BlackBerry in Indonesia - A day in the electronics malls of Jakarta! (video)

By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Feb 2011 04:53 pm EST

Here's a fun multicultural post to hit CrackBerry on a Friday afternoon for the weekend...  two weeks back when I was in Indonesia for DevCon Asia I spent a day in Jakarta, and while there checked out a few of the electronics malls (that might as well be called BlackBerry malls as that's honestly what they are filled with). I've always considered New York City to be BlackBerry capital of world, but after seeing Jakarta with my own eyes I'm not sure even NYC at its all-time BB using prime could trump where Jakarta is at right now. To quote what one local told me... "it's social suicide to live here and not have a BlackBerry."

Check out the video above - I pieced together a bunch of the clips I grabbed while roaming around. BlackBerry Smartphones are simply for sale everywhere. I hit the shops early morning before they got too crowded, but it was pretty amazing to see the number of places (both unofficial and official) that are selling BlackBerry phones. And I barely scratched the surface in Jakarta... places like ROXY are even crazier than what's shown in the video. In some places I went, the penetration of BlackBerry had me thinking I was at a WES (now BlackBerry World) conference. I went to one restaurant where I swear every single person had a BlackBerry sitting on the table or in hand, or both (as if they owned two BlackBerrys - in Indonesia it's not uncommon for a person to carry two or three phones around at all times). It was definitely an experience to remember. Enjoy the video!

Reader comments

BlackBerry in Indonesia - A day in the electronics malls of Jakarta! (video)


well, the boom was in early 2009 when YM was supported. before then ppl thought i was selling cheap china phones when i offered them BlackBerrys. anyways it's really nice seeing Indonesia on crackberry when i think it should have been earlier. bb has become a necessity for from grandparents keeping in touch with families to working class ppl sharing informations.

No wonder he couldn't find a PlayBook, anybody who entered there with a PlayBook would probably be tackled by hundreds of people trying to play (no pun intended) with it, and then it would get passed around so much that erosion would make it disappear in minutes... Looks like a Blackberry haven.

it makes having a store there pointless. i bet stores go weeks without selling anything because its over saturated

Welll... not really.  I **think** most of those AT&T and/or T-Mobile ones you're seeing are actually used.  Like people sell them on craigslist or ebay and they get brought over and sold as new for a bit less even though they're not. Or maybe somebody else is selling them.  I almost think all those countless stores are owned by just a few bigger companies who know how to get them into the country, and then just sell via all those individual kiosks. I'm really not sure though. There are legit dealers too of course.  Crazy awesome place.

If you talk about legit Blackberry in Indonesia, actually there are two definitions of "legitimate" involved. Firstly, fully legitimate, which apply to all devices imported by distributors directly appointed and acknowledged by RIM (currently, there are five distributor of this kind). Devices coming from official importers then distributed through operator and/or directly sold through their own chain of stores.
Secondly, semi-legitimate, of which apply to devices imported by distributors not appointed by RIM.There are several distributors of this kind exist on market. They usually don't have their own chain store, instead they just supply directly to generic stores/kiosks like what Kevin saw at electronic mall in Jakarta. So, if you ask how i could say it is also legitimate? Well, the answer solely lies on certificate of validity issued by authorities ("Bea Cukai or Customs, and "Dirjen Postel" or Post and Telecommunication Directorate General)which they do actually have. Yeah, it's odd you might say, since the actual (fully) legitimate device also has it as well.
So, what are differences between the two?
Well, it is very easy to observe:
1. The price for semi legitimate devices is ALWAYS cheaper than the legitimate ones. I'd say the range is between US$ 30 to 50 depending on the device and color varieties.
2. Packaging box; the semi legitimate device usually derived from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and even Rogers, hence the packaging box would still carry their original identity. As for the fully legitimate ones, the box will always be plain, in black color stamped with just Blackberry logo on it.
3. Accessories found in retail box. The semi legit have tendency of reducing value added accessories such as memory card and pouch usually found right out of box. This is actually contributed to price gap between the two. While the fully legit will always offer full package of accessories.
Yet still, despite of clear disadvantages (except for the price) suffered by semi legit devices, they still enjoy majority of market share (nearly 80%) compared to fully legit ones. In Indonesia, price is really the king!

I'm looking for an Indonesian reseller for my BB apps. Is a good Business! Anyone?

feedback AT bbfour DOT com.


So I'm curious about where RIM's business is coming from, in the Philippines, vs the other guys (NOK, iPhone, Sony Ericsson, etc). Where and why. Why is is that there are SO many more shops selling BB vs the other guys? Is it:
- that the plans are cheaper for BB?
- that BBM allows people to not have to subscribe to SMS plans?
- that people there want devices with physical keyboards, vs slabs of glass?
- that the Southeast Asian market is now in the same place where the North American market was, two years ago?

What are the market dynamics that are in place which are making RIM much more successful over there, vs the perception here in the states (where the average person thinks that BB is dead - like it or not).

Very interesting comparison of the markets there vs here (US).

Before of course the market was dominated by Nokia then fare share with Motorola, SE, Samsung etc etc. However Blackberry has become the chosen device to communicate that there is very small market left for the other guys (Nokia, Motorola etc)

The BIS is ranges from US$5 - $10 a month depending on carriers and plans, so they are very cheap and affordable

SMS is not a plan we sign up for, it is a plan that's always built in onto our sim cards

I dont know much about the US market two years ago, but Blackberry has become an excellent way of communication with the ease of unlimited traffic for flat rate of just $10 a month excluding voice and SMS.

Most Blackberry users here in Jakarta use it for BBM to communicate with family, friends and business purposes, Email, Social Media apps, very little browsing, and that's enough to cover just about anyway of communication.

Yeah, ROXY is one hell (or heaven) with ppl with their own BB's!! My Dad worked around that place and whenever I visited to the Mall (called is ITC Roxy), someone usually bumps to me while walking and typing throught the tight corners of the ITC! But what I liked from ROXY is that this place has-almost-everything you needed for the BB's (ex : OtterBox, Sedio and others) that is hard to find from where I lived and sometimes it's a bit cheaper than you bought online *no intentions of saying that crackberry shop is less better though you guys has everything here :P!*

The prime reason behind Berry madness in Indonesia is that Indonesian really addicted to social networking. They actually - in extreme - would spend most of their time on updating their status - or commenting on friends' status - on Facebook, tweeting, or chatting via BBM. Blackberry IS acknowledged amongst Indonesian for the most efficient device to deliver such thirst of self-actualization where anything you said will be responded in no time.
You should aware to facts, that Indonesian are THE most active and largest user of Facebook and amongst three largest of Twitter, and yes, most of heavy traffic of such activities are coming from Blackberry devices!
@jonnymac: let me try to answer your curiousity.
1. Yes, we have cheaper plans here. Indeed, we do have various plans offered by operator and any of it would fit to any pocket :D. You'll find limited plan (social networking or email only) offerred at just US$ 6.25/month (yikes!) and also an unlimited one @ US$ 9/month. Even we do have an operator (EV-DO based) here offering unlimited plan plus NON-QUOTA tethering services for just.....US$ 19/month (holy cow!!)
2. No, SMS is core service embedded on any plan offerred. But, indeed, nearly all operator offer generous free SMS on daily basis. Would you believe if i tell you that an operator actually give you 3,000 SMS per day (!!) for free after voice usage for just 5 cents? So, i would say that SMS is not a drive for shifting to BBM here.
3. Yes, you're correct. Indonesian do hate touch screen-based device.That's why Storm and Odyn are totally failed to win hearts and minds here. Physical keyboard really rules the game. Only handful users - actually i would call them as enthusiasts, not casual users - would immerse theirselves on any touch screen smarphones.
4. Affirmative. Yet, i can tell you this, the market is still growing much bigger. Even RIM has acknowledged the strategic importance of SE Asia (especially Indonesia) market as part of their revenue portfolio.

Talking about comparison of market perception about BB, between U.S and IIndonesia, simply said that here in Indonesia, BB still at growing stage of product cycle, whereas in U.S, it has reached declining stage. You should also consider market psychological factor, i mean for most of Indonesian, having a Blackberry is a necessary to gain high social status. The more sophisticated BB device you have, the more people will look you in awe. This is a crucial factor for success of RIM in Indonesia. So, we can conclusively say that it is customer profile being key role for differing fate of RIM in U.S and Indonesia.

Wow That is crazy stuff in Indonesia ,and i thought i was bb adicted,lol The one thing i like about the torch and having a touch phone is that i can use an ereader on it, specifially mobipocket. Do people in indonisia use bbs for that as well or is it mostly social apps. I do like using facebook etc mostly to put my photos on and findout what family and friends are up to though.
I luv you guys a people who love the bb as much as me, most of my friends are stupid iphone users, or other devices.

this is like Pacific Mall in Markham times a million! is it like it is over here? all the non-descript stalls are actually owned by the same conglomerate!!!! so what did u buy?? did u get a cool Indo-BB t shirt or some rare accessory we dont get here??? i would be afraid to rock a torch in that mall for fear of getting mugged - seemed rare. is it too new ($$$) or just not desired because of the touch? can you grab me a car cradle for my 9800 please????


mostly the stores own by individual

the bigger seller, just only have approx 2-3 store , but they have a store in each mall
Jakarta has many mall , Indonesia is no 4 largest population in the world, after china & india

its funny cause I went to Shanghai and I had to look HARD to find a blackberry case... for every 20 Iphone 4 cases I saw their was one case for the 9700/9780... I was super pissed

You'd be surprised living in Honduras, where I live. Walking around the mall, you see even 10 yr/o girls walking around with a Blackberry in their hands! Makes you wonder what it really means to be in a 3rd World Country.
It's all about social networking; EVERYONE here wants a Blackberry and are getting it. Makes me want to move to Android.

Blackberry blast happens in almost every big cities in Indonesia. But what's interesting is that many Indonesian people (especially the young ones) don't seem to care about how much a Blackberry cost. They just want it, since Blackberry is the new trend here.
P.S. Blackberry price is quite expensive when you compare it with Indonesia's income per capita.

I'm in Blackberry Heaven when I was watching this video.. Thank the blackberry gods who created this place for use blackberry addicts!!! Nice Video!! Love it!!

Even my driver have an, whenever i need him, don't have to call..just ping him n bbm him on my way down to the lobby..

Try coming over here to the Philippines Kevin. You will be amazed with what Blackberry does for people all around here.

yeah! ench18 is right.. try visiting the philippines next kevin...I live in the Philippines too, and got to admit...People using BlackBerries is growing everyday...haha

Ha... you think indonesia is crazy, i recently experienced the same thing going to Panama! And have been to new york several times so i know wat i'm talking about as well! I've been to jamaica and panama and both of them are blackberry crazy! panama has the edge because of how many people are there! for my trip i got bumped to first class from el salvador to panama because of seating problems... and as we were landing i instantly noticed all the EXECUTIVE and SUIT guys around me pulling out blackberrys! i didnt think much of it because its SUIT guys lol... most of them have blackberrys in the US anyways! i quickly noticed everyone has a blackberry and lives on their bbm!! i go to the malls stores sites and the people who work at the stores or wherever are on their phones non stop... they are checking me out at the mall at the cash register and stop to send a message!! the malls and shops are full of blackberry phones and stuff mainly for blackberries!! its crazy! i went into a store that has everything blackberry! hard cases, holsters, soft cases, screen protectors, batteries.... they make the crackberry store look bad!! i bought a full OEM housing/ faceplate and keyboard plus the battery cover for my phone there! my phone was pretty beat up now its like new again... and i am telling u its like it came from the factory not any cheap plastic build housing or battery cover! The thing that got me the most is the taxi drivers!!! two times this happened... im catching a cab and the taxi man would be driving and living on his phone at the same time!!! i took a cab from the metro mall to where i was staying by the causeway... about 30 minutes taxi drive (the rates are great there too for public transportation) and this guy was DRIVING and SENDING MESSAGES THROUGH BBM the entire time!!! i thought it was hilarious... he never let go his phone... i SWEAR!! me and my girlfriend were laughing the entire time... i even took a small video of it... hahaha ... the guy even modified his car to have one of the small racing steering wheels so he can palm the steering wheel with one hand and bbm with the next one!! it was CRAZY lmfao!!

now kevin... about that blackberry magazine you were talking about... talk to me about it. i'd be more than willing to work with you on it hahaha!

Blackberry does have a market here in the philippines, and altho it is not as crazy as with Indonesia, BB usage has improved significantly, with telcos offering more plans, prepaid and postpaid, more options than, say, iphone. Unlike Indonesia where BB is crazy, and Singapore where everyone has Iphone, Philippine market is diverse! there is the good old reliable Nokia dumbphones for the budget conscious, Iphones and BB for showing off and social networking, HTC and Moto has a following here for tech enthusiasts, and SE, am not sure why they pick those phones hehe, Samsung ang LG for affordable touch screens.

haha. i'm from jakarta and yeah blackberry is already like a lifestyle kind of thing in there. many fakes going around as well for people low to medium income. oh yeah and there is only one golden rule in there money. money can buy you anything you don't have to know how to upgrade your os and stuff yourself and download your own apps they can do it for you. i don't like blackberry im more of an iphone person but the price of an iphone is still high in indonesia and the demand is not as much as blackberry too. we can't buy phones with a plan like in the US so everything is outright. you should try indonesian food they rocks. =D
hope you have a good time there kevin

How come there is Bold 9200 Onyx???
Onyx is 9700's Codename, How come?? IMPOSSIBLE

Anyway, It just look like 9700 with Trackball. I'll add this to my Products List :)

Went to Bali about 15 years ago and always wondered how people could make business after seeing mobile phone shops every 5 to 10 meters or so... I know better right now, with a population of 242 million people (Jakarta nearly 25 million people) ... Indonesia is a market to recon with.... Living now for about 5 months in Jakarta I had no other choice as buying a BB... my friends and others kept asking me for my BB-PIN you see... So finally I bought a BB Curve 9300 3G and man I love this thing! Working for a television production company my productivity went up with about 40% just because of being available 24/7 through BBM or my Email pushed into my Curve 9300....
It's great to see this video and I always said "If I was CEO of Apple, Nokia, Microsoft etc.... I would jump and make sure Indonesia was on my list as number one to do business...."

And yes in the between time we all know Indonesians love to socialize or by organized meetings in person (like the Arisan gatherings see or at a restaurant, bar, shopping mall or club... but even more popular now those days by chatting in BBM/BBM-Groups or through Facebook (no wonder Indonesia is the second largest group on FB after the USA)...

Guys I love your video and I would say give me a ring when you're back in Jakarta or Bali I can show you around even deeper into the world of mobile telephony especially BlackBerry!

Mario Jakarta Indonesia