Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, offers tremendous resources. However, it is often difficult for foreign investors to find or contact Indonesian suppliers.
In this article, we focus on common barriers foreign companies face when looking for suppliers in Indonesia. We also bring out some reasons why it might be beneficial to use a supplier search service instead.
Indonesian suppliers are not active on the Internet
Difficult to find suppliers online
Most popular channel to turn to when in search of new vendors is the Internet. The first obstacle to your supplier search in Indonesia, however, can already emerge when you discover that it is quite hard to find Indonesian suppliers online.
The reason behind this is that the majority of Indonesian companies are still at an infant stage when it comes to the Internet. If the company does have a website, it may be with outdated (contact) information or it may not be found on Google easily.
There is a saying that the best place to hide a body is page 2 on Google search results. When searching for Indonesian suppliers on Google, you might need to dig deeper and even go to pages 3,4…10,11, if necessary.
You can also get better results if you search for the term in Indonesian.
Insufficient or old information on their websites
As already mentioned, Indonesian suppliers are not very actively promoting their businesses online. If you find a website of a supplier that seems to match your criteria, chances are that the information on it is incomplete or outdated.
Businesses in Indonesia do not put a lot of emphasis on making themselves visible online or keeping the already existing information updated. Pay attention to the time the website was created and the information added.
If possible, it also helps if you check the information from other sources as well.
Not easy to get a reply
Even if you manage to get the contact information of the vendor you are interested in, odds are that you won’t get a reply to your inquiry.
Most Indonesian businesses are not eager to reply to emails, especially from senders they don’t yet know.
This is partly a technical issue – they don’t have proper lead management systems in place – and partly a matter of trust. Indonesians are generally very cautious with people they don’t know well and thus, are likely to assume that you are not serious.
Communication via email can work well, but only if you already have been in contact before. Our recommendation is that instead of sending cold emails, try to reach the supplier via phone. Better yet, aim for a face-to-face meeting.
If you are not able to travel to Indonesia yourself, Emerhub can act as your local representative. We can arrange and conduct meetings with suppliers you have already selected or search for suppliers on your behalf.
Question of reliability
When forming new partnerships, particularly with foreign associates, there can always be a chance that something might go wrong.
- Getting scammed
- Missed deadlines
- Incorrect paperwork from the suppliers
- Price differences
In order to minimize the risk of falling prey to scammers and other inconveniences, make sure you always do your research before entering any agreements with new partners.
Using Alibaba for supplier search in Indonesia
Alibaba can be a starting point for supplier search in Indonesia. However, keep in mind that many Indonesian companies are not listing correct information, especially when you see a price that seems too good to be true.
Also, if the price is missing or has too many zeros, they are probably indicating it in the wrong currency.
In this case, it is also smart to look up more information about your potential business partner or use a third-party consultant.
Non-compliance with quality requirements
Another frequent issue is the poor quality of the products. Foreign investors often find that the products they ordered don’t comply with their quality requirements and thus are forced to revoke their orders.
You can avoid such hassles by conducting proper quality control beforehand. More information via [email protected].
Other difficulties that are common to arise are all sorts of communication issues – from lack of knowledge regarding the local culture to language barriers from both sides.
Foreign investors who are used to getting everything done using English can experience difficulties in Indonesia. For this reason, we strongly recommend involving a local advisor. This way you will avoid any linguistic ambiguities.
A local partner will also help you understand the local business culture better by interpreting the unwritten habits of doing business in Indonesia.
Building relationships with suppliers
In Indonesia, like in many other Asian countries, one of the most important aspects of conducting successful business is to build a relationship with your local associates first.
Importance of connections in Indonesia
Indonesians respect connections and relationships highly. Therefore, if a mutual or a local contact introduces you to them, it will add credibility and make them more willing to discuss business with you.
If you are new to Indonesia and do not have such connections yet, Emerhub can be your partner. We will assist you with initiating contact with your future suppliers in Indonesia.
Don’t assume that ‘Yes, Boss’ means that you have a deal
The term ‘Yes, Boss’ is a very widespread and somewhat automatic expression in the Indonesian way of communication. Don’t take it at face value when discussing business.
In other words, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Make sure you always reconfirm everything before you celebrate a deal too early.
There is no doubt that Western way of doing business differs from Indonesian business customs quite a lot. We have further described the topic in our previous article about the diverse business culture of Indonesia.
Why use supplier search service in Indonesia
#1 Easier than finding suppliers in Indonesia on your own
The process of using our supplier search service is quite simple and straightforward. All you need to do is provide us with details about the product you are looking for and we will handle the rest.
The time frame from contacting us to sealing the deal depends on the complexity of the product you are looking for. It also depends on how easy it is to contact the suppliers.
In general, it takes 3-6 weeks to find suppliers that match your criteria.
In order to start the supplier search you can simply fill in this form:
#2 Find quality partners in Indonesia
Indonesia can be a complex market, especially for newcomers. Emerhub has over 6 years of experience during which we have worked with hundreds of foreign and local companies all over Indonesia.
This has allowed us to build a strong network and gain knowledge of where to look for reliable local partners and how to cooperate with them successfully.
We collect offers from multiple sources and can later advise you on choosing the offer with the most optimal price.
#3 Risk-free and transparent
Most importantly, Emerhub’s supplier search service in Indonesia is a non-binding service and 100% free for you.
We only get paid if we deliver our service successfully and charge a small commission on the transactions. Therefore, you won’t take any financial risks.
#4 Focus on your core business
Supplier search is a non-core activity which means that you can easily outsource it. In addition to the already mentioned benefits, supplier search service also entails other perks that you might not think about at first.
For example, the journey from finding suppliers to reaching a deal can be quite time-consuming. Furthermore, it can be costly for your business as well.
All that time you spend on browsing and processing information about numerous suppliers you could use on improving your core business instead.
Getting started with Indonesian supplier search
Send your inquiry by filling in the form below or visit our supplier search page to start with finding suppliers in Indonesia.