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5 Takeaways from Tech in Asia Jakarta 2016

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The Tech in Asia conference held its fifth annual event in Jakarta this year, grouping  thousands of budding tech entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, venture capitalists, and thought leaders across Indonesia and Asia to share fresh insights into the world of tech and start-ups. Tech in Asia is an industry conference and networking opportunity that brings the tech community together and this year more than 240 startups were on exhibit.

Edelman Indonesia’s digital experts presented communications and marketing strategies to a room filled with industry leaders on how to best harness the power of social and digital and drive conversations with customers and key audience groups.

After two days of presentations and panel discussions, here are our favorite marketing communications and digital takeaways from this year’s Tech in Asia sessions:

  1. The internet of things (IoT) and data analytics are key areas of growth

Executives from General Electric (GE) and Bank Mandiri (Indonesia’s largest bank) spoke of how IoT and data collection, analysis, and interpretation will be huge areas of growth over the next few years, expected to be supported by more corporate investment. There is great and growing demand from the industry for new technologies, and companies that can provide services in this sector will flourish. GE spoke of how it is re-focusing a large part of its business into IoT to help improve their existing services in power, transport, energy and healthcare. To make it happen they are collaborating with tech start-ups that can add value to the business and enhance the way GE’s machines “talk to each other” to create a more intelligent and efficient process.

  1. Financial Technology (Fintech) start-ups are dominating the Indonesian and Asian start-up scene

Asian fintech startups have seen strong growth, mainly off expanding Internet penetration in Asia which is driven in a large part by Internet access via smartphones and the demand for online services that they can provide. E-commerce and price comparison sites have thus seen huge growth, and fintech players that can support e-commerce transactions are doing well. With traditional banking and credit services still off-limits to many in Asia, fintech is filling a gap. However, risk of market saturation and stagnant growth are legitimate concerns facing many venture capitalists.

  1. Budding new start-ups thrive when they provide solutions to support existing industries

The new start-ups in Asia that have done especially well are those that have supported and enhanced the services of existing industries, by adding value to the services they provide. In Indonesia, for example, Go-Jek has had success in re-inventing the transportation services market for a digital age, providing app-based hailing for motorcycle taxis in traffic-clogged Jakarta, food and beverage order and delivery, and package and courier services. Grab Taxi has enhanced existing taxi services and the entrance of Uber has also forced taxi companies to strengthen their online presence and provide better digital app based services to compete. In fintech, price comparison sites and money transfer websites have also had success in filling the void in information and money transfer services.

  1. Mobile is “the whole game” in Asia

Asia is a “mobile first market.” Digital services need to be provided in a mobile-friendly format or via an app based technology, as many consumers do not have or do not use traditional PC and wired internet connections. Today in Indonesia, for example, 132 million Indonesians have access to the internet; seven out of ten access the Internet via a mobile device. For communicators, this means that if websites, ads and content are not mobile friendly and built with a mobile user-experience in mind, these consumers will click elsewhere.

  1. The Attention Deficit: Websites need to pay more attention to design

A key theme from many of the marketing discussions during the conference was that too many companies are putting too much content on their websites. The UX is increasingly important in a “mobile first age.” This means site navigation needs to be simple and seamless, and avoid multiple pages and site click throughs;  being ruthless about reducing new page loads in often slower mobile browsers. Those websites that succeed consider their reader and make sure that the content and services they provide are engaging, mobile-friendly and, most importantly, simple. Too much text, a lack of visual or video content, and no social share buttons are guaranteed to make users click elsewhere.

Edward Parker is a manager with the Corporate & Public Affairs practice in Indonesia.

Image by Tech in Asia.
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