Franky Oesman Widjaja, Chairman of PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology
East Ventures


5 April, 2023


Developing digital ecosystems in the business world: Franky Oesman Widjaja, Chairman of PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology

Digital adoption is a must, but there are still gaps in the regions. What are the efforts and programs to support digital equity in the regions?

Through the joint work of the private and public sectors, telecommunication and digital infrastructure continue to be improved. Communities in remote areas need appropriate technology that can support their social and economic activities, without abandoning the local wisdom that exists there.

Technology assists their activities in cultivating agriculture, plantations, fisheries, and animal husbandry, connecting them with capital services. KADIN Indonesia has initiated the Tech Hub as a forum for cross-stakeholder collaboration that provides digital solutions for various community potentials in the education sector to MSME-scale businesses.

With the very high potential for the Indonesian market, what synergies are carried out by Sinar Mas with other stakeholders in supporting the distribution of digitalization?

In addition to Sinar Mas’s collaboration and contribution through the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in supporting digitalization equity, Sinar Mas has also invested in hundreds of digital companies to startups in developing digital ecosystems in the business and social world.

For the development of telecommunication and digital infrastructure, Sinar Mas through Smartfren has affiliated with PT Mora Telematika Indonesia (Moratelindo) and MyRepublic by providing superior internet services and a wide range to support various digital activities of the community, ranging from entertainment, education, to business. Besides that, in the content distribution and streaming media ecosystem, Sinar Mas has also synergized with Video, WeTV, and Viu. 

In supporting digital and other financial economic activities among the community, Sinar Mas has also been involved in partnerships with DANA, Stockbit, Koinworks, Aruna, Sociolla, and other platforms. In developing the company’s business, in 2020 Sinar Mas collaborated with Microsoft in pioneering technology initiatives in each of its business units.

Through the various synergies that have been carried out, it is hoped that we will be able to provide integrated solutions that are important for digital transformation plans and contribute to the national digital roadmap so that Indonesia can truly enter the era of full-scale digitalization.

How has Sinar Mas progressed so far in advancing smart cities? How big is the growth of the ecosystem in it?

Sinar Mas Land through the large BSD City project has transformed into an integrated smart digital city by creating various technology-based infrastructure and facilities from year to year starting with the construction of the Digital Hub area of 25.86 Ha as a business location and dream business for technology-based companies. information, start up companies, software developers, programmers, researchers, innovators, incubator/accelerator organizers, entrepreneurs, investors and digital communities.

BSD City has a variety of complete infrastructure that combines solutions to climate change through low-carbon development with developments in science and technology to improve the quality of life and accommodate the needs of its residents now and in the future.

The implementation of technology in smart cities that currently exists in BSD City is the concept of green district, green building, and green office which is implemented with the existence of autonomous electric vehicle (Navya Otonom) facilities in collaboration with Mitsubishi Corporation, the development of Intermoda Transit- Oriented Development (TOD) in collaboration with Mitbana Pte Ltd, implementation of Smart Digital Advertising (SDA) which is integrated with FieldAnalyst devices from NEC, implementation of a smart city platform (OneSmile) that can facilitate security monitoring services, building access, payments, commerce, education, advertising, and health, as well as the establishment of an AI-based smart campus concept in collaboration with Group 42 UAE.

The development of a smart city in BSD City has received appreciation from various parties, especially the community and government. Currently, BSD City is also being used as a benchmarking city for the development of the Archipelago’s National Capital (IKN) in North Penajam Paser.

From all the application of technology in BSD City coupled with the past Covid-19 pandemic situation which has become a catalyst for digitalization, the exploration for the development of a digital society is also growing and it is hoped that it can also become a pioneer and one of the incentives in developing the digital economy and recovering the national economy.

How does your company deal with the threat of recession and inflation in building a digital economy, whereas human resource is a fundamental need?

Along with the increase in population, the threat of climate change, and the occurrence of conflicts for various reasons, efforts to build food security are becoming increasingly challenging. Going forward, the availability of schemes that are able to maintain food production in a sustainable manner, involve across countries in an equal and fair cooperation framework, is very important. 

In Indonesia, the industrial sector together with the government, farmers and other stakeholders, work together to make the food commodities that we have, through the best agribusiness practices, able to produce sustainably, meet domestic needs, then help meet world needs, as the tagline says. The first Jakarta Food Security Summit, ‘Feed Indonesia, Feed the World’.

We believe that the key to dealing with uncertainties and challenges that are not easy, such as the threat of recession and global inflation at this time, is to implement an attitude of optimism and vigilance. Besides that, all stakeholders must be unified and work together in real terms.

Therefore, in building a digital economy in a situation like this, collaboration between various parties and creative human resources is needed which can make economic activities more efficient and create new units and market penetration in order to develop the potential of Indonesia’s digital economy. Thus, we can jointly achieve Golden Indonesia in 2045.

What programs are prepared to strengthen the digital ecosystem so that it can optimize the potential utilization of digital platforms and services?

Sinar Mas will remain focused on managing the main business pillars that have existed earlier. But in it there will be adjustments to trends in the development of the digital economy. For example, the Financial Services pillar, which has introduced online products and services to users and the public.

In addition, since 2015 Sinar Mas Land has seen opportunities for digital transformation in its business. Applying technology to help businesses in the long term, while increasing their work efficiency and productivity.

The first step taken is to build a digital ecosystem that accommodates startups, through investment in the development of digital areas such as the Digital Hub in BSD City, as well as the Nongsa Digital Park on Batam Island which houses 20 startups. There are IT vocational schools from within and outside the country, multinational technology companies, coworking spaces, creative industries and other digital communities. In its development, it is hoped that global standard digital talent will emerge, which is the key to digital economic growth.

How is sustainable development implemented at Sinar Mas and what are the challenges in alignment with SDGs through the application of ESG?

We believe that integrating SDGs principles into business practices will form the basis for creating a sustainable business. Therefore, we strive to ensure that the innovations we carry out are always measurable and in line with universal principles in terms of human rights, employment, environmental sustainability, and anti-corruption as described in the SDGs.

The adoption of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices in corporations involves integrating these values into the company’s operations, culture and decision-making processes. This can involve a variety of activities, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and ensuring ethical and transparent business practices.

One of the challenges in aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through adopting ESG practices is that the SDGs are broad and complex, and it can be difficult for one company to tackle all of them head-on. Another challenge is that these goals are global, and it can be difficult for companies to understand and address the specific needs and concerns of different communities and stakeholders around the world.

Overall, aligning with the SDGs through the adoption of ESG practices requires long-term commitment, clear goals and targets. Sinar Mas as a multinational company is committed to the highest business, environmental and social standards for sustainable inclusive growth and fulfillment of basic human needs with the hope of making a strong contribution to the Indonesian economy.

Download the EV-DCI 2023 here.