Chances are, if you’re living in Jakarta, you’ve already installed one of the 2 major digital payment apps, Gopay and OVO, if not more. Judging from the ridiculous amount of promotion available, you’d be a fool not to use any one of those apps. While the apps provide platform for new startups, Chef Rahmat Kusnedi always warn us about the risk ahead.
How do you see the new startups phenomenon because of digital payment platform?
Startup is definitely a tempting business because it was supported by a very accessible facility. Thanks o the digital payment apps, to start a business, you just need to register, become a member, and then you can reach your customers. Even my children can easily order food online.
It can be both positive and negative beginning. The positive aspect, of course it encourages people to gather courage to open their own business, because one of the scariest thing is the marketing. Let say your wife is very good at making pastel, but the product is only popular within the neighborhood, and you’d be wondering where to sell the products. If you want offline store, there’s no guarantee that people will come. At the end, those with great potentials are selling the products merely by order. With digital payment apps, if you can make good products, you can register at GrabFood or Go-Food, then you can manage lot of things to accelerate your growth.
How about the negatives?
Our culture tend to accustomed toward trying new stuffs, and it becomes saturated very quickly. On the other hand, for government, it’s a loss opportunity since we haven’t make any regulations for online transaction. Imagine if you can sell 2.000 pastels per day with Rp 10 million per day, you can make Rp 300 million a month, meanwhile the other established pastel brand which was registered as corporation and give tax contribution might have less income because of the new players.
Are there any attempts from the government to regulate these online transactions?
Let alone online tax, for the tax of informal restaurants, such as warteg, hasn’t been properly regulated. If you know, a famous simple meatball joint might have more income than your average Padang restaurants.Another thing to look out for, is that the online market is filled promotions that are very spoiling for customers. As a result, we have many startups who are willing to invest much, from renting new places or making production kitchen. Without you realize it, people who did the same thing is not just 1-2, but thousands. Imagine if the industry reach its saturated point, or when the trend suddenly change, what will you do with those investments?
Or perhaps the companies will pull out the promotion, like what happened in airline industry?
Correct. Therefore, the transactions in digital payment apps haven’t been taxed. Even though in terms of cashflow they’re still bleeding, Gojek’s valuation has reached Rp 75 trillions, amazing! But you also need to know, behind all of that, how much money they burned to subsidize. For big investors, it’s as if the battle of capital, it’s an unfortunate thing for the smaller player.
After the apps become so big, they have many users, and customers have been addicted, it’s very likely they will take out the promotion, we can even have paid listing. As a result, the online price will escalate, because in the end, people need to pay tax, will the customers stay loyal? These apps are hype nowadays after last year we had the celebrity cake trend, somehow, these kinds of things don’t last long.
So, how do we anticipate it as entrepreneurs?
Don’t be too spoiled with the wonder of apps, however, you need to put conventional business into consideration. Conventional business has physical showroom, you’d better make this sort of investment to strengthen the brand, except for the service based business. We have many things to set, from regulation, law enforcement, we need to have clear rules.
Basically, all businesses that rise very quickly, will have swift downfall. We already have many examples for this. Business that’s build with proper calculation is like making staircase, one by one, so you can go up slowly. No matter what business, you will have some declines, it’s inevitable, but it can be anticipated.