|Setyono Djuandi Darmono, the chairman and founder of Jababeka Group in Indonesia, speaks during an interview with The Korea Times held at the Lotte Hotel, Jung-gu, Seoul, Wednesday./ Hankookilbo photo by Lee Han-ho|
By Jung Hae-myoung
Setyono Djuandi Darmono is the founder and chairman of Jababeka Group, which has more than 1,500 companies operating in its industrial estate in Cikarang, Indonesia.
Darmono met with The Korea Times at the Lotte Hotel, Jan. 29, to talk about his business philosophy and thoughts on working with Korean companies.
Darmono emphasized the importance of having a philosophy rather than focusing on making money. The basis of his business philosophy is "Pancha Sila," which was an ideology introduced by President Sukarno, the founding father of Indonesia.
"In 1945, Indonesia called for independence from the Dutch. Pancha Sila was the uniting ideology of all the 700 different ethnicities with different religions," he said.
The five principles of Pancha Sila are belief in one god, humanity, nationality, democracy and social justice. As this philosophy led to the unification of Indonesia, it also helped Darmono to manage the industrial estate that houses many multinational firms with a need to cooperate.
"In township development, we want to have a mix of multinational companies, local companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)," he said.
He also stressed the importance of education, which led him to establish President University, which is the only university in Indonesia with all its courses taught in English. This is based on his philosophy that good leaders are those with good character supported by knowledge and skills.
Although he deems knowledge and experience as very empowering, he hopes students at the university will become wise enough to take on leadership roles in their respective countries.
"By the time they graduate, the students would have international friends, speak English and will have built character. Our emphasis is to provide an environment in which we build character," he said.
Darmono started the company by being the "driver" of a consortium of 21 "shareholders" in Indonesia back in 1989, when the business owners wanted to build cheaper factories near Jakarta.
He started by transforming 5,600 hectares of vacant land into a modern city at Cikarang, 40 kilometers from Jakarta, with the vision of developing a compact city.
"The vision was to make investors from all over the world feel at home building their factories, and living in a residential area with an emphasis on the environment," Darmono said.
He noted that his company plays the role of a "container" for multi-national firms and welcomes the "contents" from different countries. By providing water, education, and residential areas, he has made a friendly environment for foreign investors there.
"Now we are developing four cities and are jointly redeveloping old Jakarta city. We hope to invite more Korean companies to join us in developing more cities."
Continuing its positive partnership with Korean companies, Jababeka Group signed an MOU with Korea's Daewon, Jan. 13. Asked about the strength of Korean companies, Darmono put forward three factors.
"First is timing, as Korea came in a big way to Indonesia in 1998, when Japan and the rest of the world stopped investing due to the ASEAN crisis," he said. "Second is that Korea came with a large number of SMEs thus big companies found a plentiful supply of raw materials." Finally, he said Korean products are of high quality and technologically superior and are therefore very competitive in the world market.
He also hinted that Korean companies should forge partnerships with young Indonesian companies who have well-educated employees and who are hungry for success.
Darmono recently joined the Korea-Indonesian Management Association (KIMA) and gave a speech based on his book, "Build a Ship While Sailing," as part of the Korea-Indonesia Forum held at St. Mary's Hospital in Seoul, Jan. 30.