Yet Indonesia remains at an earlier stage of development than some of its neighbours, which in some respects can make it a more challenging place to do business. www.asialinkbusiness.com.au
Some pointers for doing business in Indonesia are as follows:
- Avoid wearing revealing clothing such as sleeveless shirts or shorts.
- Alcohol is not widely consumed and pork is prohibited for religious reasons. However, Indonesians generally tolerate alcohol consumption.
- Avoid pointing with an index finger, which is considered rude. Pointing with a thumb is acceptable.
- Avoid showing the soles of your feet when seated, as this is considered offensive, particularly if the soles face anyone in the room.
- The exchange of gifts is not widely practised in business.
- Always have plenty of business cards, and treat other people's cards with respect when they are handed to you.
- Ensure that your message has been fully understood, as Indonesians will not always indicate when they unsure about something.
- Long-sleeved batik shirts are regarded as formal wear (equivalent to a dark business suit in Australia). Trousers, shirts and ties are common business attire.
- Be aware of jam karet (rubber time). This is an indication that meetings may not necessarily start on time.
- When presented with tea or coffee, always wait for your host or hostess to drink first. It is also considered polite to at least sample the food or drink offered.
- Address each person using their title and first name, eg. Mr Andy or Miss Lia.
- RSVP requests are often not answered, but this does not mean someone will not turn up to a meeting.
- Never give or offer your business card (or any items) with your left hand.
- Do not attempt to force a decision. To attempt to do so will often have an adverse effect on negotiations.