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Investigating Indonesia

Indonesia's huge potential is not in question: with 260m people, it has the world's fourth-largest population -- a giant group of young and increasingly well-off consumers; it has decent natural resources but also a thirst for imports; there is a massive need for building out its infrastructure, both physical and financial, given a severely underbanked population; there is even a burgeoning domestic tech scene that has spawned unicorns like Go-Jek, the ride hailing app.

Yet for most outsiders, Indonesia remains a frustrating place, with high hurdles to doing business. While it is a democracy and offers political and economic stability (most of the time), the rule of law can be a little fuzzy at the edges. Massive bureaucracy, corruption, the tight hold on the reins of power of a small group of powerful families all make it hard for foreign investors and foreign companies to operate.

One of the first barriers confronting them is the sheer opacity of the place. Just getting basic, reliable data can be really hard. This is where scoutAsia is trying to help -- though, as we freely admit, we face the very same difficulties when it comes to gathering information.

To that end, we have just added the Jakarta Post as a second Indonesian news feed to complement Antara. As one of the country's leading English-language daily newspapers with a strong focus on business, it will increase the amount of Indonesian corporate news in scoutAsia. Here, for example, is an article analysing the domestic market for smartphones.

On top of that, we are seeking to provide deeper, original analysis of different industries in Indonesia, written by scoutAsia's own team of researchers. This is our latest report on the country's rapidly expanding peer-to-peer lending sector and how it differs from that in China. 

Meanwhile, we have also increased the number of Indonesian companies in scoutAsia to just over 23,000 from around 1,500 last year. For many of these we have only limited financial information (if that), but we hope that their inclusion in our database will help our users gain a better understanding of the size of the various sectors of the Indonesian economy -- and spur you to further research. 

And as soon as we unearth more data, we will bring it to you.

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