Monday, November 23, 2009

Kemewahan Berbalur Kecantikan di Jakarta Fashion Week

JUDUL di atas kiranya tepat untuk menggambarkan saat foto model Kimberly, berpose di depan sebuah mobil SUV Mazda CX-7, pada lomba foto Zoom-Zoom FashioMazda yang digelar 15 November 2009 lalu. Kecantikan wajah Kim, panggilan akrab Kimberly, yang merupakan ikon LT Pro Professional Make Up, terpancar dengan sempurna, apalagi dengan balutan gaun anggun karya disainer muda, Hadi Chandra, dan sang Mazda CX-7 yang menyiratkan kesan mewah namun tetap gagah.

Lomba foto yang merupakan bagian dari Fashion Photography Workshop bertajuk It’s All about Fashion ini digelar oleh majalah Reader’s Digest Indonesia bekerja sama dengan Mazda dan Neumatt School of Photography. Kegiatan ini merupakan rangkaian dari pesta mode Jakarta Fashion Week 09/10 (JFW 09/10) yang sudah dimulai sejak 14 November 2009 sampai 20 November 2009, yang diharapkan pekan mode ini dapat mengikuti jejak pekan mode lain seperti di Milan, Paris, Tokyo, London dan sebaginya.

30 fotografer amatir tercatat mengikuti workshop yang digelar sejak tanggal 7 November 2009, dengan materi seru seputar fashion seperti workshop konsep foto fashion, praktek langsung foto mini fashion show di Neumatt maupun fashion show “sungguhan” di JFW 09/01, dan di studio, yang menampilkan empat orang model papan atas Jakarta. (Burhanuddin Abe)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Banks face tight competition in credit card issuance

THERE is no doubt that the credit card business is getting bigger and bigger, as is evident not only in the increasing number of credit card transactions but also in the increasing number of credit cardholders.

Up until September 2009, BCA, for example, had about two million credit cardholders. The bank expects to see 15 percent growth in credit cardholders by the end of next year. "This year, we are aiming to net 1,000 new credit cardholders," said Henry Koenaifi, BCA director, during the launch of the BCA World credit card early in November.

He said the market share of credit cardholders in Southeast Asia has grown rapidly. It is estimated that credit card transactions in the region could reach US$55 million by 2015, and are expected to reach $11.2 billion in Indonesia.

Mandiri Credit Card VP Lila Noya is also optimistic. She said the number of Mandiri credit card customers had reached more than 1.5 million. "Bank Mandiri aims to finance at least Rp 10 trillion in credit card transactions by the end of the year," she said.

To realize this target, Bank Mandiri cooperates with various parties. Cooperation with small stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets contributes the most to credit card transactions, accounting for 50 percent. Cooperation with mobile phone operators like Telkomsel, Indosat and XL also sees high volume.

Banks make every effort to improve consumer credit. One of the main pillars of credit in this sector is credit cards, which are more widely used in big cities. The growing number of merchants, the high promotion budget, promotional programs and customer education has led to the growth in the usage of credit cards. Bank Mandiri is not the only state-owned bank that has aggressively entered the credit card market. BNI has also entered the business, targeting the upper-middle class. BRI, which is known as "the people's bank", has over the years tempted urban customers with its two for the price of one movie tickets for people paying with credit and debit cards.

Various programs are also conducted by private banks. BCA cooperates closely with merchants with interesting offers, as does Bank Mega, which has deals with the likes of Baskin Robbins, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Papa Ron's Pizza, Gelato Bar and other merchants in the city's culinary centers offering special discounts for Bank Mega Visa cardholders.

Bank Mega also teams up with retailers dealing in fashion, electronic and non-electronic goods, as well as travel. The bank's holding company, Para Group, holds 12 international fashion brands and runs Metro Department Store.

According to Irni Palar, Bank Mega's deputy head of card marketing, the bank's credit card division was established in 2002 and has aggressively worked on the market in the past two years. There are now more than 700,000 Mega Visa cardholders, making the bank one of the top five credit card issuers in Indonesia.

Irni said there is great potential in Indonesia's credit card market and that the business could be developed further. Most credit cardholders live in big cities in the western part of the country whereas credit cards are virtually nonexistent in the eastern part. For this reason Bank Mega is working on the regions through its branch in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Bank Mega makes the most of its more than 200 branches nationwide to work on the credit card market in seven marketing areas: Makassar, Jakarta (two areas), Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya and Medan. While the holders of credit cards issued by other banks are mostly found in Jakarta, only 45 percent of Mega Visa cardholders live in Jakarta.

Foreign banks are also aggressive in the credit card business. Citibank, for example, is a trend setter in the credit card sector in Indonesia. Other foreign banks very active in this sector include HSBC, ABN Amro and ANZ, which often offer various programs to attract customers.

When it comes to credit card marketing, competition in the banking industry is obviously getting tight. Credit card promotions are common in shopping malls and offices, with marketers approaching every adult entering the buildings where they set up counters.

Banks compete to give the best service to win over customers. Credit card application forms can be downloaded from the websites of banks that issue credit cards. Banks are also willing to take over credit card accounts from other banks, offering a lower interest rate and other facilities.

They also offer rewards that can be exchanged with various merchandise or services in order to gain a greater credit card market share. Citibank, for example, has a reward program offering a wide range of merchandise and services, including a frequent flyer program in cooperation with prominent airline companies. With the various credit cards on offer, people can choose the right one to meet their needs. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 18, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Which to buy, LCD or plasma?

IT is high time to leave behind the cathode ray tube TVs of yesteryear, because today's trend is liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma display panel (PDP) TVs, which are easier on the eye. Plus, they have become more affordable.

Manufacturers have been rushing to meet the increasing demand for such products. PT Panasonic Gobel Indonesia, for instance, has pushed the sales of both its LCD and plasma TVs. "Our target for flat display panel *FDP* TV in Indonesia is to reach double digit figures by making available various products and variants at competitive prices," said Panasonic Gobel Indonesia vice president Rinaldi Sjarif at the launch of the company's latest LCD series, Panasonic Viera.

The demand for LCD and plasma TVs is not only increasing here in Indonesia, but also globally. This year, Panasonic shut down cathode ray tube TV plants, including the one in Indonesia, PT Panasonic Manufacturing Indonesia (PMI), due to lack of demand.

Now watching a flat screen TV is no longer a dream for many as they have become affordable. After the flat screen TV came plasma TV, which is popular as well. This super-slim TV has sophisticated technology with crystal clear high definition on a large screen. Almost all other TV manufacturers produce this type of television, namely LG, Sharp, Fujitsu, Samsung and Philips.

Flat plasma TV is third generation technology after the outdated cathode ray tube TV, which was followed by projection TV. The PDP module has a signal processing IC board, front filter, front and rear cabinet, speaker and set top box. Plasma TV remains an unattainable luxury for many people. Nonetheless, manufacturers continue to market their plasma TVs in Indonesia. Electronic City has a Plasma Counter Corner especially for marketing plasma TVs.

Korean plasma TVs currently dominate the market due to their high quality and lower prices compared to Japanese and European brands. Today, two Korean giants are involved in the plasma battle, namely Samsung, which is developing its light emitting diode (LED) type, and LG, which is developing its active matrix organic light emitting diodes (AM OLED) technology.

American research company DisplaySearch recently reported that LCD sales dominated global TV sales with 67.3 percent of the market in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, plasma TV has a 6.9 percent market share and cathode ray tube TVs have a 25.7 percent share.

The research company also stated that Samsung's market share was 23 percent within all flat TV types in the second quarter, while LG Electronics was in second place with a market share of 13.7 percent, followed by Sony with 11.8 percent, Panasonic with 8.6 percent and Sharp with 6.4 percent.

In March 2009, Samsung launched its latest LED-backlit TV and claimed it had sold 600,000 units as of June. Yoon Boo-keun, the company's president of television business division, said the company's target this year was to sell two million LED-backlit TVs or about 10 percent of the 22 million LCD TVs to be sold this year.

Yoon said that LED TVs save energy by about 40 percent compared to LCD TVs generally. "If every TV in the world switched to LED, we could save 13 million kilowatts of electricity - enough to supply all 39 million households in Germany," he told a global electronics fair in Berlin in September. However, LG has criticized Samsung. "Samsung's LED is just another type of LCD TV. They don't have the right to call it a LED TV," said one LG staff member.

On the other hand, LG claims that AM OLED is a real LED TV as it has a slimmer panel and faster high definition response. LG engineers claim that AM OLED TV consumes less than half the energy required by an LCD TV and has a faster response AM OLED is already used for mobile phones and other small gadgets. However, the production cost is still high and there are still hampering technological factors that make it unusable for more expansive usage.

Japanese manufacturer Sony launched an 11-inch OLED TV in 2007, and last month LG Electronics launched its 15-inch model. Presently, LG Electronics' sales depend on the superiority of its 42LH50 LCD TV, which is very slim and quite sophisticated. It can also be used to connect to the Internet. "With our commercial production this November we will soon dominate the OLED TV segment, which is the next generation TV for the world market," said Kwon Hee-won, president director of LG's LCD TV business division.

Indeed, the war among TV manufacturers is not yet over and is unlikely to ever end. Only those who can develop innovative technology can come out as the winner and produce the right variant at an affordable price. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 13, 2009

More demands for Plasma/LCD TVs despite market's negative growth

DESPITE a 13.1 percent negative growth in units compared to last year's year-to-date sales results, the national consumer electronics (CE) market saw increasing sales in plasma TV, LCD TV, DVD player/recorder and camcorder product categories, a Q3 2009 consumer report from GfK said.

The report indicated a 5.5 percent plummet in CE unit sales between January and September 2009 as compared to the same period last year. Nevertheless, sales for flat LCD and flat plasma TV categories have increased by 48.5 percent and 69.4 percent respectively, most probably in response to reduced retail prices of said products, which had dropped between 29 and 34 percent within the year.

At the other end of the market spectrum, portable media players experienced the largest negative growth this year at minus 31.5 percent, followed by conventional (CRT) TVs at minus 12.1 percent (units). GfK attributed the main reason for the latter's decline to consumers' gradual shift from conventional to LCD TV. Another product with negative sales growth this year is the home audio system at minus 8.3 percent.

The two remaining CE categories, DVD player/recorders and camcorders, saw growth in unit sales by 6.5 percent and 7.7 percent respectively. GfK noted that Indonesia's improving economic condition had actually encouraged sales growth of electronic goods in the market. Comparing results from year-to-date 2009 to 2008, CE sales have increased by 7.2 percent and 4.9 percent in units and value respectively.

CE sales also grew by around 3 percent between August and September 2009. However, growth in Q3 2009 was still minus 13.1 percent in units compared to the same period last year.

GfK's Q3 2009 report provided growth comparison between consumer electronics, home appliance, telecom, and digital photo markets in Indonesia. The report recorded increases in product price in all markets except for telecom. (Andrea Tejokusumo)

The Jakarta Post , November 13, 2009

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Beautiful and healthy ala spa

FEELING drained due to hard work that saps your mind and energy? Perhaps it's time to pamper yourself with a spa treatment.

Spa is an abbreviation of solus per aqua, which means health by or through water. However, it has developed to include massage and other salon and body care treatments.

While in 15th century Egypt the spa was part of the world of doctors and medicine, the modern spa is synonymous with the beauty parlor and provides body and health care in great comfort. Spas offer holistic treatments that cover body massages, body scrubs, whitening masks, aroma therapy, milk baths and music.

Spa treatments usually take between one and a half and two hours for massage, body scrub, bathing and soaking in refreshing spices. Spa treatments have a lot of benefi ts as they smoothen, tighten, whiten and nourish the skin, relax the muscles and detoxify the body.

The spa in modern times is an oasis for women and men who crave beauty and health. Spa treatments are not exclusively for high-income earners but are also coveted by many middle income earners, although most may fi nd them beyond their budget. Spa treatments have indeed become a new lifestyle.

Many spas have mushroomed in the country's major cities, including one established by the Martha Tilaar Group, which operate many branches through a subsidiary, PT Cantika Puspa Pesona (CPP). The company now owns 68 spa centers both in Indonesia and abroad, such as in Greece, Japan and Ukraine, franchised or owned by the company under the name Salon & Day Spa.

To appear beautiful, attractive and fresh is the dream of every woman and this is the platform on which Martha Tilaar's business is based. It is able to harmoniously unite physical and inner beauty using the ancient Javanese practice of combining physical treatment with meditation and bio energy, which encompasses aroma and other therapies.

The Martha Tilaar Group offers various spa treatments, such as body scrub malih warni (change of skin color), Dewi Sri Spa, Sekar Sari Spa and Dara Putih aromatic milk spa. "Apart from offering physical beauty, our spas also make the body fresh and more relaxed with aroma therapy," said one of the therapists.

Personalized service and a comfortable atmosphere are also offered by Reggia Spa Sanctuary, which is located in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. It understands the unique and different needs of every individual and strives to meet their demands.

It specializes in the medical spa. It is very similar to most spas except that the therapists have basic medical knowledge. It is a solution for physical care using a non-surgical method and the world's premium brands, sophisticated technology and fi ve-star service to ensure customer satisfaction.

Unlike in the US and Europe, the medical spa concept is not very common in Indonesia. "Supervision by professional doctors is required to monitor a customer's condition during and after treatment to see the progress of the treatment and to provide solutions should there be problems," said one of the doctors at such a medical spa.

Beauty treatment ala salon and a la hospital is nowadays inseparable in some spas. It is part of today's lifestyle. This is also provided by Susan Waine, which specializes in obesity, which all women in the world fear.

Susan Waine provides the most effective service and solution for obesity. If you want to slim down in areas around the stomach, thighs and arms, Susan Waine has the solution. It has a sophisticated analyzing machine made in Italy that can precisely analyze the physical care required by a customer.

Supported by a computerized system and renowned French and Italian products, Susan Waine provides slimming solutions without pain, or drastic loss of excessive fat or fl uid. Clients do not have to live on excessive or rigid diets that can have a negative effect on their health.

A professional trainer will personally guide you during your fi tness hours using the latest equipment so that there is no risk of pain or sprain. Susan Waine also has various classes, such as aerobics, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, hip hop, salsa and gymnastics for pregnant women. After a class, a customer is pampered with sauna and steam facilities.

As a one-stop treatment center, Susan Waine provides the most complete services for customers in Jakarta. After a workout, clients do not have to go home with wet hair because Susan Waine has a beauty and hair salon as well. Through the hands of a professional therapist using renowned French brands, the customer is once again fresh and in high spirits. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post , November 05, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Wine for Asia

WINE bukan hanya milik Prancis tentu saja. Juga bukan monopoli negara-negara penghasil wine yang lain, baik old world yang diwakili oleh Prancis, Italia, Spanyol, Portugal, Austria, dan Yunani, atau pun new world, seperti Amerika, Australia, Selandia Baru, Afrika Selatan, Chile, Argentina, Kanada, dan lain-lain.

Kawasan Asia yang selama ini dianggap jauh dari tradisi wine ternyata mempunyai fakta yang cukup mencengangkan. Dalam sebuah riset terungkap bahwa wine di Asia bisa tumbuh sekitar 10 – 20 persen per tahun. Kawasan tersebut diwakili oleh China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapura, dan Korea sebagai pemimpinnya. Nilai konsumsi di Asia (tidak termasuk Jepang) mempunyai potensi meningkat hingga dua kali lipat, mencapai US$17 miliar pada 2012 dan melonjak menjadi US$ 27 miliar pada 2017.

Fakta itulah yang menjadi keniscayaan bagi negara seperti Singapura untuk menjadi tuan rumah bagi sebuah event penting yang disebut “Wine for Asia” (WFA), yang tahun 2009 memasuki tahun ke tujuh. Acara yang bertempat di Suntec Singapura dan berlangsung pada 22-24 Oktober ini diselenggarakan oleh MP Wine Resources, gabungan kerjasama antara MP International dan Wine Resources.

WFA memamerkan wine internasional paling komprehensif di kawasan regional dan mampu menghadirkan exhibitor baik dari 350 perusahaan lokal maupun internasional. Sekitar 5.000 pengunjung berdatangan dari negara-negara Asia dan Pasifik bergabung dalam acara ini, termasuk dari Indonesia.

Menurut Chooi Yee Choong, Regional Director of ASEAN (Islands) and Oceania, Singapore Tourism Board, dalam beberapa tahun terakhir ini, industri wine di Asia telah tumbuh sangat cepat. “Event ini menawarkan one-stop platform untuk tetap berdampingan dengan penawaran-penawaran wine terbaru, melengkapi jumlah yang tak terhitung banyaknya di bisnis fisrt-class, edukasi, dan kesempatan networking serta pencinta gaya hidup,” katanya di Decanter, wine lounge yang berlokasi di Kuningan, Jakarta, beberapa waktu yang lalu.

Ini merupakan momentum yang sangat tepat bagi mereka yang ingin mengetahui lebih dalam mengenai wine. Apalagi, tidak hanya pameran, dalam WFA juga ada sesi edukasi bagaimana cara menikmati wine secara benar. Misalnya, bagaimana cara menikmati wine Bordeaux dari chateaux-chateaux terkemuka. Wine tasting bersama Penfolds Brand Ambassador, Jamie Sach, serta mengetahui mengapa Penfolds Grange adalah salah satu wine paling terkenal di dunia dalam cita rasa eksklusif.

Ada juga sesi bertopik bisnis yang membagikan pengalaman para pemain di industri wine, juga bagaimana kiat bertahan dan berkembang di masa resesi seperti saat ini. Dalam kelas yang disebut International Wine Importer Course, melengkapi kemampuan bisnis wine-related untuk memberikan mutu terbaik bagi bisnis wine. Pendeknya, apa saja yang berhubungan dengan wine – baik gaya hidup maupun bisnisnya ada di event ini, termasuk Southeast Asia Best Sommelier Competition 2009.

Asia sudah menjadi kawasan yang sangat potensial sebagai pasar wine dunia. Singapura agaknya telah memanfaatkan kesempatan ini, dan mengambil peluang bisnis dari pertumbuhan wine yang pesat ini di Asia. Bagaimana dengan Indonesia?

Memang belum ada data yang akurat tentang pertumbuhan industri wine di Indonesia. Namun, meski dengan segala kendala yang ada, mulai dari kuota, cukai yang masih tinggi, hingga tata niaga yang masih “amburadul”, nilai konsumsi wine di Indonesia terus meningkat dalam lima tahun belakangan ini. Terbukti, wine lounges terutama di kota-kota besar sebutlah Jakarta, terus bermunculan. Tidak hanya hanya melengkapi fasilitas hotel-hotel berbintang, tapi di mal-mal bahkan gedung perkantoran sudah gampang ditemui tempat minun wine.

Sayangnya event-event yang berkaitan dengan wine masih sedikit, bahkan masih bisa dihitung dengan jari. Festival wine baru terselenggara dua kali di Jakarta, yakni yang disebut sebagai Wine Fest, yang dimotori salah satu distributor wine, Danisa Textindo. Memang ada beberapa event yang berkaitan dengan wine, tapi hanya tambahan dari acara yang lebih besar, sebutlah festival wine yang menjadi bagian dari Jakarta Fashion & Food Festival yang diselenggarakan Summarecon Group di Kelapa Gading Jakarta.

Sementara kompetisi sommelier yang cukup representatif baru terselenggara tahun ini, oleh ISA (Indonesia Sommelier Association) – yang juga terbentuk tahun ini, bekerja sama dengan Sopexa, Ministere de l’Agriculture et de la Peche (Prancis), dan Wine for Asia (Singapura).

Sudah saatnya Indonesia wine society memikirkan terobosan-terobosan baru untuk membuat event-event wine yang lebih kreatif, kalau perlu bertaraf internasional. Tidak hanya untuk sosialisasi dan edukasi soal wine, tapi juga menumbuhkan dan menata sektor industri yang masih tergolong baru ini. Cheers! (Burhanuddin Abe)

50.000 Botol Wine dari 30 Negara

INDUSTRI wine di berbagai belahan bagian dunia dalam beberapa tahun terakhir ini telah tumbuh sangat cepat. Di wilayah ASEAN Singapura boleh jadi menjadi pelopor, minimal dalam menangkap peluang menyelenggarakan event yang berkaitan dengan dunia wine. “Wine for Asia” (WFA), itulah judul acara tersebut yang tahun ini memasuki tahun ke tujuh.

Event ini akan berlangsung dari 22 hingga 24 Oktober 2009 ini diselenggarakan oleh MP Wine Resources, gabungan kerjasama antara MP International dan Wine Resources. Di Suntec, yang makin populer sebagai gedung pameran di Singapura yang luas keseluruhan kini mencapai 5.800 meter persegi, hadir tak kurang dari eksibitor dari sekitar 376 perusahaan baik lokal maupun internasional. Atau ada sekitar 50.000 botol wine berbagai merek dari 30 negara.

“Kami bangga menjadi tuan rumah WFA 2009 dan kami menyambut baik seluruh pecinta wine, baik yang profesional, dari kalangan perdagangan wine serta para pelaku bisnis yang terkait di industri wine,” ujar Malcolm Tham, konsultan proyek WFA 2009.

Malcolm yang juga dosen di Science and Art of Wine dan International Wine Importer Course itu menambahkan bahwa event ini menyedot tak kurang dari 5.000 pengunjung dengan latar belakang trade dari Asia dan Pasifik, termasuk Indonesia tentu saja.

Banyak benefit yang bisa dicapat dari acara tersebut. Paling tidak seperti yang diakui Richard Lieu, Director – Trade Promotions California Wines, “Acara ini penting untuk mempertemukan penjual dan pembeli, dengan pasar Asia Pasifik.”

Hal senada diungkapkan oleh Eddy Sugiri, pemilik restoran The Peak di Bandung dan beberapa wine lounges di Bandung dan Jakarta. “Saya banyak belajar dari acara ini, baik dalam hal penyelenggaraan maupu ilmu tentang wine yang makin spesifik,” katanya.

Memang, WFA 2009 tidak hanya pameran. Lebih dari itu, acara ini menawarkan one-stop platform dengan penawaran-penawaran wine terbaru, kelas-kelas, dan tentu saja kesempatan networking bagi sesama pencinta gaya hidup, khususnya wine lovers.

Beberapa event khusus dalam WFA, antara lain “Penfolds Grange Vertical Tasting”, yakni mengenal Penfolds Grange lebih dalam, dan mengapa menjadi salah satu wine paling terkenal di dunia dalam cita rasa eksklusif. Pemandunya adalah Penfolds Brand Ambassador, Jamie Sach dan penerbit dari The Wine Review, Ch’ng Poh Tiong, yang telah mengadakan vertical tasting selama lebih dari 20 tahun meliputi periode 1983, 1990, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2002 dan yang baru saja dirilis, Spectacular 2004 Vintages. Inilah pengalaman sederhana, menikmati wine dari tujuh hasil panen terbaik yang pernah diproduksi, yang menyenangkan bagi pecinta wine!

Yang juga menarik adalah “Pinot Noir Forum”. Kelas ini berbicara tentang salah satu jenis wine yang populer di dunia, juga Asia tentu saja. Dalam beberapa tahun belakangan Pinot Noir telah meningkatkan penjualannya di Asia. Masyarakat Asia telah dipresentasikan dengan gaya yang berbeda dari Pinot Noir yang datang dari region yang berbeda di seluruh dunia, seperti Burgundy, Oregon, dan New Zealand. Pembicara utama dalam forum tersebut adalah ahli Burgundy, Jean Pierre Renard.

Juga, jangan lupa, sommeliers terbaik di Asia diadakan di WFA. Diselenggarakan oleh SOPEXA dan didukung oleh WFA tentu saja, kompetisi best sommeliers pertama di Asia Tenggara ini merupakan inaugurasi event landmark untuk sommelier lokal maupun internasional untuk berkompetisi di level internasional.

Para jawara dari berbagai negara, atau pemenang dari kompetisi nasional sommelier di Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapura, Thailand dan Vietnam diadu melawan satu sama lain dalam pertarungan over blind tasting of wines and spirit, juga bagaimana menampilkan makanan bersamaan dengan wine. Sayangnya Indonesia, yang diwakili Suryanto dari Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta, kali ini belum berhasil menjadi juara.

Tidak hanya pengetahuan tentang taste. WFA juga membuat kelas dengan topik yang berkaitan dengan bisnis wine. Di antaranya “Wine Business Forum: Responding to the World Financial Crisis”. Di sini dibahas kaitan antara krisis finansial global dengan industri wine. Sementara topik “International Wine Importer Course”, melengkapi kemampuan bisnis wine-related untuk memberikan mutu terbaik bagi bisnis wine.

Profesional dan agresif
Boleh diakui, sebagai negara penjual jasa, Singapura sangat profesional dalam berbagai penyelenggaraan event internasional, termasuk WFA. Berbagai lembaga yang berkaitan dengan industri wine saling mendukung dan bekerjasama. Dua lembaga yang penting dalam WFA adalah MP Asia Pte Ltd dan Wine Resources Pte Ltd. MP Asia adalah bagian dari grup MP International (MPI) yang memiliki spesialisasi dalam mengorganisasi pameran, konferensi dan event spesial untuk beragam industri dan grup. Didirikan di Singapura pada tahun 1987 dan didukung oleh jaringan internasional, grup ini telah mengorganisasi dan menyelenggarakan sekitar 300 event nasional, regional dan internasional.

Sementara Wine Resources bisnis utamanya adalah mengorganisasi event wine dan pendidikan. Mereka berkolaborasi dengan Singapore Polytechnic dan Singapore Chinese Chamber Institute of Business untuk menyelenggarakan program tersertifikasi dalam industri wine dalm bahasa Inggris dan Mandarin.

Selain profesional mereka juga sangat agresif. Dalam pra event, penyelenggara melakukan kampanye di negara-negara penghasil utama wine untuk menarik para pecinta wine dan eksportir dalam WFA 2009. Mereka melibatkan berbagai pihak, sebutlah anggota wine bodies, asosiasi, dan agen di negara-negara utama penghasil wine untuk mencapai industri wine internasional. Di antara para klien, penyelenggara WFA 2009 telah bekerja sama dengan agensi-agensi seperti Austrade dan Sopexa untuk memasarkan event ini.

Penyelenggara juga melakukan roadshow di Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, dan Indonesia tentu saja, untuk menarik pengunjung trade ke ajang WFA 2009, one-stop shopping venue di dalam industri wine regional.

Mengapa Singapura serius, karena industri wine memang lagi naik daun di Asia. Berdasarkan riset industri ini, wine di Asia bisa tumbuh sekitar 10-20 persen per tahun selama lima tahun ke depan, bersama dengan China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapura, dan Korea sebagai pemimpinnya. Nilai konsumsi di Asia (tidak termasuk Jepang) bisa bertambah dua kali lipat, mencapai US$17 miliar pada tahun 2012 dan melonjak menjadi US$ 27 miliar pada tahun 2017.

Dengan menjadi tuan rumah WFA, Singapura ingin menjadi pusat influensial bagi industri wine di Asia, di mana hal ini membuat WFA 2009 sebagai wadah bisnis untuk produsen wine di Asia Pasifik. Itu sebabnya, tidak hanya berhenti di WFA. Setelah event ini, rangkaian seminar wine dan tasting tingkat lanjutan akan diselenggarakan akan diselenggarakan. Sebutlah event serupa yang melibatkan International Congress of Chinese Cuisine & Wine Symposium di Shanghai, China.

Tawaran lanjutan post-WFA ke Shanghai, China ini jelas menarik dan menjadi nilai tambah, karena peluang untuk melakukan penetrasi lebih jauh. Asal tahu saja, China merupakan pasar wine terbesar ke sembilan di dunia. Nilai impor ke China diprediksi bisa mencapai US$ 870 juta pada tahun 2017, meningkat hampir lima kali lipat dari US$184 juta di tahun 2007. (Burhanuddin Abe)

Luxury cars overtaking one another

THE market for luxury cars in Indonesia seems to be unaffected by the ongoing global recession and fluctuating oil prices. While the medium and smaller cars are busy reinventing themselves and innovating to prepare for energy saving technology in facing increasing fuel prices, fuel hungry premium cars with 3,000 cc engines are being marketed as usual as if there is no fuel problem.

Luxury cars are being launched one after the other as if the economic situation is normal. Take for example, the BMW 730Li, which was launched this month to complement the 750Li and 740Li which were released early this year.

In Indonesia, the BMW 7 series is the market leader in the premium segment with price tags of over Rp 2 billion. This year, 37 of them had been sold by the end of September, double the number of sales last year in the series. "As the BMW flagship, the latest 7 series has not only received a number of international car awards, but it is also the choice of public figures, government officials as well as diplomats. Corporation heads have also chosen this high performance car to match their status and prestige," said Ramesh Divyanathan, President Director of BMW Indonesia.

The various superior features of the BMW 7 series are its elegant appearance that is combined with high technology, extreme comfort and excellent safety features. BMW customers realize that when they purchase a BMW 7 series car they have opted for an environmentally friendly car due to its BMW Efficient Dynamics technology. BMW has also been named the most sustainable car manufacturer for the last five years by Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

The new BMW 730Li is equipped with a six cylinder engine that can produce 258 hp at 6,600 rpm with a maximum torsion 310 Newton-meter at 2,600 rpm. This car can reach a speed of 100 kilometers per hour in just 7.8 seconds and reach the highest speed of 245 kilometers per hour. It consumes only 9.8 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers, while its CO2 emission is only 229 grams per kilometer.

Among its extreme comfort features are electrically adjustable seats, electric sunblind roller for rear and side windows, as well as an automatic air conditioner with four-zone control. The rear passengers can also enjoy their own entertainment system via an eight inch monitor, which can be adjusted for positioning, plus DVD that can be operated through a remote control.

In short, the BMW 7 series is equipped with many luxurious features. And the price? The 750Li sells for Rp 2.658 billion off the road, the 740Li for Rp 2.127 billion off the road while the 730Li Comfort carries a price tag of Rp 1.759 billion.

BMW is not the only car maker to record high sales figures this year. While most other car brands are fighting for sales, luxury cars seem to be overtaking one another. Over the past three months there has been a 66 percent increase in sales or 1,119 luxury cars, while during the same period last year only 676 units were sold.

According to sales data released by PT Mercedes-Benz Indonesia (MBI), in the first nine months of this year its total sales reached 2,931 vehicles, an increase of 0.3 percent on the 2,922 units sold over the same period. "Based on our analysis, there will be an increase of 12 percent in premium car sales from last year's figure, while for Mercedes it will be an increase of 15 percent this year," said MBI president director Rudi Borgenheimer in Jakarta.

Similarly, Volvo cars or Volvo Personvagnar has also achieved higher sales. Although the segment of the Swedish car is not as large as Mercedes and BMW, it still attracts luxury car consumers in Indonesia as Volvo cars are renowned for their comfort, stability, safety and durability.

Next to European luxury cars, the Lexus could be called Asia's high achiever in this segment. Initially this Japanese vehicle, produced by Toyota Motor Corporation, was more of a compact car with a sporty character. The IS type was introduced as the initial model slightly below Lexus ES and has to compete with the BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz class C and Infiniti G35.

In Japan, the first generation of Lexus IS was called Toyota Altezza, with the four-door sedan being launched at the end of 1998. The five-door sedan-station wagon crossbreed, called Altezza Gita, was released later. The RS200 Altezza has a four-cylinder 3S-GE engine, while the AS200 has a six-cylinder 1G-FE engine. Both have a 2,000 cc engine. The AS300 type has a 3,000 cc engine. For export purposes, Toyota markets the cars using the brand Lexus for the IS200 model with a 2,000 cc engine and IS300 with a 2JZ-GE 3000 cc engine. Its sedan-station wagon is called the SportCross.

The name Altezza is no longer used as Lexus is the official market name for the car in Japan. The car's latest model is far more luxurious than the previous generation. Lexus IS with the L-Finesse concept is available in various engine capacities and is marketed under the following names: IS250, IS220d, IS300 and IS350. All models are rear wheel types, while for IS250 an all-wheel drive is also available. Meanwhile Lexus IS-F is a high performing type with a V8 5.0 liter engine and is equipped with Brembo brakes as well as vehicle stability control.

What is clear from the current market situation in this segment is that the luxury cars seem to be surging ahead in sales figures. The car market started to improve in the second semester this year as the political situation became more conducive, interest rates dropped, the rupiah exchange value strengthened, exports were on the increase and economic growth was above 4 percent.

Rudi Borgenheimer of MBI estimates that by the end of 2009 the total sales of luxury cars will reach 4,050 units, which is an increase from the 2008 figure of only 2,931 units. Meanwhile, MBI as the market leader in this segment, has set a sales target of between 2,800 and 3,000 units for this year with a market share of 60 percent.

Sales data at MBI indicates that its retail sales have reached 2,022 units or up by 3 percent as of September 2009 as compared to the same period last year with only 1,972 units. Mercedes still leads the premium car market, with a 69 percent market share followed by BMW (21.1 percent), Lexus (6.1 percent), Audi (2.1 percent), Jaguar (1 percent) and Volvo (0.8 percent). (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, November 03, 2009