Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bookshops not just a place to find books

Today, bookshops are no longer filled with dust-covered books piled on unattractive racks, located in pokey, narrow lanes. Bookshops are now more likely to feature homey reading rooms with sofas where customers can sit and relax. Customers can read the books that they are considering buying without feeling anxious that the sales assistants will reprimand them. It is almost like being in your own private library.

This is one of the reasons why philosophy lecturer Tommy F. Awuy says he feels very comfortable shopping at Aksara Bookstore. Aksara is a Sanskrit word which means letter -- as in alphabet. Aksara began its business in the Kemang area in South Jakarta in 2001. A year later it became known as Aksara Bookstore and Aksara Music when CDs and Vinyl were thrown into the product mix. In 2004 Prodak, a retailer of gift and furniture items, joined the retail operations and it became Aksara: Books, Music, Gifts and Homeware.

Aksara's flagship store and headquarters are in the Kemang area, while Aksara Cilandak Town Square, also in South Jakarta, was opened on Aug. 18, 2003. Aksara's third branch, Aksara Plaza Indonesia, began operations in July of 2004. Aksara, which employs more than 100 personnel, operates under the motto: serving customers in a passionate, dynamic, creative, service-oriented and fun way, celebrating individuality. Aksara is not merely a bookstore, but part of a lifestyle. Similar facilities are offered by Kinokuniya. This bookstore has a branch in Plaza Senayan, South Jakarta, next to Starbucks, and is also a lifestyle icon for many Jakartans. Kinokuniya, which is a major bookstore in its home country, Japan, has 1,850 square meters of floor space in Plaza Senayan.

Present in Jakarta for the past 14 years, it boasts a setting akin to Jakarta's traditional markets. Its store on the fifth floor of Sogo Department Store combines Japanese and Indonesian features. Here one can find books and publications in various languages displayed side by side.

The traditional market concept seems to fit the uniqueness of Kinokuniya, which means a house in the Kinokuni area. Another plus point is that the bookstore offers a huge range of books. Fans of English novels will be pleased with their complete range including thrillers, in addition to scientific publications, travelogues and so forth. What is interesting is that one can find a large number of comic books, such as Superman, X-Men and the like. For those starting their career in film there are also many reference books.

Paulus A.Tandagi, General Manager of PT Kinokunia Bukindo, said that more than 200,000 titles were available in the bookstore, comprising 32 categories of English books, 18 categories of Japanese books and 30 categories in Mandarin. "Well, I must admit we have a rather limited selection of books in Indonesian," he explained.

A bookstore that has a voluminous collection of Indonesian books is Gunung Agung. Gunung Agung is a large bookstore which has been around for decades. This leading bookstore has recently developed a new concept of its own in Kelapa Gading Mall and Senayan City, called the TGA Bookstore. Compared to its older stores, the TGA Bookstore is definitely better designed and modern. Its interior is based on the corporate colors, red and blue, while the lighting is bright without the glare. The number and range of books offered are simply amazing. All this makes TGA Bookstore a comfortable spot while at the same time it promotes reading as part of a modern lifestyle.

TGA Bookstore with its brand new concept seems to have broken away from the old paradigm that a bookstore should only sell books. Here you can find many products including computers and computer accessories of various brands. These are sold in a corner called the Computer Station. Another corner offers a wide range of office equipment, such as tables, chairs, safes, fax machines, telephones and so on. Stationery and unique, fancy gifts can also be found in another corner, including a full range of school items.

Another bookstore with added value is Periplus. More than 30,000 titles, mostly imported, are available in each of its branches. Most of its branches are cozy; several have coffee shops like the one in Kemang, South Jakarta and Bali Galeria Mall. Periplus here, which is a part of The Periplus Publishing Group that has stores in Singapore, Tokyo and North Clarendon, USA, is indeed an enjoyable place to hunt for books. Although Periplus branches here are relatively small, between 100 and 150 square meters, they are still well designed. The Periplus store design by Jaya Ibrahim is semi minimalist. The use of wood which dominates the design gives the place a warm and homey ambience. The other thing about its design that catches the eye is the touch of local architectural features.

Periplus has an excellent range of books and magazines. Its cozy atmosphere and helpful staff make it a bookstore with style. International bookstores are indeed flourishing in Indonesia, but Periplus, established some six years ago, has a special place in the hearts of the country's book lovers. Through cooperation with publishers Periplus is able to offer lower prices compared to its competitors. "That is one of the reasons why Periplus has been able to survive amid competition from established and new competitors," said Judo Suwidji, General Manager of Periplus.

For a wide range of titles Periplus has excellent access to leading publishers in Singapore, Tokyo, New York and Sydney. Indeed this kind of network is vital for such a business in getting quality books. It is a known fact that every month hundreds of titles are published by international publishers. "We need a good relationship with leading international publishers to get complete information on books, including best sellers. The Top 50 New York Times Best Seller Book List, for example, is always available at Periplus," said Judo. (Burhanuddin Abe)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cooling products in heated market competition

The market demands that household appliances today should not only be more practical but also more modern. This pushes producers to compete with their best products in terms of design and function. LG, for example, launched its Livia series of modern refrigerators this year. According to the president director of LG Electronics Indonesia (LGEIN), Lee Kee-Ju, Livia has been specially produced to meet the lifestyle needs of urbanites. These refrigerators for the premium market are available in different storage capacities, ranging from 350 liters to 700 liters and are sold at about Rp 9 million per unit.

This refrigerator has a number of features that the producer boasts can promote a healthy lifestyle. The first of these is its sealed vegetable box. This box, where you keep vegetables and fruit, has been designed to be airtight. In this way, fresh vegetables and fruit will not oxidize as fast and therefore they will not rot easily. The second feature is vita light, which provides lighting for the fruit and vegetables. Vita light stimulates the production of chlorophyll by photosynthesis so the vitamin content in vegetables will be maximized. The third feature is the green ion door cooling, which produces negative ions from green tea extract to eradicate bacteria and foul smells.

Banking on this innovative product, LG has been nurturing an ambition to push its sales. In 2006, a Growth for Knowledge research placed LG in top place in refrigerator sales, securing an 18 percent market share.

Samsung Electronics also does not want to be left behind. In the Digital Home Appliances Roadshow in Jakarta this year, this South Korean producer launched a series of digital household appliances. This shows Samsung's desire to promote sales through innovative technologies and its desire to lead the regional market in the refrigerator and washing machine category in 2009. "With the latest Samsung technology, we will continue to supply the market with a series of complete products, by blending the best in function and esthetics," said Park Hee-Hong, managing director of PT Samsung Electronics Indonesia, some time ago.

At present Samsung is the market leader in the category of side-by-side refrigerators in the five markets in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, and it is ranked second overall in the washing machine and refrigerator category. With a perfect combination of innovative technology and stylish design, Samsung's household appliances have earned a number of consumer awards. Samsung RM25 premium refrigerator, for example, which uses the first Quatro cooling system in the world, was one of must-have gadgets in 2006 according to Time magazine and has earned the Good Buy award from Good Housekeeping magazine.

Obviously, Indonesia is a huge market for household appliances, including air conditioners, a necessity in tropical countries. In fact the sales volume of air conditioners in Indonesia has been increasing from year to year. The air-conditioner market records nationwide sales of some 12 million units per year. Of course, this is inseparable from the fact that there is an increasing demand for air conditioners following the emergence of a larger number of people in the middle to upper income bracket.

LG is one of the market leaders in air conditioners. Although LG did not introduce its air conditioners in the Indonesian market until 2002, it has quickly secured sales of some 80,000 units per year or about 20 percent of the national market. Generally, there are two types of LG air conditioners: Edenia Plasma and Goldfin/Plasmafin Split. Both use the technology that makes it possible for the air conditioner to absorb small particles like dust, cigarette smoke and foul smells and produce cool and healthy air.

Sharp is a very strong Japanese brand and does not want to be left out of the air-conditioner business. Its latest product introduces plasma cluster technology. Like the technology used in LG products, the plasma cluster technology produces a healthy atmosphere because this air conditioner produces positive and negative ions that can destroy bacteria or viruses found in a room. The use of plasma cluster technology is known to be able to lower pollution levels by up to 0.001 percent.

Meanwhile, for more premium products, Sharp relies on its Jetstream G6 series, which are split air conditioners using fan technology with a blowing capacity that is 15 times stronger than usual, and 500 AC (KC-6500E), which can be placed on the floor. It uses humidifier technology that can multiply air filtering.

For the Indonesian market, PT Sharp Electronics Indonesia has set a sales target of some 10,000 units, particularly for the hi-end AC series, which are intended for higher-income consumers. With these premium products, Sharp hopes to be able to promote the brand image of Sharp in the domestic air-conditioner market as it has now secured only about 10 percent of the market share, after Panasonic and LG.

Sharp premium products are indeed not alone in the market. They have quite a few challengers and one of these is Haier of the HSU-09LR03 and HSU-12LR03 series, which were only released in April. Haier, the largest Chinese manufacturer has introduced air conditioners in attractive designs. Haier air conditioners also use a microgen filter to minimize and overcome unpleasant smells in the room and prevent the growth of fungi. This air conditioner also contains vitamin C, which is good for the skin. Wow!

With all these superior qualities, Haier, which has secured 22.6 percent of the market share in China, aims to penetrate the Indonesian market with a sales target set at 100,000 units this year. What is clear is that the Indonesian market is indeed highly lucrative and attractive to air conditioner producers. Business competition is also very keen. Aside from LG, Samsung, Sharp and Haier, there are National, Electrolux, Sanken and other brand names. Indeed, while air conditioners function to cool us down, business competition is heating up. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 23, 2007

Window to the world, window to business?

"Books are a window to the world" is not an empty saying. Reading books certainly broadens our horizons and increases our knowledge. However, in Indonesia, books are not one of life's essentials. Interest in reading among Indonesians is the lowest in Southeast Asia, lagging behind Malaysians, Thais and Singaporeans.

This low interest in reading is probably connected with the country's low income per capita. Buying books here is not a priority for most. However, is it really correct to assume that low purchasing power affects interest in reading?

Well, the answer could be yes or no. The fact is certain books enjoy a great readership here. Indonesians also caught the Harry Potter fever, making JK Rowling's books best sellers here. Indeed Nobel class novels, such as those written by Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, etc. do not interest many, but teenager novels sell quite well.

Chicklit, short for chick literature, are novels that mostly tell about the world of women in their 20s, about the trials and tribulations of a young woman's career and love life. It is about their struggle in coping with the quarterlife crisis. Such novels seem to offer a new insight into young urban women and have drawn the interest of many readers.

Gagas Media is one of the country's publishers that believes in this concept. Established on July 4, 2003 it has quite a number of such popular novels with the teenage segment as the target market. Some of its successful books are: Jomblo, Cintapucino, Miss Jutek, Sihir Cinta and Kok Putusin Gue.

Gagas Media, which publishes at least four titles every month, has a vision to introduce books as something popular. Another publisher, Gramedia, which started out in the business in 1970, has also joined the chicklit bandwagon by publishing the metropop novels written by some of the country's best sellers in this genre -- Albertine Endah, Syahmedi Dean and several others.

Next to pop novels, religious literature is starting to interest a larger number of readers, so much so that according to Kompas Study and Analysis Center such books have for the past four years been leading in sales, just slightly below comics and children's books. This trend has been strategically anticipated by Gramedia as well as other publishers, such as Mizan, LKIS and others.

The strength of Gramedia, which was established by the Kompas Gramedia Group, lies in its interesting topics as well as its distribution system. From a small 25-square-meter shop on Jl. Gajah Mada, West Jakarta, in 2002 Gramedia bookstore had 50 major stores spread throughout the country's large cities. In the early days it sold only books, however in later years the products offered included stationery, fancy gifts, office equipment, sports items as well as high-tech products like CD-ROM and audio-video books.

The marketing of Gramedia is also supported by a large number of international and domestic publishers and suppliers, including its own internal publishing companies, such as Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Elex Media Komputindo, Gramedia Widya Sarana, Bhuana Ilmu Populer and Gramedia Magazines Publishing. For foreign books Gramedia has a links to a huge number of leading international publishers that today number more than 250.

Among the United States publishers are Simon & Schuster, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill, Maxwell Macmillan, Addison Wesley, John Wiley, Harper Collins, Bantam, Random House and Baker & Taylor, while from Europe there are Penguin, Cambridge, Oxford, Elsevier, Grossohaus, Hachette, Longmans and MacMillan. For Japanese books Gramedia has links with Kondasha, Japan Publication and Toppan while publishers from other Asian countries include Canfonian, Asiapac, UBSPD, S. Chand, S.S. Mubaruk, Pan Pacific, Mighty Mind, Federal Publication and many others.

What about foreign books? Well, there is a niche for the book business in spite of the low interest in reading here. When one compares it with the low income per capita it is not a very accurate comparison in view of the book business in the country in the macro sense. Attractive foreign books enjoy a certain middle to upper-income bracket segment of the market.

Some bookstores are in fact doing very well in this premium segment, for example Periplus, Kinokuniya, Aksara, Maruzen and Karisma just to mention a few. The market for imported books is quite large, such as books on graphic design, architecture, media, interior design and management. Glossy coffee table books offer good reading material and also function as an attractive display item. "Occasionally, people buy books on impulse. They are attracted by a book's appearance and decide to buy it," said Hana Yakin, senior business manager of Periplus, which specializes in imported books and has 35 outlets in several big cities in Indonesia. "What makes our books sought after is that they are on topics that Indonesian publishing houses do not produce. For that reason, imported books can serve as important reference."

The problem is, however, the foreign book business is certainly not an easy one. The return is very slow as it is not a massive business. The owner of such a bookstore has to have a passion for this business.

When one dares to open such a business one must be sure that there is sufficient capital for quiet times. A large amount of capital is in fact required because the location has to be very strategic. The store is not a place to display books on simple racks, but it has to be a sort of a meeting point that is convenient and comfortable. Plus, there should be sofas for enjoyable reading, Internet facilities and a cafe serving drinks and snacks for customers.

Indeed, competition is tough as local bookstores are also importing foreign books, which means they are taking their slice of the pie. On top of that, local bookstores offer translated versions of the imported books that are sold at high prices at the major bookstores. The translated books are on the bookshelves within a week of the original versions. While it is no easy game to work in such a narrow niche it does not mean that there are no opportunities for the 'think smart and act smart' businessperson. (B. Gunawan)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Modern electronic stores increasingly aggressive

Hyperstores are now quite a common sight in major cities. This phenomenon has unconsciously lured consumers from various social groups with the promise of modern facilities and other added benefits. Even the industry players have been showing rapid growth. There are a number of major players like Agis, Electronic City, Electronic Solution, Best Denki and others that are geared toward a particular market segment like Bang & Olufsen (B & O) as well as a number of other new players.

In the 1980s, Indonesians were believed to be the largest consumer tourist groups bound for shopping blitzes in Singapore. However, with the passage of time, major cities in Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, have turned into megapolitans. As a result, hyperstores are to be found everywhere. A number of these hyperstores involve giant retailers like Carrefour, Giant and Hypermart. As a result, these giant retailers have been dragged into a price war. Today, therefore, it is the consumers who benefit from this, enjoying lower prices, guaranteed quality and reliable after-sales service.

Therefore, it is not surprising to find modern electronic stores swarming with visitors. These stores come in two broad categories. First, electronic stores that are part of giant retailer outlets like Carrefour, Giant and Hypermart. In these retail stores, prospective consumers may choose the items they wish to buy and compare one item against another on the basis of price and features. The products on sale are categorized on the basis of types, not brands. Second, there are the electronic shops that sell only electronic goods such as Agis, Electronic City, Electronic Solution and so forth. In these modern electronic stores, the goods on offer are laid out according to brand. In concept, the layout resembles an exhibition.

In fact, in Indonesia, Agis was the first modern electronic hyperstore. Agis has gained great popularity as it opened in Indonesia at a time when Indonesia, particularly major cities like Jakarta, were experiencing an electronic craze.

In the early 1990s there were many electronic exhibitions recording sales that increased from one year to the next. Owing to this favorable phenomenon, Electronic City came into being in 2001 as one of the pioneers in modern electronic retailers. "It was Electronic City that initiated the use of a retail concept that resembles an electronic exhibition," said Harjanto Joewono, Commercial Director of Electronic City when The Jakarta Post met him some time ago.

This concept has earned a favorable response from giant electronic companies like Sharp, Sony, Samsung, LG, Toshiba and others. These companies are allotted a space for their products just like in an exhibition. If they take part in an electronic exhibition at the Jakarta International Convention Center (JICC), for example, these companies must pay for their space but at Electronic City they are exempted from this payment. This means that these companies can put their products of permanent exhibit for brand-minded consumers. For electronic companies, this concept is very attractive and advantageous. Another plus point is that the location of Electronic City is quite strategic so that electronic companies do not have to erect and take down their stands like they do in an exhibition, which usually lasts for only a week.

One of the competitors of Electronic City is Electronic Solution. What is interesting about Electronic Solution is that it applies a concept of blending two different genres. Household products are offered at affordable prices and laid out as they are in retail stores. These are placed side by side on the basis of their types, for example electric fans, electric irons, blenders and so forth. As a result, visitors can choose what they wish to buy and then compare the prices and features of the products they desire. This means that it is possible for a consumer to buy a product within his or her budget. Meanwhile, branded products, which are usually expensive, are arranged on the basis of their brand names just like at Electronic City.

One of the new players in this industry is Best Denki, a giant Japanese electronic retail network. The outlet located at Senayan City is its 594th and is believed to be the largest in Asia, outside Japan. In addition, there are also more segmented electronic retail players, namely Bang & Olufsen (B&O). B&O is a famous brand from Sweden.

B & O indeed has a more specific target market as the products it offers are high-end in nature and suit the upper-income group. The products are in the audio-visual, telephone, sound system and other super-sophisticated multimedia categories. The prices, however, also tend to be very high as they suit the character of the target market of B&O.

The rapid growth of modern electronic stores is certainly inseparable from the various benefits they offer in comparison with traditional electronic shops. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the public has become increasingly addicted to buying electronic goods at modern electronic stores. At first, buyers were worried that the prices offered at major stores would be higher, However, after visiting the stores, their worries evaporate and they will see before them a greater variety of products on offer of a guaranteed quality.

In addition, other supporting factors include the comfort of shopping at the store, competitive prices, financing facilities and reliable after-sales services. Then the prices of the products on offer are fixed. As an illustration, there are 12 choices of credit financing companies in collaboration with Electronic City. Nine of them are banks issuing credit cards while the other three are financing companies like AEON, Adira and Sumber Kredit. "People used to embarrassed to buy on credit but that is no longer so. Today, buying things on credit has become part of the urban lifestyle. Electronic City is the first to introduce a 0 percent installment program," said Harjanto, adding that close to 35 percent of consumers at the store make purchases on credit.

It is this that has helped Electronic City take the lead in the modern electronic market in Jakarta. According to Harjanto, every month no fewer than 60,000 visitors come to Electronic City in Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD). It is not surprising, therefore, that Electronic City took only two years to reach break-even point. Today, the domination of Electronic City has also been felt in other places in Greater Jakarta, Bandung, Bali and Medan.

One of the minus points of a traditional market is that it does not offer fixed prices. If a buyer is good at haggling, he or she can buy something at a lower price. Otherwise, he or she will buy something at a price higher than its actual value even though the item may not have a direct guarantee from the principal. In some cases, the guarantee is provided only by the shops. This means a consumer must be really careful and observant before deciding to buy something. Then, in a traditional market, a consumer will be charged 3 percent for a transaction using a credit or debit card. In a modern electronic store, this transaction cost is waived.

Nevertheless, as Harjanto acknowledged, in composition the market for electronic goods is still dominated by the traditional markets. Modern electronic stores can absorb only about 10 - 15 percent of the existing market share. However, in fact, growth has been quite fast as in the early 1990s retailing of this type secured only about 5 percent of the market share. (Iwan S. Jatmiko)
The Jakarta Post, November 23, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

V2: One Stop Entertainment

Kawasan Kota dan Jakarta Barat memang tidak pernah berhenti menunjukan geliat dalam dunia malamnya yang selalu melekat dengan berbagai image dan pandangan yang ada. V2 merupakan salah satu 'anggota' baru yang menghadirkan konsep pub, lounge, dan karaoke. Tidak ada salahnya mengintip tempat ini sebagai alternatif hiburan.

V2 menghadirkan suasana modern dan sedikit sentuhan futuristik, dengan lampu-lampu berwarna-warni dengan berbagai bentuk yang memenuhi beberapa sudut, sehingga membuat tempatnya berkesan 'meriah'. Area pertama yang akan menyapa Anda saat tiba di sini adalah area lobinya, yang kemudian mengantar Anda ke area yang disebut lounge, yang dari penampakannya justru lebih menyerupai club. Di sini interiornya cukup menarik dengan sisi-sisi dinding yang menyerupai gua es, serta berbagai dekorasi dan lighting yang sangat psychedelic, sehingga dapat membuat Anda merasa seperti berada di dunia lain. Keluar dari area ini Anda akan menemukan lorong-lorong yang berisi berbagai ruang karaoke yang merupakan konsep utama dari tempat ini. Tidak tanggung-tanggung, di sini terdapat 21 standard rooms, 6 VIP rooms, dan 1 VVIP room.

Area lounge atau club-nya menampilkan live band yang setiap hari memainkan musik all around, dan dilanjutkan dengan DJ performance yang memainkan musik ber-genre Selatan. Untuk ruang karaokenya, tentu saja Anda dapat memilih musik kesukaan Anda sendiri. Berbagai jenis crowd yang datang dari berbagai penjuru Jakarta. Sebagai tempat one stop entertainment yang baik, V2 memilki daftar minuman dan makanan yang cukup lengkap untuk menemani Anda selama berada di dalam ruang karaoke maupun di dalam lounge-nya.

Duta Merlin Plaza Lt.3, Jl. Gajah Mada 3-5, Jakarta Pusat 10130. Tel (021) 638 65000. Buka : 20.00 – 05.00 WIB.

Sumber: FreeMagz

Red & White: Homey Wine Lounge

Wine lounge, wine bar, atau apa pun namanya, benar-benar sedang menjadi tren saat ini. Dan hal ini sangat menyenangkan sekali, karena banyak sekali tempat-tempat wine yang bisa menjadi pilihan. Yang akan menjadi tempat hip berikutnya adalah Red & White.

Berbeda dengan kebanyakan wine lounge yang berkesan pretentious, Red & White justru tampil santai dengan tatanan interior layaknya sebuah rumah yang nyaman. Memasuki tempatnya (yang memang berbentuk rumah), Anda akan langsung menemukan berbagai comfy sofas yang bertebaran mengisi setiap sudut ruangan, serta sebuah bar dan beberapa bar stool. Bersiaplah lupa waktu saat berada di dalamnya, karena tempatnya benar-benar cozy!

Berawal dengan musik-musik chill out, diakhiri dengan chill house ketika malam mulai larut. Orang-orang kreatif, profesional, dan ekspatriat, khususnya Anda yang mengaku wine lover. Banyak sekali varian wine yang dapat Anda beli dalam bentuk botol di sini, dengan persentase yaitu 60% dari Australia, 30% dari Prancis, dan sisanya dari negara-negara lain seperti Chili, Jerman, Italia, Afrika Selatan, dan sebagainya. Yang menarik, setiap jenis dan produk wine yang ada dalam daftar menunya memiliki deskripsinya masing-masing sehingga sangat memudahkan Anda dalam memilih wine yang akan Anda beli. Tempat favorit baru untuk hang out, saat tempat-tempat wine lainnya terlalu packed.

Jl. Kemang Raya No.16B, Jakarta 12730. Tel (021) 719 4309. Buka : 10.00 – 23.00 WIB (weekdays) dan 10.00 – 02.00 WIB.

Sumber: FreeMagz

Ads Bar: Meet, Deal, and Drink

Kalau Anda mengira nama bar ini adalah singkatan dari kata”advertising”, Anda benar. Bar yang masih sangat baru ini memang didedikasikan bagi Anda para advertising people untuk menghabiskan waktu di dalamnya untuk bisnis maupun santai, sesuai dengan slogannya yang berbunyi “meet, deal, and drink”.

Penampakan bar ini dari luar tidak jauh berbeda dengan berbagai bar-bar kecil di kawasan Kemang, demikian pula dengan penampakan bagian dalamnya. Karena ingin menghadirkan konsep advertising tadi, nantinya interior Ads Bar akan dipenuhi dengan segala sesuatu yang tentunya berbau advertising, misalnya berbagai logo yang menghiasi dinding serta video commercial yang berlalu-lalang lewat plasma screen yang tersebar di dalam ruangan. Berharap saja konsep ini bisa rampung sepenuhnya di tahun ini.

Di sini ada DJ performance setiap hari yang memainkan musik-musik dance komersial, sedangkan setiap hari senin ada penampilan akustik yang memainkan musik cozy rock. Young executive and advertising people who wants to meet, deal, and drink. Sebagai bar yang baik Ads Bar tentu menghadirkan berbagai minuman standar yang sering Anda temui di bar atau club. Jika ingin mencoba special cocktails-nya, jangan lewatkan Barcode, Hydrophilic, Ozone, dan Billboard. Well, kita nantikan saja kiprah Ads Bar di tengah persaingan bar scene di Kemang.

Jl. Kemang Raya No.88, Jakarta Selatan. Tel (021) 719 3418. Buka: 17.00 – 03.00 WIB (weekdays) dan 17.00 – 04.00 WIB.

Sumber: FreeMagz

Community health responsibility of all

Believe it or not, every minute 12 children die due to starvation or hunger-related diseases, according to the latest data from the World Food Program. Ironically, 13 million children suffer from starvation in Indonesia today.

According to the 2006 records of the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), chronic starvation hit some 854 million people in the world, with 96 percent of them, or 820 million people, found in developing countries. More than half of this number, or 350 million to 450 million were children. Compared with AIDS, malaria and TB, starvation is the greatest threat to children's survival. Even the number of children with these three diseases put together is still smaller than the number of starving children!

It is this reality that has become of deep concern to many parties. Not only the government but also private companies have begun to show their concern about this problem. Indeed, corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the health sphere is increasingly becoming the focus point of CSR activities carried out by a number of companies, particularly those with a business focus in the health and food areas, such as PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk (consumer goods), PT Nestle Indonesia Tbk (producer of milk and nutritional products) and Fonterra Brands Indonesia (milk producer).

Unilever, for example, teamed up with the World Food Program (WFP) in late April 2007 to fight global hunger. Globally, said the human resources and corporate relations director of PT Unilever Indonesia, Tbk, Josef Bataona, Unilever will donate 2 million euro this year. The four countries to enjoy this assistance are Kenya, Indonesia, Ghana and Colombia.

There will be several other activities carried out under the partnership between Unilever and WFP in their cooperation called "Together for Child Vitality". First, through one of Unilever's products, Blue Band, there will be intensive promotion to attract more attention to the problem of starvation and to collect funds for WFP.

In line with the WFP program, there will be a nutritious food for children campaign (the School Feeding program). Unilever will help further develop this program by donating food products for additional nutrition. Along with WFP, Unilever will also be involved in a campaign on nutrition, sanitation and health in schools.

In this respect, said the deputy country director of the World Food Program (WFP), Indonesia, Bradley Busetto, WFP has so far helped 1.2 million Indonesian children by providing them with nutritious food through food aid activities in schools and health centers in such regions as Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Jakarta and its surroundings, East Java, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara.

Almost half of Indonesia's regencies have experienced food shortages, and this collaboration with Unilever will help WFP reach children in the regions that need help. Unilever also encourages its employees to be actively involved in this partnership program for three years. In Jakarta, Unilever's employees took part in the "Fight Hunger: Walk the World" program on May 13, 2007. Unilever has some 20,000 employees worldwide, while in Indonesia its workforce stands at some 3,300 people.

This year, WFP has made available food donations for 21.7 million school children in 74 countries, including Indonesia. Most of them are girls from disadvantaged families. Of some 21.7 million children that have been targeted in this program, some 50,000 are Indonesian children.

Everybody will agree that to fight hunger among children is admirable and that the program must be immediately implemented in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The Indonesian government, as Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Abu Rizal Bakrie has said, has, in the context of the MDG, set a target of reducing malnutrition and the maternity and child mortality rate by 2010.

Besides Unilever, PT Nestle Indonesia Tbk is also seriously carrying out CSR activities in the health area for the community. Activities are focused on three main things: (i) improvement of Indonesian families' nutrition; (ii) health and (iii) the environment.

Since it was first established in Indonesia in 1971, this company has been committed to improving the nutrition of Indonesian children. "Especially when cases of poor nutrition among Indonesian children were discovered in 2005. As a milk producer, Nestle feels called upon to give the best and will make every effort to improve the nutrition of Indonesian children," said the HR and corporate affairs director of PT Nestle Indonesia Tbk, Syahlan Siregar.

In respect to nutrition, he said, Nestle's concern is not only about malnourished Indonesian children but also obese children. Nestle provides free milk to malnourished children. Meanwhile, to improve the nutritional status of over-nourished children, Nestle Indonesia has established cooperation with the Sports Medicine Department of the School of Medicine of the University of Indonesia. Under this cooperation, efforts will be made to educate over-nourished children and provide them with sports training to burn excess calories through a program called Bermain Asyik (Playing is Nice)

Another company carrying out a CSR program in the health area is PT Fonterra Brands Indonesia, a producer of milk under the brand names of Anlene, Anmum, Anchor, WAM and Chesdale. Fonterra is intensively promoting walking 10,000 steps every day for bone improvement. "We are committed to consistently educating the community in an effort to prevent osteoporosis. This time we are popularizing a daily walk of 10,000 steps," said the marketing manager of Fonterra Brands Indonesia, Baskorohadi Sukatno.

Another business player running a CSR program linked with sports is TNT Indonesia. Through Walk the World program, TNT globally expects to be able to create public awareness of the need to improve health. This program is also supported by the World Health Organization, FAO and UNESCO.

Due to a great many disasters that have befallen Indonesia in recent years, part of the special funds allocated by the government to address community problems has been spent on emergency responses. That is why the government hopes the private sector and the general public will participate in programs that improve community health. Most urgent in this respect is to combat hunger among children. Obviously, solving community health problems cannot be left solely to the government, given its limited funds and resources. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 21, 2007

Leadership, involvement, communication key to CSR

CSR has become one of the biggest corporate fads in Indonesia, and armies of CSR consultants have been thriving lately, capitalizing on the trend. Nevertheless, to some, CSR remains contested terrain, though the majority believe that CSR has become the mainstream business philosophy of today.

Back to the basic thinking underlying CSR, which is the concept that a corporation' responsibilities are to all its stakeholders, nowadays more and more CEOs realize that companies must engage in issues that their stakeholders care most about. Conceptually, the long-term interests of business are best served when its profitability and growth are accomplished alongside the development of communities, the protection and sustainability of the environment and the improvement of people's quality of life. The big question is, of course, how to go about it.

Observation of CSR best practices (in Asian countries and in Indonesia in particular) reveals the following:

Address a relevant issue and provide a business case
No business can solve all of society's problems, or bear the cost of doing so. Instead, each company must select issues that intersect with its particular business. The essential test that should guide CSR is not only whether a cause is worthy but whether it presents an opportunity to create shared value - that is, a meaningful benefit for society that is also valuable to the business (doing good and doing well). An example is an integrated health promotion program initiated by a company producing personal care products that promotes a healthy lifestyle for community members and simultaneously supports its brands' reputation.

A flour producer empowers noodle-maker SMEs through training, financial and marketing support. Another example is an integrated farming system that aims to create economically self reliant communities and provide an alternative source of income to illegal logging, initiated by a pulp and paper producer. And a popular best practice conducted by many companies in the Asian region is "greening the supply chain".

Involve relevant stakeholders as partners
To demonstrate responsibility to stakeholders, involving them as partners in CSR programs to capture the spirit of sharing is the best strategy. Smart companies realize that building partnerships with relevant stakeholders results in synergy, which in turn adds value to society. Moreover, by being involved in partnerships, stakeholders will also take ownership of the program, hence success is better secured. An example is the Surabaya Environmental Program in 13 villages, the objective of which is to improve the environmental condition by changing the community's paradigm on environmental issues, especially waste management and greening, using the bottom-up approach.

This involves the government sanitation office, a state university, NGOs and the mass media. A beverage company that is very much into supporting education by providing a good number of learning centers in Indonesia involved not only local government officials and NGOs, but also invited the public to not only become the program's beneficiaries but also active players for community learning.

Communicate well
CSR means different things to different people, and in Indonesia we can say that understanding of CSR is still poor and patchy. There is always the perception that CSR is just a marketing gimmick, or undertaken by a company as corporate greenwashing. Effective communication with various stakeholders is therefore of paramount importance. CSR is not only about doing good and doing well; CSR is also about doing good and telling it well!

Leadership is critical. Business leaders play a central role in championing CSR in ways that are consistent with the company's principles, values and purposes and are responsive to the expectations of its various stakeholders. The CEO and senior management should assume responsibility by acting as champions in pushing forward the CSR goals and agenda, support and commit company time and resources for it. It does mean a lot to have a CEO wholeheartedly say: "CSR is a pillar of our business," doesn't it?

Corporations may get inspiration from the above tips. However, for any corporation, strategy must go beyond best practices. It is about choosing a unique positiondoing things differently from competitors to better address a relevant issue or stakeholder concern. (Chrysanti Hasibuan-Sedyono)

The Jakarta Post, November 21, 2007

Companies need expert advice in CSR programs

At a training session on social corporate responsibility (CSR), a trainer asked participants to ponder over how they would spend Rp 500 million from a company to meet the requirements of a new law that obliges limited liability companies, particularly those in the natural resources sector, to conduct CSR programs.

New to the CSR idea, most of the participants suggested buying food for street children, orphanages and nursing homes. Certainly, most of them thought that CSR translated into short-term charity work for the sake of charity itself or to comply with the new law. It is not unusual to come across such an erroneous idea among boards of directors or commissioners of various companies. The in-house public relations departments in those companies are often quick in spending the money and inviting the press to ceremonies where donations are handed over to needy parties.

Here the role of CSR consultants or specialists, whether from among the staff or an external consulting agency, is very critical in explaining what CSR is all about. It is the role and the task of the CSR specialist to advise companies about a solid, comprehensive and effective CSR program. Their role encompasses coaching companies to understand and identify their key stakeholders and to formulate the vision, mission and short-term and long-term goals of the companies' CSR program. Further down the line it includes guiding the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the CSR programs, including measuring the program's deliverables and identifying areas for improvement.

CSR consultants or specialists have a critical role in opening the eyes of many corporations' boards of directors and commissioners that CSR is not just doing good for its own sake or for the sake of meeting legal obligations. A good CSR program is part and parcel of boosting the company's bottom line. Corporations need to be made aware that implementing a CSR program is actually working for the interests of the corporations themselves. This may sound selfish but nobody denies the fact that corporations are not charitable non-profit institutions.

Therefore, there is nothing to be ashamed of in helping others for the sake of furthering one's own interests as long as such assistance benefits those who are being assisted in a real and effective way. There is no need to pretend that spending money on CSR is an act of altruism. With this idea in mind, the CSR consultants or specialists can start working together with the corporations to engage their stakeholders in developing the CSR program. Stakeholders include all parties directly or indirectly affected by the company's operation.

The stakeholders certainly include the company's own employees, communities in the company's area of operations, and its chain of suppliers, government with its own programs and concerns, and even the non-governmental organizations (NGO) concerned with the environment and/or people's empowerment.

Partnerships with stakeholders such as NGOs, university agencies and relevant government institutions can be very critical to the process and success of a CSR program. In collaboration with CSR specialists and stakeholders, the company will be able to identify the short-term and long-term deliverables of the CSR program, which should somehow go hand in hand with the corporate objectives. But a good CSR program does not stop here since it will not reach its corporate objectives if it is not effectively communicated to the stakeholders. It is in effectively communicating this program that companies truly need professional advice.

Communication is not limited to press releases and coverage of the launching, updating the progress and success of the CSR programs but also in designing and writing a good and transparent sustainability report. Nowadays, the sustainability report that a company publishes annually has become an increasingly important means of corporate communications for stakeholders. A good sustainability report transparently discloses corporate accountability in meeting its economic, environmental and social obligations. These three aspects are known as the Triple Bottom Line.

In Indonesia, winning the Indonesia Sustainability Report Award (ISRA) boosts a company's reputation among its stakeholders. The ISRA is issued by the Indonesian Accountants Association in collaboration with the Stock Market Supervisory Agency, the Jakarta Stock Exchange and the State Ministry for the Environment.

Winning such a reward will have a positive impact on the corporate bottom line as shown by the Edelman Stakeholder Research 2007. Operating in offices throughout the world, this public relations firm conducts this survey annually in Asian countries, including China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea and Australia. The Stakeholder Study shows that Asians are starting to appreciate socially responsible companies.

When asked about what they are inclined to do when they consider a company to be socially responsible, 44 percent of them said they would purchase the company's products or services, 14 percent said they would recommend the products and services to others, 12 percent said they would invest in them or buy their stock, 8 percent said they would pay a premium for the company's products or services, while 8 percent said they would do business with the company.

Interestingly, 5 percent of the people said they would forgive the company for occasional blunders, another 5 percent said they would work for such a company, and 2 percent of them said they would forgive such a company for inferior quality products or services. For Indonesian companies, such findings may wake them up to the fact that such a trend among stakeholders is approaching. Without the expert advice of CSR consultants or specialists and the implementation of good CSR programs and CSR reporting, they run the risk of being left behind. (Rudijanto)

The Jakarta Post, November 21, 2007

Mandatory CSR in Indonesia: Waiting for the details

Considerable controversy has accompanied the Indonesian government's recent enactment of legislation requiring corporations to participate in mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

Despite strong protests from the business community, and cynical indifference on the part of the public, the provision requiring mandatory participation in CSR programs was retained, although it was modified to cover only companies in natural resource-based sectors. The bill was passed on July 20, 2007 and became operative on Aug. 16, 2007 as Law No. 40/2007 concerning limited liability companies.

Article 74 stipulates that all companies engaged in the exploitation of natural resources must conduct environmental and social responsibility programs and that they will be liable to sanctions if they fail to do so. The funds expended on CSR programs are to be considered as part of a company's annual operating costs, and so can be set off against taxation liabilities.

The revised law also mandates disclosure of activities related to environmental and social responsibility programs in companies' annual reports. This stipulation has broad corporate support, given that disclosure is regarded as a "best practice" that has been required and practiced by the Capital Market Supervisory Agency (Bapepam) since last year.

In Indonesia, The Center for Sustainability reporting and business groups have lobbied for the adoption of such practices by Indonesian companies with considerable success. In 2004, only one listed company issued a sustainability report; in 2005, this had increased to four; by 2006, 12 companies issued stand-alone sustainability/CSR reports in addition to their annual financial reports.

Nevertheless, there is still a need for an ancillary set of regulations to augment and clarify Law No. 40/2007 in order that it can be transparently and consistently implemented. At the moment most corporations are still unclear as to what their specific obligations are, and the public suspects that is yet another legislative package that will be summarily ignored if compliance is either inconvenient or expensive. Careful consideration indeed will have to go into the formulation of this most critical aspect of CSR legislation in Indonesia.

In fact, creating the ancillary regulations will be more challenging than the formulation of the law itself; while the law expresses a general set of principles, and formulates a lofty goal, the details of how these principles will be implemented in practice needs to be contained and clarified in these regulations.

In order to establish these regulations, the government has established a special task force that is expected to complete its task by December 2007. The special task force appears to have adopted the following key approaches: 1) The ancillary regulations will focus on social and environmental issues only; 2) At every stage of the development of the ancillary regulations, stakeholders are invited to give input to the Special Task Force; and 3) The ancillary regulation on CSR will refer to and consolidate existing laws, regulations and standards;

Indonesia already has an abundance of legislation governing environmental and social issues. The difficulty is that these laws are scattered, unconnected, administered by different agencies and departments, sometimes redundant, and occasionally even contradictory. Clearly there is no need to create yet another set of laws in these areas.

Rather, the ancillary regulations will be a compilation and harmonization of the relevant existing laws, including those on issues related to the environment, water resources, biodiversity, general mining, oil and gas mining, forestry, labor, social security for employees, national social security system, human rights, state-owned enterprises, and foreign investment; the ancillary legislation will also address the central bank and capital market regulations.

Indications are that the ancillary regulations will not apply levy systems, requiring contributions to government departments from the corporations, and that the government will not collect funds from businesses for CSR programs. If the system is to be implemented in an ideal way, as seems likely, both the extent and the form of the CSR programs are going to be the business of businesses, not of a government body.

For this mammoth undertaking to be effective, however, it is absolutely vital that the new regulations and their monitoring be enforced constantly, regularly, consistently and transparently. With sufficient public awareness and the constant scrutiny of the business and international community, it is possible that these uniquely Indonesian social and environmental laws will not only look good on paper, but will actually have a measurable effect on the lives of the people of the region.

It is time that we in the business and environmental communities accept that the new laws exist; the time for protest is over. With mandatory CSR programs now established as law, corporations must consider what kinds of programs are most suitable to their circumstances and most beneficial to the community.

While laws have been established that make CSR programs mandatory, the manner in which these laws will be implemented will not be apparent until the ancillary regulations are in place. Thus, we will have to wait until the end of the year when these regulations are established to judge the effectiveness of what is shaping up to be an enlightened approach. (Ali Darwin and Patrick Guntensperger)

Ali Darwin is the executive director of the National Center for Sustainability Reporting and Patrick Guntensperger is a writer, lecturer and consultant specializing in sustainability and communications.

The Jakarta Post, November 21, 2007

Blogging party gets official stamp of approval

Bloggers and internet publishing in Indonesia gained new legitimacy Saturday when Communications and Information Minister Muhammad Nuh declared Oct. 27 National Bloggers Day.

The announcement was made at Pesta Blogger (blogger party) 2007, Indonesia’s first large meeting of bloggers, which around 500 people attended. “I can see today the Indonesian blogger community is developing the use of IT facilities and filling information gaps in the country with blogging,” the former rector of East Java’s November 10 Institute of Technology said.

He said the gathering and blogging were both “revolutionary” and deserved support. “Blogs can be educational, empowering and enlightening. That’s why I can guarantee you curbing blogs will never happen in this country,” said Nuh. “I also notice most of the bloggers are young, which is good. As the proverb says, ‘The future of a country is in hands of the young generation’. Wimar (Witoelar) is the only old one here,” he kiddingly said, to laughter from the audience. Having handled many talk shows, Wimar Witoelar was the moderator at a discussion at the gathering, which was initiated by public relations agency Maverick and driven by a team of bloggers.

Speaking at the discussion were Nuh, committee chairman Enda Nasution, Asia Blogging Network chief executive Budi Putra and Adrianto Gani of

Budi, a former Tempo journalist and now full-time blogger, highlighted the importance of blog contents. “No one will visit and revisit your blog no matter how cool your blog design is unless you have something substantial to offer,” he said. Well-developed content, Budi said, would automatically attract more visitors and might create business opportunities with advertisers as media for advertisement “is getting narrow”.

The gathering drew not only Jakartan bloggers, but also an Indonesian living in neighboring Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur and many others from West Sumatra’s Padang, West Java’s Bandung, Central Java’s Semarang, Yogyakarta, South Sulawesi’s Makassar and Central Sulawesi’s Poso. They are 150,000 bloggers in the country. A blogger and correspondent for The Jakarta Post in Poso, Ruslan Sangadji, said he had traveled to Jakarta with the help of friends. “I spent Rp 1.28 million (US$140) using the money I collected from my friends. And now I don’t have more money to go home,” he said, to laughter. “I eagerly came to learn how to build blogs for the Palu (Central Sulawesi) community.”

Violinist Maylaffayza, who writes for 11 blogs, was also among the participants. “Please do blog because blogging is all about reaching out to people, making friends from all around the world, creating personal relationships and can be very educational,” she said. (Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post)

Budi Putra, Bangga Berprofesi sebagai Blogger

Tahun 1996, seusai menyelesaikan kuliah di Fakultas Sastra Universitas Andalas, Padang, ia mendapat beasiswa belajar di Jepang. Saat dia berada di Jepang, pesawat Garuda Indonesia DC-10 mendapat musibah, terbelah menjadi tiga bagian di Bandara Fukuoka dan menewaskan tiga dari 261 penumpang yang sebagian besar warga Jepang.

Karena saat itu dia adalah wartawan untuk sebuah harian di Padang, Sumatera Barat, naluri kewartawanannya terpanggil. Ia menulis dan melaporkan peristiwa itu ke koran Singgalang, tempatnya bekerja. Bagi koran daerah, ini berita eksklusif yang dilaporkan langsung on the spot. Ia kirim laporan empat sampai lima kali lewat faksimile yang sangat mahal biayanya.

"Di Jepang internet sudah mewabah, tetapi saya tak tahu bagaimana memanfaatkannya," kenang Budi Putra, si penerima beasiswa, saat ditemui beberapa waktu lalu di Jakarta. Akan tetapi, ia segera sadar, "Kalaupun saya bisa memanfaatkannya, apa bisa tersambung ke Padang, wong di Jakarta saja internet masih langka."

Rasa minder karena gaptek (gagap teknologi), khususnya gagap teknologi informasi (TI), tak membuat dia terasingkan. Justru ia bangkit dan ingin menguasai TI. Apalagi setelah membaca buku Nicolas Negroponte, Being Digital, keinginannya menjadi bagian dari warga digital semakin menggebu-gebu.

Jepang adalah titik awal persinggungannya dengan teknologi internet. Sekembalinya ke Tanah Air, pria kelahiran 12 September 1972 ini langsung mengejar ketertinggalannya. Tetap, bagaimana caranya? Kebetulan di kantor pos Padang saat itu sudah tersedia, fasilitas milik PT Pos yang saat itu dipergunakan untuk mengirimkan wesel elektronik.

Lewat itulah Budi Putra yang gemar menulis sejak duduk di sekolah menengah pertama membenamkan diri di depan komputer. Dia menelisik bagaimana internet digunakan dan apa manfaatnya. "Saya bisa sewa sampai empat jam sehari. Padahal, saat itu biaya sewanya Rp 12.000 per jam," kata suami Elvi Susanti ini.

Perkenalan Budi Putra dengan TI membawanya ke alam yang tidak jauh dari dunia itu. Saat ia menjadi wartawan koran Tempo, ia juga diserahi tugas meliput TI dan mengelola versi on-line. Dengan berbekal ilmu TI yang dimilikinya pula, Budi Putra memutuskan keluar dari koran itu, lalu sepenuhnya hidup dan menghidupi diri dari pengetahuan TI, khususnya internet.

Bagaimana caranya ia hidup independen dari internet? Menjadi blogger! Itulah dunia usaha yang ditemukan Budi Putra dari hasil pengembaraan pengetahuannya tentang internet yang ia kenal saat berada di Jepang. Bagaimana blog alias catatan web pribadi itu bisa menjadi tumpuan kehidupan dan dapat digunakan sebagai tambang usaha? Budi Putra punya jawaban menarik.

Menurut dia, blog sekarang sudah tak bisa dianggap enteng dan sekadar pengisi waktu luang. Blog bisa berarti tambang uang. Technorati (situs pencatat web) mencatat, sampai September 2007 sudah terdapat 106 juta blog. Di Indonesia ada 130.000 blog. Sayang, tidak banyak orang tahu bagaimana menambangnya. Ada berbagai cara, tetapi Budi Putra "baru" menemukannya beberapa cara.

Pertama, blog yang mulai berkembang sejak 1998 itu adalah web yang bisa dipasangi iklan oleh pihak ketiga. Membuat blog sendiri gratis dari penyedia blog, seperti Blogger, Movable Type dan Wordpress. Pemasang iklan akan datang bila suatu blog diakses banyak visitor.

Kedua, memasang AdSense dari Google. Namun, nilai nominalnya sangat kecil karena bergantung pada lalu lintas web kita. Semakin banyak yang berkunjung, semakin tinggi kemungkinan iklan Google di web kita akan diklik oleh pengujung. Setiap iklan yang diklik itulah yang akan dibayar oleh Google.

Ketiga, menjadi pay blogger, yakni blogger berbayar. Seorang blogger dengan keahlian yang dimilikinya bisa diminta sebuah institusi media on-line untuk menulis kolom tetap. Pay blogger mendapat honor dari apa yang ditulisnya, besarnya antara Rp 300.000 dan Rp 500.000 per tulisan.

Keempat, blogger profesional bisa mengembangkan diri menjadi konsultan blog, tempat bertanya bagi perorangan atau perusahaan yang berminat membuat blog. Dia mendesain blog dan menjadi pembicara. "Saya memilih menjadi pay blogger dan konsultan blog," kata Budi Putra.

Karena merupakan tambang baru yang belum banyak digali orang, Budi Putra nekat meninggalkan pekerjaannya sebagai wartawan pada 1 Maret 2007. Ia sepenuhnya mencurahkan perhatian pada urusan blog, sampai-sampai profesi di kartu namanya pun tercantum sebagai blogger. "Saya tidak malu, malah bangga," ucapnya.

Budi Putra mendirikan perusahaan blog, yang boleh jadi perusahaan blog pertama di Indonesia, Asia Blogging Network (ABN). Sementara sebagai pay blogger, ia rutin menulis untuk harian The Jakarta Post. Tempat Budi ngeblog antara lain di CNET Asia, The Asia Tech, Indonesia Tech dan 3Gweek. Untuk blog yang didirikannya, Budi Putra berhasil mengumpulkan 40 blogger yang dibayar untuk menulis olahraga, gaya hidup, bisnis, dan teknologi.

Dilahirkan di Payakumbuh, perkenalan Budi Putra dengan dunia tulis-menulis dimulai sejak sekolah menengah pertama tahun 1987. Secara rutin tulisannya muncul di "Koran Masuk Sekolah" yang merupakan lembaran khusus Harian Singgalang. Saat sekolah menengah atas, tulisan dia dimuat antara lain di Tabloid Bola dan Majalah Gadis. Setelah reformasi pecah, tahun 1999 ia menerbitkan Harian Mimbar Minang.

Lahir dari pasangan Bachtiar dan Musril, keduanya guru di Payakumbuh, Budi Putra mengembangkan kariernya sebagai penulis. Tahun 2002 ia pindah ke Jakarta, bergabung dengan Grup Tempo. Kini, blogger yang sudah menulis lima buku teknologi internet ini mengajar di FISIP Universitas Indonesia tentang blog. Untuk melengkapi pengetahuan, ia memiliki 30 buku khusus tentang blog. Ia kuliah S-2 bidang manajemen komunikasi di universitas di mana dia mengajar mahasiswa S-1. Tesis yang ia susun pun tak jauh dari blog, yakni Political Marketing Through Blog, dengan kajian tiga menteri yang aktif ngeblog. (Pepih Nugraha)

Kompas, 20 November 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Welcome to the platinum community!

A credit card is not merely a loan facility for shopping but is also a status symbol. When someone pays for something with a credit card, particularly of the platinum class, what may come to mind is not only the high credit limit but also the high level of prestige involved.

The BNI Visa Platinum Card, for example, positions its owner as an established and successful individual, especially because it comes with a credit limit starting from Rp 75 million, giving the cardholder the freedom to make transactions at millions of merchants or ATMs in the Visa or Plus network the world over.

In addition, service access and features are made available for this "special individual", ranging from travel accident insurance of up to Rp 4 billion (about US$440,000), purchase protection of up to Rp 100 million and a "Perisai Plus" of up to Rp 300 million for facilities of The Platinum Life, which comprise Visa Platinum Club, Bon Appetite Club and Luxury Golf Holidays, all representing special offers from world-class merchants.

Although not in exactly the same way as BNI, Bank Niaga also pays special attention to premium-class customers. Through special programs for its premium credit cardholders, this bank, now over four decades in existence, continues to fulfill the expectations of its customers for an attractive credit card that gives them lots of benefits.

Bank Niaga has two service units for its top customers, namely Private Banking and Preferred Circle. Preferred Circle, established in 1991, is an exclusive banking service aimed at promoting relations with Bank Niaga clients so that they become loyal customers. Preferred Circle focuses on ease in transactions and optimum management of a customer's assets.

Each person's lifestyle and needs are indeed unique, which poses challenges for banks to meet the requirements that suit the changing times. It is for this reason that BCA launched its BCA Visa Platinum credit card in the middle of this year, when it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

A Visa Platinum Credit Card is an all-in-one package representing a combination of benefits offered by other BCA credit cards, such as the "Pay One For Two" offer at 21 cineplexes and Hard Rock Cafes in regards to BCA VISA Batman Credit Card and BCA MasterCard MC2, or special offers at particular outlets such as at Bakerz In, Healthy Choice and other places, in the case of BCA Gold Card Credit Card.

Of course, the Visa Platinum Credit Card also has its benefits, such as medical assistance covering health consultation services to evacuation, as well as life insurance worth Rp 1 billion in the case of an accident while traveling. "In addition, BCA collaborates with VISA to ensure that holders of this card can also enjoy the exclusive services offered by VISA worldwide privileges, with their round-the-clock services, and Visa Platinum Club," said Suwignyo Budiman, BCA director.

At least three banks have launched platinum credit cards this year. Besides BCA, Panin Bank introduced its Panin Platinum Visa and United Overseas Bank (UOB) Buana has re-released its new credit card in Singapore.

UOB credit cards, namely Visa Classic, Gold and Platinum, said Armand B. Arief, president director of UOB Buana, give holders a low exchange rate when they shop in Singapore. These credit cards also offer an attractive travel program in cooperation with Singapore Airlines' Krisflyer. In addition, cardholders are covered by travel insurance and get additional discounts at various shopping centers in countries serving as shopping destinations. In addition, UOB Buana credit cards allow a payment of 0.35 percent of the monthly billing statement. "In short, UOB credit cards give interesting benefits, programs and features to customers," he said.

Banks compete with each other to lure big-wig customers, which is not without reason. The Credit Information Bureau estimates that platinum credit card potential may stand at over one million customers, but to date only 70,000 have been tapped.

According to the country manager of Visa International Indonesia, Ellyana C. Fuad, Visa Platinum credit cards are intended for people with a minimum income of Rp 500 million annually. They are, therefore, entrepreneurs and members of a company's board of directors. In Indonesia, however, the use of a credit card as an instrument of payment is still at a low level, not more than 1.2 percent of the population. Abroad, meanwhile, it is 4 percent of total population, particularly in advanced countries.

According to data compiled by Morgan Stanley of Singapore, there are 7.2 million super rich people controlling assets worth $27 trillion. In 2005, the assets of wealthy families in Asia was estimated to stand at $7.3 trillion.

How does Indonesia stand in all this? Apparently there are an estimated 3,328 families controlling assets worth $5 million to $20 million. Meanwhile, there are 167 families with assets worth $20 million to $100 million. Incredibly, about 80 percent of these super rich families are domiciled in Jakarta and its surroundings. In 2006, the growth of the High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) group in Indonesia reached 16 percent. Indonesia is recorded as a country with the third highest growth rate in the Asia Pacific, following Singapore and India.

It is this phenomenon that has caused the demand for premium services to rise. In addition to demand for wealth management services, demand for platinum credit cards is also on the rise. Nearly all major banks, such as those mentioned above, offer platinum credit cards. Are you part of a platinum community? (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 19, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Apartment life becoming popular

Living in an apartment has become the choice of many, from ordinary people, celebrities to prominent businesspeople. This trend has spurred developers to quickly build apartments. Meanwhile, banks are no longer hesitant in extending home loans.

Consumer demand coupled with developers' acumen and bank involvement has seen the apartment market boom. Even Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), which has conventionally extended home loans only for landed property, now finances apartment buyers. "Apartment development is enjoying huge growth and is a market with much potential," said BRI consumer director A. Toni Soetirto recently after signing a cooperation agreement in Jakarta between BRI and the Pikko Group, the developer of three apartment buildings, namely Sahid Sudirman Residence, Hampton`s Park and Maple Park.

A similar opinion was also voiced by Siswanto Widjaja, property consultant of Procon Indah. The Property Market Review for the third quarter of 2007 and Outlook 2008 reveal optimistic indications that there will be robust growth in the property business, especially in office buildings and condominiums.

The huge potential of the market, said Siswanto, can be seen in the fact that the number of apartments and condominiums keep surging. This year there will be about 56,895 units, including 13,093 condominiums. "There will be a 12 percent increase in the condominium market in 2008," he said.

He stated further that the general election would have an impact on the condominium market, with investments expected to decrease by about 40 percent. He also said there would be fewer new units coming on the market in 2008 compared to 2007, take up would be less, but the occupancy level would remain stable. Demands are projected to be stable up to mid-2008 and slow down thereafter. Current low interest deposit rates offered by banks and attractive mortgage rates for housing creates demand. "The prices of prime projects will increase slightly," Siswanto said.

In almost in every strategic corner of Jakarta there is an apartment project, each with its own unique design and concept. New apartment blocks include Pakubuwono Residence in South Jakarta, Palladian Park in North Jakarta and Casablanca Mansion in South Jakarta. Indonesia Property Watch has recorded that East Jakarta has the fewest apartment projects as currently there is only one, Patria Park, which is being developed by PT Pembangunan Perumahan (PP). In total 12,104 apartment units will be completed this year.

Tight competition is occurring in the middle income segment for apartment purchases. In South Jakarta one can find the Thamrin Residence, The 18th Rasuna Residence, Jakarta Residences, Casablanca Mansion, Latumenten City, Mediterranian Garden and Hollywood Residence, which are being marketed for between Rp 8 million and Rp 12 million per square meter.

Many marketers are of the opinion that the low and middle income segment are making the most demands for apartments in Jakarta. In this sector, developer Agung Podomoro rules the roost in that the company is doing brisk business. Some of the developer's projects are Sudirman Park, Thamrin Residence, Jakarta Residences, Latumenten City and Mediterranian Garden.

All these projects are experiencing stiff competition with the projects of other developers, for example the reputable The 18th Rasuna Residence belonging to Bakrieland Development and Palladian Park owned by PT PP, which is working with Bank Mayapada, a relative newcomer to this business.

However, the competition is also tough in the premium market with the emergence of new projects recently. Agung Podomoro, for instance, has three major projects, namely The Peak, Pakubuwono Residence and Senayan City. Then there is the Gapura Prima Group with The Bellezza and Bellagio Mansion, Djarum Group with its Grand Indonesia, Dharmala Intiland has The Regatta, Tan Kian together with Tommy Winata have Pacific Place, Tommy Winata with Mahaka have The Capital Residence in the Sudirman Central Business District. Premium property developers place a price tag of between Rp 10 million and Rp 17 million per square meter, with Regatta, The Peak and Pacific Place commanding the highest prices.

Currently there is a "hot" project under construction, Kemang Village. This mixed use 12-hectare project in the exclusive Kemang area, South Jakarta, will have various first-class property products: apartments, a star-rated hotel, an international school, a hospital and a luxury mall. Many call it a superblock as almost everything will be available.

Yes, superblocks apparently can be a suitable choice for living in Jakarta. Superblocks are believed to be able to reduce traffic as residents will have everything within reach and have no need to venture far. Some superblocks, each with a different variant, can be found in the Sudirman Central Business District and Mega Kuningan. Other megaprojects are worth trillions of rupiah, such as Central Park (developed by Agung Podomoro), Gandaria City (Pakuwon Group), Grand Indonesia (Djarum) and Rasuna Bakrie Area (Bakrie Group).

The concept of a superblock is something that is focused and integrated. It should measure between seven and 20 hectares consisting of condominiums, townhouses, hotel, plaza or mall, health centers, hospital, school, offices, recreation centers, food courts and places of worship.

According to landscape architect Nirwono Joga, the development of superblocks is a logical answer to the city's problems, such as limited land space, environmental degradation and worsening traffic. Kompas daily, in its Nov. 8, 2007 edition, said superblocks were a great idea that could make a metropolitan city more comfortable and efficient to live in.

The concept of an integrated superblock is beneficial to our city as it maximizes the use of land at a balanced capacity. This means not all land in the city needs to be developed as there should be balance between developed and open, green areas. "However, the city administration and developers must consistently abide by the spatial regulations by not developing areas that are designated as open, green spaces, such as cemeteries, sports fields, natural or man-made lakes and mangrove forests. All must adhere to the principle of environmental preservation," Nirwono said. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 15, 2007

Hotel chains embrace apartments

Look at the latest buildings dotting Jakarta's skyline nowadays. The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott and the Hyatt are no longer just hotels. Lately these international chains have embraced the local apartment industry.

These names are making the most of their brands in the hospitality industry and infusing them into the apartment world. They are introducing serviced apartments to those who don't want to buy an apartment but are more interested in renting for the short or long term.

Earlier this year, the Marriott Group introduced its first apartment block in the country, named The Mayflower on Jl. Sudirman. Under the Marriott Executive Apartments division, The Mayflower has 96 fully furnished rooms to rent. According to the marketing and communications manager of the Marriott Group Jakarta, Ina Ilmiaviatta, more and more people choose to stay in serviced apartments for a variety of reasons, such as privacy, the feeling of home, hotel-like services, prime location and cost efficiency compared to hotels. "We started construction of The Mayflower in 2005 and opened in the first quarter of 2007 because we saw the demand was promising as companies tended to shift their expatriates from houses to apartments due to security concerns, services and conveniences," Ilmiaviatta explained.

Starting from US$2,150 a month, customers can rent a one- to three-bedroom Mayflower apartment measuring between 80 and 193 square meters. All apartments come with sofa set, kitchenette, washing machine, water dispenser, big fridge and furniture. The Mayflower also has public facilities, most notably indoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi, fitness center, spa and a cafe. "We're very new, at the moment we're concentrating on giving the best service, and maximizing the facilities that we have," Ilmiaviatta said.

At the moment, The Mayflower is over 70 percent full, with most guests being expatriate executives. "Next year we're hoping for full occupancy because the market for serviced residential apartments is growing fast," Ilmiaviatta continued.

Indeed it's a thriving market out there with more hotel names hoping to become your home. Shangri-la Residences and Grand Hyatt's Keraton are currently under construction and are scheduled to open their doors in 2008 and 2009 respectively. But way before these serviced apartments drew up their blue prints, Four Seasons Residences opened its doors in 1999. Joanna N. Lasmono, a 37-year-old housewife who has lived at Four Seasons Residences for seven years, is a long-term witness to its quality. "The management really gives great service and the staff are disciplined and most importantly very polite. The premises are very secure so I don't have to worry about leaving my kids at home while I am out."

Although the Four Seasons is a strata title apartment, it also caters to those who want a serviced apartment. It enjoys a 100 percent occupancy rate in its 234 rooms, demonstrating that there is a big demand for luxury apartments that have a reliable name in the business.

Another trusted name in the industry, the Ritz-Carlton, will soon join the booming market. After opening a hotel in Mega Kuningan, the Ritz-Carlton is expanding to apartments in Pacific Place, Sudirman Central Business District, together with hotel rooms.

The apartments, called The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place is scheduled to open next week with a big bang. The property industry will get fresh blood with the launch of 139 serviced residences on the top floors of the hotel that include 30 of the most luxurious three-bedroom suites at 165-169 square meters with private balcony. And for a life beyond the ordinary, guests of The Residences will have access to all of the hotel's facilities and services. There is a spacious spa and fitness center in the lush gardens on one side and the Pacific Restaurant Lounge on another. "With Ritz-Carlton's signature facilities, luxurious furnishings, the legendary service of our Ladies & Gentlemen, i.e. shopping butler, we certainly offer more than just an apartment," said Els Ramadhinta, Ritz-Carlton Jakarta director of public relations.

Citing corporate executives looking for a lifestyle with luxury accommodation, exclusivity, great location and abundant choice of facilities as their primary targets, Ramadhinta is confident about the business prospects. "We're experiencing an incredible amount of interest right now and expect to be running out of these luxury apartments very soon."

She continues, "Some people prefer hotels because of the restaurants, facilities and service, some prefer apartments. Now they can choose something that offers both." In this case, names like Marriott, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton meet the demands of having it both. Now, it seems, you can call the Ritz your home. Really! (Kenny Santana)

The Jakarta Post, November 15, 2007

Paradise Delight

Pada setiap Chivas Party berlangsung kemeriahan tidak hanya terjadi karena berkumpulnya partygoers Jakarta. Ada beberapa faktor yang selalu mendukung acara-acara yang diselenggarakan oleh Chivas Regal, seperti penampilan DJ di deck, penampilan dancer yang sampai saat ini terbukti berperan cukup besar untuk menyemarakkan pesta, juga penampilan artis-artis pendukung acara lainnya.

Hal ini juga terjadi pada Chivas Party dengan tema Paradise Delight yang berlangsung di V2 Pub Lounge Karaoke yang berlokasi di Duta Merlin Jakarta 9 November 2007. Sebagai tuan rumah adalah Martin Supit, General Manager V2 yang malam itu terlihat sibuk menyapa kolega-koleganya sesama pengusaha hiburan.

Penampilan DJ Daniel di awal party langsung menghangatkan suasana, partygoers tampak bergoyang di sekitar meja mereka. Beberapa juga terlihat bedansa di sekitar DJ Booth. Hujan deras malam itu tampaknya tidak menjadikan kendala partygoers untuk hadir di V2 Pub Lounge & Karaoke. Penari-penari dari Heavenly Dancers malam itu juga menjadi salah satu penentu hangatnya suasana. Sesuai dengan tema Paradise Delight, para penari juga melengkapi penampilannya dengan sayap-sayap yang melekat pada lengan mereka. Sepertinya mereka ingin mengekspresikan sesuai dengan tema party malam itu. Acara bertambah meriah dengan penampilan DJ Miz Milinka yang malam itu didampimgi oleh MC Twailla. Sebuah kue tart dan lilin sempat dibawa ke DJ Booth sebagai tanda malam itu adalah tepat ulang tahun Miz Milinka. Sukses! (hb)

Chivas Party Yourself

Pada komunitas clubber ada anggapan bahwa musik yang sering ditampilkan di dance floor antara di daerah Kota (Jakarta Barat dan sekitarnya) dan Selatan (Jakarta Selatan) sangat berbeda. Cubber Kota enggan ke Selatan, demikian juga sebaliknya, yang biasa gaul di Selatan merasa enggan untuk singgah sejenak ke Kota.

Namun kali ini bertempat di Olympic Club Jakarta, Chivas Regal bersama DJ Miz Milinka berhasil membuat dance floor club tersebut bergoyang. Sebelumnya memang ada keraguan apakah clubber di Kota dapat menerima musik yang sudah menjadi ciri DJ Miz Milinka. “Nggak masalah, saya juga lama main di Selatan, sekarang pindah ke Kota, ya kadang-kadang yang mix antara keduanya. Memang pada tempat-tempat tertentu tidak bisa dilakukan hal ini, karena mereka akan merasa keberatan kalau warna musiknya diganti. Tapi kalau di Olympic Club sampai saat ini dapat berlangsung terus dan clubber merasa terhibur, “ jelas DJ Arif yang lebih dikenal dengan sebutan DJ Art.

Hal senada juga disampaikan oleh Edhi Sumadi, Country Manager Pernod Ricard Indonesia, “Chivas Your Self menjadi tema Chivas Party kali ini, clubber dapat bergembira dengan tidak menjadikan aliran musik sebagai masalah.”

Penampilan DJ Arif yang sudah sarat pengalaman sebagai DJ di sejumlah diskotek di seantero Jakarta dan kota-kota besar lainnya memang tidak diragukan lagi. Teriakan-teriakan yang mengajak pengunjung terus berdansa disambut respon yang baik. Demikian pula penampilan DJ Miz Milinka yang malam itu didampingi Mc Twailla. Klubber tidak hanya menikmati musik yang mereka mainkan tapi juga penmapilan mereka. Sepertinya penampilan dua wanita cantik di panggung DJ juga menjadi nilai tambah bagi hiburan malam.

Tidak hanya itu, acara di Olympic Club tambah hangat dengan penampilan Majestic Dancer dan Body Painting. Gerakan-gerakan yang ditampilan para penari menjadi hiburan tersendiri, bahkan beberapa pengunjung dari Korea dan Jepang terlihat sangat antusias dengan gerakan-gerakan yang ditampilkan oleh para penari dengan seluruh tubuh dibalut lukisan. (hb)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Security, between threats and opportunities

If you are a Jakartan then security checks on cars and visitors are nothing new to you every time you enter a hotel or a prestigious office building such as the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) building. Even the tenants of these buildings have to use special ID cards. This type of security system is used to check each person entering the JSX building at each entrance.

The JSX building is one of the top three most expensive buildings in Jakarta today and is home to the offices of the World Bank, Microsoft, oil companies and of course the Stock Exchange itself where the trade in stocks has an impact on the country's economy and finance.

What should be noted is that since the wave of terrorism, internationally and domestically, good security has become essential. Business tends to mean very little these days without the availability of professional security.

Indeed, sophisticated security and detection equipment as well as high standards of security systems do not automatically guarantee an absence of terrorism. Therefore, early detection and sophisticated preventive measures are needed to minimize terrorists' opportunities to strike. Early detection should be practiced not only by law enforcers, but also by every citizen.

Certainly there should be an excellent internal security system comprising security officers, police officers, metal detectors, security alarms, closed circuit televisions (CCTVs), video tape recorders plus good recruitment, training and other skill enhancement.

Not all building or office managements can make available the required security equipment or officers. That is why security providers are needed, especially with Jakartans having grave concerns about security. Even without acts of terror in the city Jakartans have long felt insecure in the city. This concern is the basis of the businesses that provide security.

They offer various security products and services. Based on permits issued, the National Police recognize six types of private security businesses, namely security consultancy, providers of education and training in security, suppliers of security guards including body guards, providers of security equipment, for example weapons, alarms and bulletproof vests, providers of guards for cash in transit, and Search and Rescue teams.

There are at least 75 companies in Jakarta that provide such services, with each company having its own specialization. Bravo Humanika Perkasa was set up in 1999 and hires out security guards that are trained based on the police curriculum. But that is not all that is needed from a security guard. A manager of the company said that clients have become more demanding. "Like when one television station asked for handsome security guards," he said with a laugh.

Understanding the needs of clients is of paramount importance, which is why many security companies also provide cash in transit security. In fact, a number of security companies only deal in this sector, such as Securicor, Transnational and Tunas Artha Gardatama. The latter company also provides security services for delivering cash from banks to customers or from customers to certain places. Included is the payment of employees, filling ATMs with cash, which is double checked for the correct amount according to the standard set by the Bank Indonesia.

Previously, many managers viewed security as an added cost, and as such kept the cost low as possible. However, the perception has since changed and now security is seen as an investment against loss prevention. That is why security companies are thriving, from the ones that provide basic and simple services to the ones that offer sophisticated services along with high-tech equipment. Secom, for example, not only provides security guards, but also security solutions that have been tried and tested for more than 40 years.

"Providing security is not only making available products or officers in uniforms but it is more about an integrated security service. It is an integrated system that comprises equipment and officers controlled through a centralized system that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including total supervision and patrols -- also 24, seven -- based on an accurate and tested Standard Operational Procedure," said S. Rahardja, president director of PT Secom Indopratama.

PT Indolok Bakti Utama provides an integrated security system and security guards. Established in 1972, the company's main product is Gunnebo. The company also provides high quality products and services that are acknowledged worldwide just like its slogan "for a safer world".

Since information technology entered the business world in 1995, all types of businesses, including banks, started to use a data communication-based network. Then the Internet became popular, and banks subsequently changed their business system from manual based to information technology based.

With the use of advanced technology the benefits also became greater. Connections between banks and customers became easier and almost instant, such as through ATMs, which have become inseparable from the world of banking. Banks also immediately started to rely on information technology for other transactions, such as opening new accounts, transfers and online payments.

The only snag is that such sophisticated information technology has to be accompanied by a quality security system. Security here covers many aspects, such as the physical aspect including access and entrance control, CCTVs, movement detectors, monitoring software and more specific matters like ATMs, cash deposit machines, safety deposit boxes, etc.

Certainly it is complicated taking care of a modern bank's security needs. But there is a short cut that is more efficient, that is using the services of a security system that satisfies every requirement. This is what is provided by Indolok Bakti Utama, the pioneer and highly reputable provider of security products and services.

Undeniably more companies now realize that outsourcing security services is to their advantage rather than hiring guards themselves. Therefore, in the future, more security companies are likely to join the ranks of Secom and Indolok, including brand new ones, foreign affiliates or expansions by existing ones, because the opportunities in this business are wide open. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 13, 2007