Future for Creative Industries: Minister

Indonesia wants to more than double the creative industries’ contribution to the national economy in the next few years through aggressive development of the country’s rich, but largely untapped, artistic traditions and cultural heritage.

Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said the creative industries contribute about 4.75% of Indonesia’s $400 billion gross domestic product.

“I think we should be able to get it up to 10%,” she was quoted as saying by The Financial Times. “It will take five to eight years. But we think Indonesia can have a niche (in creative industries) because of the very rich artistic capability of Indonesia and the very rich cultural heritage, as well as very high skills.”

The move is seen as an important plank in a wider, long-term strategy to diversify Indonesia’s economy away from the resource-based industries and labor-intensive manufacturing on which it now relies.

Officials point to the recent arrival of Royal Doulton, the British tableware and collectables manufacturer, as a sign of how overseas companies can tap into Indonesian creativity. It has a large factory near Jakarta and recently transferred 1,400 jobs to it from Britain, opening a design studio nearby.

Narinder Arora, head of Royal Doulton in Indonesia, said the local population’s creativity is something of a hidden talent. “They’re very poor at marketing,” he said, “and they’re very shy people, but what we’ve discovered with our products is that the quality and the creativity is as good as their British counterparts.”

Pangestu said the drive to push investment in the creative industries would require a shake-up of government policies regarding intellectual property rights and education.
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