According to the recently released e-conomy SEA 2016 report conducted jointly by Google and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, Indonesia’s internet economy is growing at 26% annually.  And it “will be worth about US$81 billion in 10 years, or about 40% of the total Internet economy of the entire South-East Asian region, which is predicted to hit US$197 billion by 2025”, according to a recent report by Digital News Asia.

Notably, Indonesia is host to 29% of all of South East Asia’s startups, more than is currently in Singapore. Google Indonesia’s managing director Tony Keusgen told Digital News Asia that:  “The kind of Internet user growth that we are seeing in Indonesia will eventually change the way Indonesians learn, set up businesses, and communicate.”

Legal services and the internet:  A confluence of interests in Indonesia

As Nick Seddon, Partner with Australia’s Beaton Capital detailed in 2014, Indonesia represents the most significant regional opportunity for foreign law firms, as a result of its’ immense and growing middle class and affluent consumers (currently 75 million).  This number is projected to rise to 141 million by 2030. Too, as Seddon detailed:  Indonesia’s economy over the last decade has been a consistently good performer, while enjoying innate politically stability.  Despite not having yet substantively liberalized its’ legal markets, it remains an attractive locale for foreign law firms to forge alliances.

A wide variety of legal services models can and likely will, thrive in Indonesia

Foreign law firms, however, are not the only legal services business model poised to reap the benefits of Indonesia’s attraction and digital transformation.  Within the region already, the internet economy has helped power legal startups including LegalVision in Australia and AsiaLawNetwork in Singapore.  Given the growth of the internet economy in Indonesia coupled with its attraction for legal services – it seems a matter of time before Indonesia’s legal market will be transformed by the same forces.  As Google’s Keusgen told Digital News Asia:  “This is why companies [read: law firms] need to change too – now is the time for them to take advantage of the momentum.”

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal and is the author of A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets. He specializes in providing writing, editing, research and strategy services to the corporate and professional services sectors. Between 2002 and 2008, he established and directed the European representative business development office of US AmLaw 100 law and public policy firm Patton Boggs LLP. At the inception of his career, he served as a writer to the President of the United States in the White House. A licensed American lawyer, he holds a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law.

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