Indonesia bucks PC trend, offers untapped market

Its currency may be depreciating along with other currencies in the region, but Indonesia offers much potential for hardware manufacturers with a largely untapped 3 percent PC penetration rate.

Dell recently launched two commercial workstations , mobile and tower, aimed to help professionals in accelerating their design activities. Struggling with falling PC sales and rising competition from Chinese manufacturers, particularly in the consumer sphere, the Texas-based hardware maker still see opportunities in Indonesia's enterprise market and introduced two mobile-modeled Precision series M4800 and M6800, as well as the tower-modeled Precision trio comprising T4800, T5610, and T7610.

Dell Latest Precision Tower Lines T3610, T5610, T7610
Dell Precision Tower T3610, T5610, and T7610

Despite double-digit declines in the global PC market, including most of Asean countries as IDC numbers indicate, Indonesia still seeing pretty promising growth. According to IDC's quarterly PC Tracker, this year first quarter grew 4 percent to clock 1.37 million in unit shipment over the previous quarter and for the full year, Indonesia is expected to witness 2 percent growth year-on-year.

Few months ago, similar nuance of optimism is also revealed by AMD and Lenovo. Known for its graphical, chipset, and microprocessor, it is no surprise that AMD is confident of hitting more than 10 percent market growth by lining up several new products throughout the year, expanding almost two-fold more than what it achieved last year in the Indonesian market.

Lenovo in May became the world's largest PC maker and reached its target of securing 7.7 percent market share in Indonesia by strengthening distribution channels across the nation. According to IDC, it broke sales record by attaining 10.5 percent share in second-quarter fiscal 2013 in the country which boasts a US$1 trillion economy.

Digging deeper into the market potential here, here's my take. 

First, regardless of the plunging Rupiah which is highly influenced by the strengthening U.S. economy--and other nations have experienced declining currency value--as well as a higher inflation rate than the government and many analysts predicted, the largest Southeast Asian market will still end its fiscal year with economic growth of over 4 percent.

Second, IT spending including consumer and enterprise is estimated to surpass US$16 billion. This number means a lot particularly for local players as more than half of PC shipment are dominated by homegrown products (read: assembly PC).

Third, from one of the studies I recently stumbled upon, demographically until 2020, 70 percent of the 245 million population here will be in their work-productive age. More than 170 million people will become the captive market PC manufacturers can explore and tap.

Fourth, according to the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association (APJII), the country's Internet penetration rate has reached 26 percent with 63 million Indonesian netizens. And some of you would already know these oft-quoted stats for the local market...45 million Facebook users, 30 million Twitter users, and so on. Behind these stellar numbers, though, the number of PC owners in the country is comparatively low at only 8 million, or just 3 percent. And it's mainly driven by enterprises. To give a comparison, the average penetration rate across our Southeast Asian neighbors is 20 percent.

Finally, to give more context, in relation to the above paragraph, will iPad and Samsung tablets ever replace functionalities offered by a commercial workstation? Hell, no! Could a PC assembled by an experienced technician with mediocre quality control in a Soho, professional office cubicle, researcher workdesk, or digital artist fancy a studio accompanied by 3D software, running specific application, benefit optimally from movie software? Not really. From what I've seen in the past for years in the country where I was born and raised, it's not gonna happened.

As the numbers indicate, there's still untapped potential in the Indonesian market for PC players.