An increasing number of foreign investors have been eyeing business opportunities in Indonesia, as indicated by the growing demand for instant offices, said Mee Kim, President of PT. Citra Eksekutip Otorita (CEO), a major operator of instant offices
“Instant offices spare businesspeople the problems of finding suitable office space and recruiting English-speaking local employees,” Kim said in an interview at CEO’s second instant office center at the Wisma GKBI building on the Sudirman thoroughfare, which officially opens on Thursday
She said the concept of the instant office enabled any businesspeople to simply walk in and have a nice office in five minutes and start their own business activities on the same day
Instant office is also quite suitable for mobile businesspeople as the facility enables them to receive every incoming call or message through high-tech telephone system without having to be in the instant office all time.
Kim said her company especially helped foreign investors to fit in with Jakarta by providing them with a functioning office that allowed them to concentrate on their business the very same they arrived here
“We act as an incubator. We reduce the culture shock, so that they can easily fit in,” she added. She said unlike traditional offices, CEO Instant Office could offer more flexibility in rent payments, which could range from daily to monthly fees. Kim said the concept of instant offices was already familiar to Western businessmen and had begun to attract Asian companies as well.
She said part of her company’s mission was to help foreign businesspeople visiting Indonesia to focus on their businesses without being bothered by the time-consuming preparations of establishing an office. CEO provides furnished offices that include secretaries and receptionists, and a range of other services to allow businessmen establish their own office operations immediately after arriving in Jakarta.
“Foreign companies entering Indonesia prefer this type of service over the hassle of trying to immediately rent a new office and recruit personnel upon arriving in the city,” she said. However, she added, the economic crisis, along with the political uncertainties, made it harder to attract clients or even to maintain clients much longer in the country. “But I eventually managed to convince them with an argument that if they pulled out they would lose their contacts and their names would be quickly forgotten,”.
Most clients stay between two to six months at CEO’s offices, before they settle in their own offices, she said, adding that some, mostly representative offices with only two to three personnel, were permanent tenants at CEO offices. Building a corporate image was another product of a serviced office, since such businesses usually were housed in prestigious, prime-site office buildings with impressive interior designs, she said.
Kim said CEO started with its first instant office center at the Jakarta Stock Exchange Building in 1997 but the growing demand for this service had prompted her company to open its second office center at the GKBI building on the Sudirman thoroughfare. Kim who has been in the instant office business for over 10 years, started CEO in 1997 after having worked for about eight years in an overseas instant office company during when she managed office centers in Singapore and Bangkok before eventually assigned to open another branch in Jakarta. “It was in 1992, we were alone in the market, it was a pretty easy business,” she said
She said in order to survive the economic crisis, CEO relied on companies that were downsizing and with only a couple of people left had to move to an instant office.