Investors across the world can hardly have failed to notice a hugely ambitious project for a new city that’s tipped to be Indonesia’s answer to tech center Silicon Valley, China’s economic powerhouse of Shenzhen, or the Manhattan financial hub.
Meikarta is satellite city under construction some 40 kilometers east of Jakarta, Indonesia, intended to solve some practical issues holding back Southeast Asia’s biggest economy with a strong annual GDP growth of just over 5%.
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An island nation that struggles with infrastructure problems, red tape and attracting expatriate talent is not dragging its feet. Six major infrastructure projects in the region including a rapid train, a deep seaport, an international airport and a monorail will together improve the flow of goods and people. President Joko Widodo has been reported to be planning to revoke as many as 3,000 regulations that hamper the competitiveness of the country. As for whether top talent will chose to settle in the luxury apartments under construction in Meikarta, the picturesque beaches, the colourful traditional culture and the chance to be a part of what could become the economic driver of all of Southeast Asia will certainly attract a number of business pioneers.
Major TV channels in the US, including CNN, CNBC and Fox all have covered the Meikarta project. During an interview on CNN, Michael Zakkour, columnist for Forbes and an Asia business expert, mentioned high-profile billboard campaigns in Paris, Tokyo, and New York, and that Indonesia seems to be everywhere you look, “I think what we’re seeing is the result of optimism about Indonesia as a business center for middle-class consumers and businesses all over the world looking for the next big opportunity,” he said.
This optimism is well-founded. The Bekasi-Purwakarta special economic zone east of Jakarta will alleviate problems faced by the capital such as overcrowding, and has favourable climatic, geographical and demographic conditions. It is thus highly tipped to be a destination for international capital. A range of incentives and waived tariffs for setting up factories has caught the eye of big players – US tech giant Apple Inc. has already installed its Southeast Asia R&D center in Meikarta.
Investment is available not just in business but also in real estate. The Indonesian-based property developer Lippo group has announced office buildings will be filled by companies including Mitsubishi (Japan), Volkswagen (Germany) and BP (Britain).
The satellite city will, in its final phase, accommodate 200 skyscrapers with an area of over 22 million square meters, including apartments as well as hospitals, universities and shopping malls. A very wide range of investment opportunities are on offer; Standard & Poor’s in May raised the raised the country’s credit rating to investment grade. The sovereign rating lift to BBB- from BB+ with a stable projected outlook has boosted the appeal of Indonesia’s assets.
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