As a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia represents a key market for B.C. to grow and expand its trade network.
Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat is on a trade mission to Indonesia to learn more about the opportunities and challenges in the ASEAN market, and what the B.C. government can do to help companies be successful there.
One B.C. company she is meeting with today, Hatfield Consultants, has been particularly successful there. In 1990, its founder, Chris Hatfield, had an innovative idea - set up a regional office in Indonesia. It’s an idea that has resulted in a quarter century of success, with many more to come.
Over the last 25 years, the environmental consulting firm’s Indonesia operation has grown to approximately 40 staff and has the knowledge, experience and connections to be well-positioned to take advantage of Indonesia’s expanding economy - one of the fastest growing in Asia.
Hatfield vice-president Garth Taylor worked in the Indonesian office from 2000-05, and says the key to the company’s success has been its perseverance. “Why we’re still there and doing well is because we stuck it out through the very difficult economic times in the late 90s and after the monetary crisis in 2008, when industrial growth was at a standstill in Indonesia,” Taylor said. “So we bided our time, diversified our services, strengthened our workforce and network, and prepared for the good times.”
With its economy expected to grow by 5.1% this year, abundant resources, an expanding middle class and increasing urbanization, Indonesia has a lot of opportunity for B.C. companies looking to expand into Asia.
According to Taylor, the Indonesian market may be intimidating at first, but he says its economy is not so different from B.C.’s. For example, both B.C. and Indonesia have strong resource sectors including mining, pulp and paper and oil and gas. Taylor says that with many similarities to the B.C. economy, there is a lot of opportunity for B.C. companies to apply the skills they’ve developed in B.C. to the Indonesian market.
As a service provider, Hatfield Consultants also emphasizes the development of its employees. With a growing, skilled workforce in Indonesia, Hatfield is able to hire and train locals. “It’s very satisfying to hire young enthusiastic Indonesians directly out of university and watch them develop in a company where they can learn environmental consulting to an international standard,” said Taylor.
“Our current president of Hatfield Indonesia started out in Hatfield as a graphics specialist, making maps and figures for reports. He’s continually developed his skills over the last 15-20 years to the point where he’s now running the show there.”
Wat is attending an event to celebrate Hatfield’s 25th anniversary in Indonesia today as part of her trade mission to China and Indonesia March 27-April 9, 2015. Hatfield president Grant Bruce will be in attendance at the celebration, and will provide information about the challenges and opportunities in the Indonesian market at a breakfast roundtable.
Hatfield Indonesia: http://www.hatfieldgroup.com/indonesia/
Follow the trade mission on Twitter @BCJobsPlan (twitter.com) , #BCTM15
For more information about B.C. trade and investment opportunities visit: http://www.britishcolumbia.ca
Learn more about the BC Jobs Plan at: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Ministry of International Trade