal Simpang Siur, Kuta, yang diberi nama“Celladoor”.

Buah anggur yang dipakai Hatten adalah jenis Alphonse-Lavallee yang merupakan anggur merah dan Musacat, serta Probolinggo Biru – eit, jangan salah, meski bernama “biru”, ini sebenarnya anggur putih. Yang menarik, anggur yang dipakai Hatten adalah table grapes, seperti umumnya buah angur di Indonesia, yang bisa dimakan langsung, bukan anggur yang khusus untuk pembuatan wine yang umumnya tidak bisa dimakan.

Pabrik Hatten yang berlokasi di areal Sanur, juga merupakan saah satu areal pusat bisnis, di mana telah dilengkapi dengan peralatan baja tahan karat untuk memelihara kebersihan. Pabrik anggurnya mempunyai mesin tekan horisontal, 16 tangki angur besar, fermenters, ruang pebotolan, dan sebuah laboratorium. Pabrik Hatten berkapasitas pembotolan 3.000 per hari.

Proses pembuatan Hatten memang tidak main-main. Seluruh mata rantai pembuatan winenya tidak berbeda dengan yang ada di negara-negara penghasil lainnya. Yang membedakan dengan wine negara lain adalah jenis anggurnya saja. Karakter anggur yang dipakai Hatten cenderung fruity dan kadar tanin-nya rendah, sehingga cocok untuk paduan makanan Indonesia.

Hatten mempunyai beberapa jenis wine, yakni rose, sparkling rose, spakling white, fry red wine, semi sweet, dry white wine, dan fortified wine. Produk Hatten tidak kalah dengan wine-wine dunia lainnya, terbukti salah satu produknya, semi sweet wine, pernah mendapat medali perunggu di International Wine & Spirit Competition di London tahun 2003. Sementara sparkling wine-nya memenangkan berbagai penghargaan – di antaranya Winner of 2002 “Best of Bali” oleh ex-sommelier La Tour D’Argent, Paris. Salut!

(Burhanuddin Abe/Source: http://www.hattenwines.com/)

Friday, October 19, 2007

New cultural icon for Jakarta

After a sluggish opening, the second installment of Java Jazz (JJ) Festival ended on Sunday night on a high note, with artists turning in some of the event's most memorable performances before entertainment-hungry crowds.

The absence of a noteworthy music festival in the capital prompted music fans to swarm the JJ venue, Jakarta Hilton Convention Center, helping to cement the festival's reputation as a must-see live event for years to come.

During the three-day festival, concertgoers enjoyed a rare delight that comes only once a year, in the form of numerous shows mounted by top-notch local and international artists, such as Bubi Chen, Indra Lesmana, Tower of Power and Patti Austin. Not a single show was left unattended, with even filler shows staged by little-known performers enjoying a huge turnout.

Shows from headlining acts such as Patti Austin, Bob James, and Kool & the Gang -- aside from one staged by Tower of Power on the opening day -- were unquestionably a full house, given the performers' marketable names. One notable, if heartwarming instance from the festival is that almost all shows by Indonesian performers were not only sold out but were also met with the warmest of receptions from the crowd, indicating that homegrown music has finally found a home in the country.

Collaborations between local musicians like Harvey Malaiholo, heartthrob Marcello Tahitoe or Ello, and international performers such as American saxophonist Michael Lington and jazz guitar guru Lee Ritenour bore evidence of the abundance of promising talent from local artists. One of the most promising locals is Berklee Music School graduate Nial Djuliarso. Jazz purists and cognoscenti made a beeline for the icy-cold Femina Lounge in the depths of the festival venue Sunday evening.

One of the last acts on, the Nial Djuliarso piano trio, with Donny Sunjoyo (double-bass) and Zulham (drums) was a real treat that cast away the katabatic gloom with musical warmth and light. Playing a mix of jazz standards and his own compositions on a piano that was slightly out of tune (despite the frantic efforts of a hapless tuner immediately beforehand) Nial and the boys showed a highly appreciative audience what the essence of jazz was all about: intelligent ensemble playing, exquisite solos (especially some extended drum work by Zulham) and genuinely creative improvisation.

A highlight of the gig was some revelatory improvisations on melodies from Indonesian composer Ismail Marzuki. The up-tempo numbers were notably exhilarating, with superb musicianship displayed by all concerned.

JJ organizers deserve kudos for going that extra mile to turn the event into what it became, including the provision of superb sound systems, but the jazz audience must surely deserve the most praise for refusing to let anything come between themselves and a good show. They booed Governor Sutiyoso when he delivered a speech after a Daniel Sahuleka show, appearing to reject any possibility of the heavy hand of bureaucracy spoiling their fun.

Taking a cue from the crowd's warm reception, festival director Paul Dankmeyer considered JJ 2006 a success and promised to stage another one next year. "We hope that from the experience we have gained from two festivals we can stage an even better event next year," told Dankmeyer optimistically. (M. Taufiqurrahman)

The Jakarta Post, March 07, 2006

Sonia Wibisono: Starting with curiosity

One afternoon in a cafe, Sonia Wibisono heard the indistinct crooning of a female singer. Sipping a cup of tea, Sonia, a celebrity doctor, was mesmerized and found it was a cure for the boredom she felt waiting for a client. After inquiring, she was told that the singer was Norah Jones, a jazz singer who has gained popularity around the world.

After that, Sonia, who as a university student loved disco music, became interested in jazz as she found it pleasant to the ear and enjoyable. "People say this music is difficult to enjoy, but some songs are sentimental and easy to listen to," said Sonia, who loves the wind instrument music played by Dave Koz. She was already familiar with the music of romantic tenor saxophonist Kenny G and the late Embong Rahardjo.

Indeed, it is not jazz of the early periods that Sonia, the presenter of O Clinic, a program on O Channel, likes listening to but jazzy pop. Among the jazz singers she likes are Ermy Kulit, Iga Mawarni, Ruth Sahanaya, Harvey Malaiholo and Glenn Fedly. Although they are all well-known in the pop music world, they are all rooted in jazz.

As for instrumental music, she prefers the easy listening type such as GRP albums, ranging from Lee Ritenour, Dave Valentine, David Benoit, etc. "I'm married, so perhaps my choice of music is the slow type. I believe this kind of music can give you peace of mind and is suitable for relaxation," said Sonia, a mother of two.

Although she is fond of slow music, Sonia, formerly a finalist of "Abang and None Jakarta", does not mind other jazz genres as long there is harmony. Al Jarreau, she said, is one of her favorite singers. When this African-American singer came to Jakarta, she excitedly attended his concert. She likes not only energetic songs like Spain and Take Five but also Jarreau's slow and melodious songs. "His voice is excellent. He is all heart and soul when he sings. Who could resist that?" said Sonia, who also does the "Kuku Bima" commercial.

She is not that into the musicians performing at this year's Java Jazz, but hopes she can see the performance of Sergio Mendez, who reminds her of one of Indonesia's leading jazz musicians, Elfa Seciora. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post
February 26, 2007

Nungki Soetrisno: Complementary improvisation

SOME people say they can't live without music, but Nungki Soetrisno goes one step farther and says he can't live without jazz! It may sound extreme, but just take a look at what Nungki, born in Yogyakarta on Sept. 18, 1963, does every day of his life.

When he gets up in the morning, he listens to one or two jazz pieces. On his way to the office, he again listens to a few jazz numbers in his car. In his comfortable office, Nungki, managing partner of Neo Indonesia advertising company, also listens to this "black music". When he is in a good mood, he enjoys mainstream jazz, ranging from Bebop to Swing. He prefers pieces played by Big Bands, such as the Count Basie Orchestra, Charli Parker and Duke Ellington. When he is stressed out because he can't think of a spiel that he can offer to a client, for example, he prefers to listen to Fusion Jazz.

"After listening to one or two songs, my head clears and I get fresh ideas," said Nungki, a graduate of the School of Economics, Gadjah Mada University (UGM), with over 15 years' experience in the advertising world.

Before he goes to bed, at about 10 p.m., he still finds time to enjoy some jazz, either on CD or DVD. "My wife knows not to disturb me if I'm listening to jazz," he chuckled.

Nungki has hardly missed a single jazz concert in Jakarta. He has attended, for example, JakJazz, Java Jazz, concerts by George Benson, Al Jarreau, Tania Maria, Diana Schuur, Lee Ritenour and David Benoit. And he plans to catch the performances of jazz musicians at this year's Java Jazz, for instance those of Chaka Kahn and Sergio Mendez. "Neither of them must be missed," he said.

Nungki's love of jazz began when he attended senior high school in Yogyakarta. Back then a friend from Jakarta gave him a cassette of jazz songs. "I found the songs nice to listen to," he said, reminiscing, adding that Autumn Leaves, one of the songs on the cassette, appealed to him the most. After that he always kept an eye out for jazz cassettes, which could easily be found in Yogyakarta. Ever since then he has got pleasure out of listening to jazz of various genres and generations.

When he was a student at UGM, he joined a marching band and played the trumpet. Playing the trumpet deepened his love for music, particularly jazz. Knowing how difficult it is to play the trumpet, he greatly admires Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and a number of jazz musicians who play the trumpet or other wind instruments. "Jazz is highly inspiring. It helps me in my work. I set up an office with two friends of mine. We are free to create anything that is compatible with our own capabilities and areas and we all complement each other. It is like jazz, where there is a lot of improvisation, but all the musicians complement one another," said Nungki, who has over 100 cassettes/CDs/VCDs/DVDs, with 90 percent of this collection being jazz. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, February 26, 2007

Naratama: Mesmerizing jazz

"IMPROVISATION, that is the soul of jazz that permeates deep in our hearts," says Naratama, producer/director of Voice of America (VOA), Indonesian Service, Washington DC, the U.S.

It seems that jazz is inseparable from the life of Naratama, formerly a lecturer at the Jakarta Arts Institute's (IKJ) Film and TV Department. Jazz is part of his daily diet.

He listens to the strains of jazz every chance he gets, either at home or in his car, from his collections of CDs or on a jazz radio station. He likes mainstream jazz as well as jazz fusion, which has a heavier beat. He feels mesmerized by the tinkling sound of the piano played by Ahmad Djamal and the unexpected guitar chords played by Lee Ritenour. This is one of the genres to have developed after the jazz rock era was spearheaded by Yellow Jacket, Level 42 and AL Di Meola.

Naratama is not just a jazz lover as he can also talk eloquently about the genres of jazz and the musicians that play them. It would be more appropriate to call him a jazz fanatic. When the Jakarta Jazz Festival, or JakJazz, was held in 1996, he was very happy to be given the opportunity to be a producer/director for a special JakJazz television production for four stages. "I had to stay awake for three days as I had to stay in our OB van to record the live shows," he said.

Indeed, during the three days he could enjoy the live shows to his heart's content. In 1998, braving everything, he made a TV program called Jazzy in SCTV together with Chico Hindarto and Eri Prabowo, two figures who deserve mention for their efforts in trying to popularize jazz in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, this program did not last long as it is difficult to make a TV jazz program that attracts advertisers. A lot of people did seem to be interested in this program, and people still ask Naratama when he will produce a TV jazz program.

Naratama handled various music programs on TV before he went to work for VOA in Washington. Many things make him long for Indonesia, including Java Jazz. "It's a pity I can't attend this great event in Jakarta. News about this event has even spread to Washington, DC," he said. Many Indonesians living in the U.S., particularly jazz lovers, talk about Java Jazz, he said. Some have decided to return to Indonesia just to attend this international event.

However, there is some consolation for Naratama with a Norah Jones & the Handsome Band concert being held on April 23 at the Constitution Hall, Washington. "Hopefully, I can still get tickets," he said, while also hoping that he can keep abreast of the progress of Java Jazz through Youtube, a video website. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, February 26, 2007

Sensualitas Jazz Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes, seniman jazz Brasil itu, tampil di Dji Sam Soe Super Premium Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival 2007. Ia membawakan Mas Que Nada lagu "wajib" yang ia ramu dalam jazz samba. "Samba Brasil itu sensual," kata Mendes.

Mas que nada
Sai da minha frente
Eu quero passar
Pois o samba está animado

Itu lirik awal lagu Mas Que Nada yang berbicara tentang asyiknya bergoyang samba. Arti lirik kurang lebih seperti ini: Mas que nada, oh come on, ayolah/ beri aku jalan/ aku mau lewat/ karena samba sangat mengasyikkan/ yang kumau hanyalah bergoyang, bergoyang.

"Mas Que Nada itu lagu yang magis. Lagu itu populer tahun 1966, dan tahun lalu (2006) meledak lagi bersama Black Eyed Peas," ujar Sergio Mendes (66) yang ditemui sesaat setelah acara jumpa pers di Lagoon Tower, Hotel Soultan, 28 Februari 2007 siang.

Mas Que Nada termuat dalam album Mendes, Brazil 66. Angka 66 itu menunjuk pada tahun pembuatan album 1966. "Kekuatan lagu itu ada pada melodi. Lagu itu dibawakan Jorge Ben (tahun 1963). Saya merekam dan menggarap musiknya tahun 1966. Wonderful melody, dan rhythm yang mengasyikkan," tutur Mendes yang siang itu tampil santai dengan celana pendek dan kaus warna hijau.

Mendes, pria kelahiran Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 11 Februari 1941 itu adalah anak seorang dokter. Ia masuk Konservatori Musik Brasil dengan harapan akan menjadi pianis klasik. Telinganya lebih tertarik untuk menyerap realitas musik di Brasil yang menurut dia begitu beragam dan menggairahkan. Kontributor dari keragaman musik itu, kata Mendes, adalah orang-orang dari Afrika yang dipekerjakan di perkebunan- perkebunan di Brasil. "Mereka membawa rhythm yang indah dan mengasyikkan, dan juga instrumen musik," papar Mendes.

Era akhir 1950-an, seniman Brasil Antônio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, dan João Gilberto bereksplorasi dengan samba dan elemen musik yang tumbuh di Brasil lainnya. Mereka meramunya dengan cool jazz. Lahirlah kemudian bossanova, artinya gaya (rasa) baru. Saat bossanova populer itulah Mendes mulai menapak pentas musik. Ia bermain jazz di kafe-kafe. Ia tumbuh dalam lingkungan musik Brasil dengan mentor para eksponen bossanova, khususnya Jobim.

Awal 1960-an, Mendes hijrah ke New York. Bersama grupnya, ia bermain di pentas jazz berwibawa, termasuk di Birdland, klub jazz tempat mangkal jazzer top. Pertengahan era 1960-an ia teken kontrak dengan perusahaan rekaman A&M Records. Saat itu tergagas olehnya untuk menggali musik dari kampung halamannya, Brasil.

Hasilnya memang bisa disebut sejarah. Mas Que Nada versi Mendes meledak di Amerika. Itu merupakan lagu berbahasa Portugis pertama yang menduduki puncak tangga American Billboard. "Kami di Brasil mempunyai jenis musik yang beragam. Samba, bossanova, hanyalah bagian dari lanskap musik di Brasil. Seperti halnya jazz, akar dari musik Brasil adalah musik dari Afrika. Itulah akar kami," katanya.

Keragaman samba itu disebut dalam lirik Mas Que Nada: Este samba/ Que é misto de maracatu. Ini samba/ campuran dengan maracatu. Maracatu adalah bentuk seni pertunjukan yang berkembang di Brasil dan berakar dari tradisi Afrika.

Mendes menangkap rhythm samba yang di telinganya terasa sensual itu. Dengan cerdas, ia mengolah elemen musik tersebut lalu meramunya dengan jazz dan pop. Hasilnya antara lain terdengar pada garapan Mendes untuk Mas Que Nada. "Musik Brasil itu tidak hanya rhythm, tapi juga melodi yang indah dan sensual. Musik yang sensual itulah yang saya kira membuat orang yang mendengar dan menghayatinya seperti bermimpi dan bergoyang."

Mas Que Nada versi Mendes terbukti menjadi lagu awet. Nyatanya, lagu itu populer pada setiap era. Ia bahkan menjadi lagu "wajib" di kafe-kafe Jakarta.

Tahun 2006, Mendes didatangi musisi muda yang mengaku sebagai penggemar beratnya. Musisi muda itu adalah William alias William James Adams (31), personel, penulis lagu, dan produser grup hip-hop Black Eyed Peas. Ia menyebut Mendes sebagai inspirasi terbesarnya.

Mereka membuat kolaborasi kreatif. Mendes membawa lagu- lagu bossanova, samba Brasil, sedangkan Will mengalirkan semangat hip-hop yang tengah meluap-luap di belantika musik hari ini. Kerja sama mereka terekam dalam album Sergio Mendes: Timeless, yang antara lain memuat Mas Que Nada versi ramuan samba-hip-hop-R&B dan diterima kaum muda hari ini. Mendes menyebut musisi muda itu sebagai darah baru yang selalu mengalir di setiap zaman.

Musik Mendes terbukti mampu menembus era berikut generasi penghuni zaman. Ia juga melewati batas-batas kultural. Kemampuan itu, menurut Mendes, terletak pada semangat musik yang lahir dari kehidupan. Termasuk kehidupan para seniman alam Afrika yang diperbudak peradaban kapitalis. Daya hidup mereka membekaskan keindahan auditif. Itu yang ditangkap Mendes dan akan disebarkannya di Java Jazz. "Itu adalah semangat suka cita, gembira, penuh senyum, dan pesta ria. Semua orang diundang, ayo!" Mas Que Nada! (Frans Sartono)

Kompas, 02 Maret 2007

Pampering visitors, fostering interest in reading

There was a big sale at QB (Quality Buyer's) World Books some time ago. The news about this big sale, circulated through various mailing lists, was quite surprising. On the one hand, avid readers could go on a shopping spree and obtain good books at greatly discounted prices. On the other hand, however, the closing down sale offering discounts of up to 70 percent was also a big blow to true book lovers.

This big sale was a big blow because, amid the difficulty to foster a reading habit among Indonesians, it was the death knell of the bookstore, which Richard Oh established with great enthusiasm. In fact, from the very beginning of its establishment, QB was intended to be one of the few providers of quality foreign books in Indonesia. QB offered books that would introduce us to foreign cultures, literature and thoughts.

What exactly led to the bookstore's closure is not clear. Perhaps one reason was that QB did not offer a wide selection of books so that people got the impression that it offered mostly literary and art works. Another possible reason was that in Indonesia buying books, especially imported ones, is not a priority. In fact, QB targeted the well-heeled as it customers.

Richard Oh is a known book aficionado, good writer and businessman. His passion for books prompted him to set up QB. How did he mix hobby and business?

"That's the trouble. Personally, it is better just to have a small business if you want to be an entrepreneur. If the financial scale is big, it is no longer a hobby and goes beyond idealism," said Oh, who is a fan of Pramoedya Ananta Toer and founder of NuvoCom Advertising.

As it happens, when a hobby is mixed with business, it must adhere to good business practices. A manager of a foreign bookstore said: "QB closed down not because of an unfavorable macro condition, but rather because of managerial problems."

Of course, no one wants to see other bookstores close down, especially since books are windows to the world and reading leads to knowledge.

When thinking of bookstores, several names come to mind. Long-established ones include Gramedia, Djambatan, Gunung Agung and Walisongo. Newer ones include Maruzen, Kinokuniya, Periplus and Aksara, which all sell imported books. The latter bookstores are quite expansive, especially their outlets in malls, plazas and shopping centers. All have attractive interior designs. Some even have coffee shops on the premises. "We sell not only books but also a lifestyle," said Judo Suwidji of Periplus.

That's why Periplus, which is part of The Periplus Publishing Group, whose network includes outlets in Singapore, Japan and the United States, always provides personal services with a modern taste to customers. Its 36 outlets in Indonesia have a simple contemporary Indonesian design concept. At its outlet in Kemang, South Jakarta, for example, Periplus, besides offering some 30,000 titles to choose from, also operates a cafe. Here a visitor can look for books to buy and at the same time relax.

Aksara in Kemang not only has rows of bookshelves but also rows of chairs, where visitors can read the books they want to buy. Further inside there is a leather lounge set and a children's corner, which has a wooden floor and cushions for children to recline on. The bookstore manager says that all these facilities are intended to pamper visitors, even though some may spend hours there reading instead of buying. "This is part of our business risk. We only want to show people that go to a bookstore are a very pleasant experience," he noted.

Obviously, almost all businesspeople agree that besides trying to instill in people a love for reading, bookstores must be seriously handled. Paulus A. Tandagi, company head of PT Kinokuniya Bukindo, said that readers of imported books in Indonesia grew by 10-15 percent a year. The demand for imported books is increasing not only because there is an increasing number of foreign graduates looking for books in foreign languages but also because more and more international schools have been set up in Indonesia.

That's why Kinokuniya, a licensed bookstore from Japan whose name means "a house in the Kinokuni area", is expanding its outlets to malls and plazas and has set a target of being Indonesia's largest and most complete store for imported books.

It is true that there are no soft sofas in Kinokuniya that may persuade customers to linger longer. However, this does not mean that this bookstore, which first opened its doors in Jakarta 15 years ago, neglects its interior design, the theme of which is the traditional Indonesian market. Kay Ngee Tan, interior designer for this bookstore, designed its interior with a combination of Japanese and Indonesian cultural elements, such as those found in Sogo Department Store, Plaza Senayan Jakarta.

To give prominence to Indonesian culture, there are hints of Indonesian handicrafts with interplay of lighting on the ceiling. The lighting effect in pictures and symbols is also intended to indicate zones in the bookstores.

Kinokuniya offers a vast selection of books. There are at least 32 categories of English books, 18 categories of Japanese books and 30 categories of Chinese books. The selection offers a wide array of subjects such as management, accounting, hobbies, handicrafts, lifestyle, literature, etc. It also stocks several categories of books that are usually unavailable at other bookstores, for example, Japanese comic strips, often referred to as Manga.

Kinokuniya Company Ltd was first set up in 1927 in Japan with its first bookstore in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The fact that Kinokuniya has outlets in the United States, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia facilitates the management of Kinokuniya in Indonesia.

This wide network is very important in the management of a bookstore, particularly because it enables it to obtain quality books. The availability of books and comfortable facilities are two things that bookstore customers want. Interestingly, Kinokuniya is often found next to a Starbucks cafe, which also belongs to Mitra Adiperkasa, the business group that owns Kinokuniya. When a bookstore is adjacent to a cafe, a customer may take the book they just bought into the cafe to read while sipping a cup of coffee. In this way a bookstore may also serve as a meeting point just like a trendy cafe does.

Nevertheless, books are not a commodity that enjoyed rapid and considerable growth in Indonesia. Every month, international publishers publish hundreds of titles. In a global world, this will eventually spill over into Indonesia. Indeed, for developing countries like Indonesia, books are still considered luxury goods. However, as people's purchasing power strengthens, it is not unlikely that books, which improve the intelligence level of a nation, will become highly lucrative business commodities. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 28, 2006

Book marketing: Friendlier, more comfortable

Over the past decade, Indonesia has witnessed a rapid progress in its book publishing industry, not only in terms of the number of books published but also the number of new bookstores.

Many new bookshops have sprung up in addition to the ubiquitous Gramedia and Gunung Agung, two institutional players in the nation's book business. These new bookshops can be found not only in imposing shopping centers downtown, but also hidden away in backstreets.

The emergence of these new players has made competition in the book business much tougher. With a novel concept of turning the bookstore into a recreational place, new players have been successful in luring bookworms into their outlets.

In the past, it would never have occurred to many Indonesians that a bookshop could be combined with a restaurant or cafe. When you get tired from all that book browsing, you can drop into the restaurant or cafe to eat and drink while chatting with friends and enjoying the ambience. If you are a member of the bookshop's club, you may also browse the Internet for as long as you wish.

One book shops that has developed this concept is QB World Bookstore. With a network consisting six outlets, QB has been deliberately designed to provide comfort to their customers. Aside from a cafe, QB also provides Internet facilities.

"We want to be different. Here you can not only buy books but also get involved in other activities such as book discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions, and photo exhibitions," said Richard Oh, owner and manager of QB network.

Richard would like to establish an emotional relationship between buyers and QB that is not confined to a business transaction. Therefore, QB adopts a membership system. A customer buying Rp 1 million worth of goods is entitled to a QB membership card.

Another advantage for QB members is that he or she receives weekly reports about new books and upcoming QB events and activities. If you have a QB membership card, you can use it as a discount card at 30 places around town including restaurants, cafes, hotels and other places. The annual membership fee is a mere Rp 50,000 (about US$5).

Winfred Hutabarat established a similar network of bookshops under the name of Aksara. Aksara also accommodates non-bookworms and that's why you can also find non-book products like audio CDs, design objects, gift items and souvenirs in their bookstore. With its browser-friendly concept, you are free to read without any obligation to buy anything.

Besides Aksara, there are several other bookshops that have adopted a similar marketing approach, such as Kinokuniya, Maruzen and Times. This new concept has certainly worried the old players. Friendly service and the comfort that new players offer to customers may easily encourage book lovers to frequent these bookshops rather than the old ones.

Besides, these new bookshops also offer competitive prices. QB, for example, can give a discount of up to 20 percent for best-seller books, twice the amount of conventional bookshops.

With growing competition from the new players, established bookstore operators like Gramedia and Gunung Agung cannot afford to relax. In a way, Gramedia has also adopted a one-stop shopping concept in several of its spacious outlets such as in Matraman, East Jakarta. The only difference lies in the management pattern.

In the new bookstores, the restaurants or cafes are usually owned by the bookshop owners, but in the case of Gramedia, the restaurants or cafes are provided by other companies. Gramedia leases out the space.

Gramedia, like the new bookshops, also sells non-book items. Just go to the first floor of the Gramedia bookshop in Matraman. There you can find many wares including sports equipment, bags, souvenirs, computer printers and even musical instruments. So, if you come to this bookshop, you don't necessarily come to buy books. Perhaps you want to buy a badminton racket or a guitar.

What about Gunung Agung? Established over half a century ago, Gunung Agung also keeps rejuvenating itself. One of the strategies that this chain has adopted is to reposition its target market.

Gunung Agung has 32 outlets in Java and Bali. These bookshops can be found in shopping malls or as stand-alone stores with different demographic and target markets.

Every bookshop operated by the bookstore chain has a different target market. Gunung Agung in Pondok Indah Mall is quite different from the one in Arion Plaza in terms of the shop and merchandising concept. Both are located in Jakarta but their target markets are quite different.

Gunung Agung in Pondok Indah Mall targets children, teenagers and young professionals as its main buyers while Gunung Agung in Arion Plaza targets office workers.

Once these people have a good image about Gunung Agung, they will frequent the bookshop even when they become adolescents and have their own children later. Once an emotional tie is established between Gunung Agung and people, the hope is that they will also take their family members to shop there.

Gunung Agung has worked hard to change its image as a serious bookstore and tries to make itself appear welcoming for their target market. That's why this bookshop has carried out various attractive promotional programs such as book discussions, author book signings, story-telling, and product demos. It also offers competitive prices.

In addition, Gunung Agung has also improved its service to its customers. The bookstore not only shows hospitality to its visitors but it also sells quality goods and provides comfort inside. Other things that this bookstore has done is to display its wares correctly, arranging merchandising in such a way that they create an attractive visual effect.

All these different marketing models are but competitive efforts to pamper consumers. It is the only way that bookshops can stay relevant and thus survive. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, March 15, 2005

Learning online book retailing from the success of Amazon.com

If you like reading books but have no time to drop into a bookshop, not even the one closest to your office or house, don't worry. These days the bookshop is just a click away and you can shop from your desk at the office or at home.

Just connect to the internet and find book-selling website. You can order all the books you want to buy and also read a brief synopsis of each. Most virtual bookshops have a good selection of stock.

Online book retailing is an emerging trend in Indonesia. Following the success of global book-selling giant Amazon.com, virtual book stores are setting up shop here.

Amazon, which was set up in the summer of 1995 by MSNBC Online, owned by Microsoft and NBC, is now an Internet legend. The company has a remarkable story of success, failure and redemption. Within a year of its establishment, the turnover of Amazon.com increased 31-fold. In 1995, its sales volume was only around US$511,000 a year, but in 1996 the amount had jumped to $15.7 million. Up to late 1996, it served about 180,000 buyers from 100 countries and 33 percent of its transactions were conducted with buyers from outside the US.

Today Amazon.com has developed to be not only an online bookshop but also a shop that sells video cassettes and children's toys. The success of Amazon.com has become an icon for the success of a virtual book business. Just by selling books through the Internet, Amazon.com with a turnover of US$5.2 billion in 2003, has put itself on a par with Wall Mart, a US retail giant.

However, the price of Amazon shares is not much higher than those of Barnes and Nobel shares, the largest physical bookshop chain in the U.S. with a turnover of only US$25 million. This reflects the fact that despite the initial investment and high business turnover, the company did not break even until 2003.

At present, Amazon.com offers over 2.5 million titles of books from its database. About 1.5 million titles refer to books still found in bookshops and another 1 million titles are those of out-of-print books.

A search engine can help you find the book you want. Just put in the name of the author, the subject or the book's title and the engine will find it for you. You can also ask this website to notify you by e-mail when there are new titles about certain subjects or by certain authors. Another advantage is that many books are offered at substantial discounts. Even books on the best-seller lists are often discounted by up to 40 percent.

What about the virtual book business in Indonesia? As was touched upon earlier, virtual bookshops have also emerged in this country. Large bookshops, like Gramedia, have an on-line sales division -- gramediaonline.com. Another publisher, Mizan, has set up a subsidiary, Ekuator, which used to take virtual orders, and there are also BearBooks.com, ClickBookShop.com and ketoko.com among others.

None have the success of Amazon.com, however, and many are struggling to survive in a market where access to the internet is limited and people still prefer to shop physically as a means of recreation. Data compiled by the Indonesian Association of Internet Providers (APJII) shows that up to the first half of 2004 there were only 10 million Internet users in Indonesia. It is not known how many of them like to surf online bookshop websites and buy books there.

That life is tough for online book retailers is born out by Ekuator.com. After five years of operations, Ekuator.com stopped taking book orders through the internet last year. For Indonesia, Ekuator.com could be said to have had the most complete and most up-to-date website as it used to offer 5,000 tiles from more than 25 domestic publishers.

Most conventional bookshops, use online marketing services to complement their conventional marketing systems. When bookshop assistants are asleep at home, the shop can still take orders. Online shops can also be a useful promotional means for buyers who usually go to bookshops. As internet use increases many people now window shop first on the internet, which is becoming a kind of virtual yellow pages.

It is expected that bookselling in the virtual world will increase in frequency the coming years, following an increase in the number of internet users in Indonesia. This year, a local internet research institute estimates the number of internet users in Indonesia will increase by 100 percent to 20 million for 2005. If 5 percent of them are book-lovers that will buy books online, this means there would be one million loyal buyers. Not a bad number. It might be time again for online book sellers to start studying the sucesses of Amazon.com. (Hartono Iggi Putro)

The Jakarta Post, March 15, 2005

Between popular teen novels and religious topics

As a commodity, books have been gaining popularity. Don't be surprised, therefore, to see the emergence of new publishers in Indonesia. Some new publishers have published best-sellers, such as Gagas Media, which successfully launched teenage novels and other popular reading material generally considered part of pop culture.

Gagas Media has also adapted film scripts into novels, such as Jomblo, Tentang Dia, Heart, Mendadak Dangdut and many others. Successful films are expected to be followed by successful novels written on the basis of the scripts. Heart is a good case in point. Written by Ninit Yunita, this book has been printed eight times.

Interestingly, Gagas Media, developed by Moammar Emka, a popular writer whose first book was Jakarta Undercover (published by Galang Press), never hesitates to publish the works of very young writers. "These writers can depict their world accurately," he noted. Neither does Gramedia hesitate to publish the works of new writers. To obtain manuscripts for its "metropop novels", this publisher staged a writing contest with a prize that exceeded the regular fee paid for a story.

Indeed, teen novels are selling like hot cakes, especially because the reading community for novels in this category is developing. At least, this is the tendency that Gagas Media has captured with its establishment of a book club called Philobiblic on Sept. 13.

Philobiblic is a book club that caters to the community's reading and writing interests. Members of this book club are entitled to a 15-50 percent discount on all books published by Gagas Media. In addition, member are regularly sent the latest information about new titles. The publisher also invites writers to hold a discussion with readers.

Religious books have also gained popularity. Over the past four years, data compiled by the research and development division of Kompas daily shows that the sales of religious books have jumped to the upper position, following comics and children's storybooks.

Since religious books, particularly those on Islam, have gained greater popularity, bookstores now have special display areas for these books. Books giving practical tips such as a guide to Islamic prayers, for example, and "spiritual psychology" are topics that are in great demand. These books sell well not only during the fasting month of Ramadhan but in other months as well. A book by Aidh Al Qarni, La Tahzan Jangan Bersedih (La Tahzan Don't Be Sad), for example, has been a top seller for the past two years. Indeed, this book, which has been translated into 29 languages, is also a top seller in other parts of the world.

Other top sellers include Menjadi Wanita Paling Bahagia (To be the Happiest Woman), 7 Step Spiritual Quotients (7 Steps to Spiritual Quotients), Mukjizat Gerakan Sholat (Miracle of the Sholat Movement), Terapi Salat Tahajud (Therapy of Salat Tahajud) and Misteri Sholat Subuh (Mystery of Sholat at Dawn).

The same can be said in the case of books written in English. "In view of the great number of acts of terror in several parts of the world allegedly masterminded by hard-line Muslims and owing to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many people are interested in learning about Islam," said Judo Suwidji, managing director of Java Books, distributor of imported books and also manager of Periplus.

Indeed, topics covered in religious books cover a broad spectrum. Books written by Karen Armstrong about Islam, in their original or translated version, for example, have enjoyed high demand. Meanwhile, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (in its translated version) has, since October 2004, enjoyed an upper position on the list of "Best-Sellers of Pustakaloka". More than 100,000 copies of this controversial novel in translation, which is published by Serambi, have been sold.

Interestingly, also selling well are books written in response to the controversy produced by The Da Vinci Code such as Menjawab The Da Vinci Code (In Response to The Da Vinci Code), Mematahkan Teori-teori Spekulatif dalam The Da Vinci Code (Dispelling Speculative Theories in The Da Vinci Code), Fakta dan Fiksi dalam The Da Vinci Code (Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code), Menguak Kebenaran di Balik The Da Vinci Code (Exposing the Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code) and Pengakuan Maria Magdalena (Confessions of Mary Magdalene).

Religious books have attracted a lot of attention because more open ideas are being published. In the Gramedia bookstore in Matraman, Jakarta, for example, religious books have enjoyed second position on the list of best-selling books, following books for children and teenagers (including comics) in the last three months.

Publishers that usually publish books on social and religious subjects are represented by Mizan (including Mizania and Hikmah, its subsidiaries), LKiS and Gema Insani Press. Indeed, not all the books they have published have enjoyed good sales because serious books about critical ideas do not sell as well as practical books and books on practical Islamic psychology.

Today, light reading material with a pop culture content are what readers seem to want. A publisher must think twice before publishing serious books containing critical and profound thoughts. That's why publishers must find alternative themes and easily digestible popular writing styles if they want to survive. (B. Gunawan)

The Jakarta Post, November 28, 2006

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Miliader Asia Meningkat

INDIKATOR "Individu dengan Nilai Kekayaan Bersih yang Tinggi" atau High Net Worth Individuals, Rabu (17/10/07), menunjukkan jumlah orang yang tergolong super kaya di Asia meningkat hingga 8,6 persen. Peningkatan yang tertinggi ada di Jepang, di mana ada lebih dari 1,47 juta HNWI.

Laporan tahunan "Tingkat Kekayaan Asia Pasifik" yang dipublikasikan Merrill Lynch dan Capgemini menemukan bahwa di wilayah Asia terdapat 2,6 juta orang yang kaya dan super kaya. Khusus di Jepang ada 43,7 persen, dari semua High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) Asia, yang mempunyai kekayaan bersih lebih dari satu juta dollar AS (tidak termasuk rumah utama). Sementara itu, jumlah orang yang super kaya Asia (memiliki kekayaan bersih lebih dari 30 juta dollar AS) juga meningkat tajam hingga menjadi sebesar 12,2 persen atau 17.500 orang.

Setelah Jepang, China berada pada urutan kedua jumlah HNWI terbanyak dengan 345.000 orang (meningkat menjadi 7,8 persen). Menyusul di belakang China ada Australia dengan jumlah 161.000 orang (10,3 persen) dan Korea Selatan dengan 99.000 orang (14,1 persen).

Laporan itu juga menyebutkan Singapura menyumbang 21,2 persen, India 29,5 persen, dan Indonesia 16,0 persen terhadap total HNWI Asia. Tiga negara itu termasuk wilayah dengan tingkat pertambahan orang kaya dan super kaya yang paling cepat di Asia. Peningkatan jumlah dan kekayaan milik HNWI Asia lebih tinggi jika dibandingkan dengan peningkatan HNWI secara global yang hanya 8,3 persen.

Hongkong merupakan tempat tinggal warga dengan rata-rata kekayaan bersih termasuk dalam kategori paling tinggi di Asia dengan jumlah 5,4 juta dollar AS. Jumlah warga Hongkong yang memiliki kekayaan bersih lebih dari satu juta dollar AS mencapai 1,44 persen. "Dilihat dari laporan ini, secara keseluruhan jumlah HNWI bertambah dan jumlahnya merata di semua negara di Asia. Sementara ketertarikan minat untuk investasi HNWI berbeda satu sama lain. Setiap HNWI tertarik untuk investasi di sektor yang berbeda. Kami harap Asia bisa tetap melebihi tingkat pertambahan kekayaan HNWI global," kata Rahul Malhotra, Kepala Manajemen Kekayaan Global di Merrill Lynch Asia Pasifik.

Laporan mengenai kekayaan di Asia itu juga menemukan bahwa pertambahan jumlah orang kaya dan super kaya itu adalah hasil dari pertumbuhan produksi domestik bruto (PDB) dan kenaikan harga saham di bursa. PDB China meningkat 10,5 persen pada tahun 2006 dan PDB India tumbuh 8,8 persen. Laporan itu juga menemukan ada peningkatan luar biasa pada investasi di real estat. Khusus untuk investasi di sektor real estat, investor Korea Selatan mengalokasikan 42 persen dari total kekayaan di sektor perumahan itu.

Kompas, 18 Oktober 2007