Thursday, August 30, 2007

Change The World For A Fiver

Three years ago I bought a book called ‘Change The World For A Fiver’. I like the idea inside it. It's a must-have!

The book contains 50 small actions to change the world and 'make you feel good’, and is printed on ‘chlorine-free paper from trees grown in sustainable forests’. We Are What We Do is the Community Links project behind this straightforward but brilliant book (see website bellow).

The actions contained within it are diverse, ranging from Action 46 ‘Use both sides of every piece of paper’ to Action 19 ‘Learn one good joke’. Some of them would appeal to thrifty people, ‘Turn your thermostat down by 1ยบ’ (Action 10), and some actions are very simple ‘Smile, and smile back’ (Action 5).

My favourite action is ‘Reverse Haggling’ (Action 27), where the book advises you to ‘confuse the wonderful people who work in charity shops – pay them more than they bargained for’.I did it several times in England and they thought I'm a stupid Asian.

I have tried and tested some of the ideas in this book, particularly declining plastic bags in shops, watching less TV, and turn off the tap water while brushing my teeth. It is simple but bring a great effect to our world, isn't it?

Hopefully this book will inspire more of us to ‘Give blood’ (Action 26) and to ‘Do something you think you can’t do’ (Action 32), even if being ‘the change you want to see in the world’ (Action 28, thanks to Gandhi) seems a bit daunting.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Honda launches new models to regain loss in market share

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Motorcycle producer PT Astra Honda Motor (AHM) will launch three new models with more stylish and sporty features this year to regain its market leadership, which has dropped significantly since January amid growing competition from its main competitor, Yamaha.

AHM, which has been the motorcycle market leader in Indonesia for many years, launched one of the new models Friday, promising more affordability and reliability to Indonesian motorcycle fans.

The Honda Fit X bebek model, which has a 100cc four-stroke engine and a price tag of Rp 10.5 million (about US$1,129) off the road, is now available in Jakarta.

Dubbed "economical, reliable and functional", the Honda Fit X and two upcoming products -- a sporty motorcycle and an automatic scooter -- are expected to increase the company's sales by 20 percent this year, AHM marketing director Johannes Loman said at the launching ceremony.

He said the company hoped to sell between 2.2 million and 2.4 million motorcycles this year. "We are still looking to be number one in Indonesia," said Johannes.

With the expected increase in sales, AHM is currently increasing its production capacity so as to be able to produce about 200,000 motorcycles a month beginning September, he said.

AHM, which has led the country's motorcycle market for many years with a market share of about 55 percent, has seen its market share decline since January this year amid an aggressive marketing campaign by its main rival, Yamaha.

Honda's monthly market share fell to between 42 and 45 percent in the first semester of this year from an average of more than 53 percent last year.

By contrast, Yamaha's monthly sales continued to increase in the first six months of this year. In July, its sales amounted to 161,016 motorcycles, far higher than the 131,615 motorcycles it sold in the same month last year. Meanwhile, Honda's monthly sales fell to 143,223 in July from 186,047 in the same month last year.

In the first semester of this year, national motorcycle sales amounted to 2.11 million, with AHM controlling 43 percent of the market, Yamaha 41 percent and Suzuki and other producers the remaining 16 percent. Last year total motorcycle sales amounted to 4.42 million units.

Japanese motorcycles still dominate Indonesia's motorcycle market. Chinese-made motorcycles have tried to make inroads into the market over the last five years, but with little success.

However, the entry of TVS Motor, the leading two-wheel manufacturer in India, will make the competition even tighter,

The company's Indonesian unit TVS Motor Company Indonesia has recently launched its Neo and Apache motorcycle brands in the country.

TVS Motor chairman Venu Srinivasan said recently that he was upbeat the company's Indonesian unit would be able sell up to 100,000 units in its first year of operations, despite the strong competition from more established manufacturers in the country.

In order to meet this sales target, the company specially designed its two new small-engine capacity models to satisfy the unique characteristics of Indonesian buyers, he said.

The motorcycles will be sold at prices ranging from Rp 9 million to Rp 11.8 million, off the road (excluding tax). As an initial step, the motorcycles will be available in Jakarta and West Java. (02)

Industry minister backs Kadin's initiative in logging dispute

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Industry Minister Fahmi Idris has lent his support to the initiative by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to ask President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to resolve an embarrassing dispute over logging between the National Police and the Forestry Ministry.

Speaking Thursday during a press conference at the Industry Ministry, Fahmi said that all of the stakeholders in the pulp and paper industry would meet soon to resolve the dispute in order to provide a healthy business climate for the industry without undermining the legal process.

"The government and Kadin share the same concern about the pulp and paper industry. Therefore, we will invite all stakeholders to look for a solution in the next few weeks," said Fahmi.

As part of the fight against illegal logging, the National Police have been conducting a series of operations, labeled overeager by the industry, that have resulted in the halting of the operations of many pulp and paper firms and their suppliers in Riau province. As a result, the country's two biggest pulp and paper companies, PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper and PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper, are faced with a serious shortage of raw materials.

Fahmi said that while the ministry supported the implementation of Presidential Decree No. 4/2005 on the eradication of illegal logging, he was concerned about the investment climate in the forestry industry, which is one of the five industries that contribute the most to the country's exports.

"The implementation of the decree has disrupted the pulp and paper industry, and has led to a decrease in production volume. Therefore, we are impartially trying to find a solution. While we support the war against illegal logging, we also need to protect industries that provide our exports," said Fahmi.

The value of pulp and paper exports in 2006 amounted to about US$3.5 billion out of $8 billion for the entire forestry sector.

The pulp and paper industry employs some 249,000 people in 14 pulp and paper factories in Riau, South Sulawesi, North Sumatra, Jambi, East Kalimantan and Aceh.

Kadin chairman MS Hidayat, who accompanied the minister at the conference, said that the dispute between the National Police and the Forestry Ministry, which has been going on for eight months, could cost the two companies as much as US$2 billion due to the decline in production.

He said that Kadin supported law enforcement, but also pointed to confusion between illegal logging and legal logging.

"Some companies that have legal permission from the state for logging have become the target of arbitrary police actions. Police cordon off their equipment, concessions and processing facilities without sufficient evidence," argued Hidayat.

He warned that if the dispute continued, the two companies would be out of raw materials by October, and might have to resort to massive layoffs.

He added that the dispute showed there was still no legal certainty in Indonesia -- something that had serious implications for the investment climate. (02)

Indosat boosts capital expenditure to $1.2b

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

PT Indosat, the country's second largest mobile phone operator, will increase its capital expenditure this year to US$1.2 billion from $1 billion as initially planned to further expand its networks and improve the quality of its services.

Indosat president director Johnny Swandi Sjam said Wednesday around 15 to 20 percent of the capital expenditure would be used to expand cellular networks, including the building of new base transceiver stations (BTS), while the remaining would be used to improve services.

As of June this year, the company had built 8,366 BTS, or a 33.9 percent increase from the 6,248 BTS in June last year.

Indosat finance director Wong Heang Tuck said about $300 million of the $1.2 billion capital expenditure would come from the company's own fund and the remaining $700 million from bank loans and the issuing of bonds.

"The company still needs around $200 to 300 million from other sources," Wong said.

Sjam said increasing capital expenditure for capacity expansion was needed because the number of Indosat's cellular subscribers had already increased by 44.3 percent to 20 million as of June from 13.9 million in the same month last year, while the number of its fixed wireless subscribers surged by 132.3 percent to 483,400 from 208,100.

He said the first semester showed a good record in consumer growth, so the company changed the new subscriber target number for this year to seven million from six million as initially planned.

The sharp increase in the number of subscribers resulted in a 33.3 percent increase in the company's total revenue to Rp 7.69 trillion (about US$826.8 million) in the first half of 2007 from Rp 5.76 trillion in the same period last year.

"Indosat's success in the first half of 2007 is attributed to the growing demand for cellular, fixed-voice and fixed-data services," Sjam said in a press briefing.

He explained that cellular operating revenues grew by 37.4 percent to Rp 5.89 trillion in the first half of 2007 from Rp 4.30 trillion in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, fixed-data service revenues grew by 9.9 percent to Rp 1.01 trillion in the first half of 2007 from Rp 927.3 billion due to increasing demand of wholesale and corporate consumers to rented internet circuit, internet protocol virtual private network (IPVPN) and internet services.

Fixed-voice service revenue grew by 41.1 percent to Rp 774.4 billion from Rp 548.9 billion in the same period last year and was driven by an increased demand for international calling and fixed wireless services.

The cellular business contributes 77 percent to the company's total revenue, while its fixed-voice and data services contribute around 10 and 13 percent respectively.

Sjam said the company's operational spending increased by 34.8 percent to Rp 5.66 trillion in the first half from Rp 4.19 trillion in the same period in 2006. Therefore, its operational profit increased by 29.4 percent to Rp 2.03 trillion from Rp 1.56 trillion, while its net profit soared by 54 percent to Rp 845.1 billion from Rp 548.8 billion. (02)

Bank Niaga signs mortgage agreement

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

PT Bank Niaga signed a memorandum of understanding on apartment mortgages Friday with property developer PT Asiana Lintas Ciptakemang, which is currently building apartments in Kemang, South Jakarta.

Under the agreement, buyers of PT Asiana's apartments will be able to get loans from the bank with an interest rate of 9.9 percent a year.

Bank Niaga's head of mortgage banking Laksmi Mustikaningrat said that with the agreement, the apartment buyers would be able to process their loans much faster than under the normal procedure.(02)