(Image Credit : Citramas Group)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Tuesday (20/3) inaugurated the operation of Nongsa Digital Park, marking a closer cooperation between the two countries in developing the digital economy.

The development of the digital park was an implementation of the deal between President Joko Widodo and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong in November last year to support the collaboration between private sector players from both countries to develop the digital economy sector in Batam.

Retno Marsudi was quoted by Antara news agency as saying that the Nongsa Digital Park is the initial phase of the development of digital parks across the country.

The digital park is a good example of cooperation between the two neighboring countries, added Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Vivian, however, noted that there are works need to be done including improving the young people’s skill to support the digital industry. The Singapore government supports the development of the digital park given its strategic location, which is only less than an hour traveling from Singapore. Singapore and Batam also have a long relationship, given the presence of a significant number of Singapore companies operating in Batam.

NDP, which is developed under the management of Citramas Group, will cover 166 hectares.

Nongsa Digital Park was initiated by businessman Mike Wiluan, a son of Chris Wiluan, the founder of Citramas Group. The digital park will cover Nongsa Resort area, including Turi Beach Resort, Nngsa Point Marina, Taman Nongsa Indah village, Terminal Ferry Nongsapura, Studio Film, Infinite Animation Studio and Tamarin Golf Course

Director of Nongsa Digital Park Mike Wiluan said the group will provide the infrastructure required for the development of digital business in the area.

Meanwhile, the Head of Batam Free Zone Authority (BP Batam) Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo said the Nongsa Digital Park will be gradually transformed into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the first SEZ in Batam.

He declined to set the timetable as the declaration of the area to become an SEZ will depend on the decision of the central government.

Mike Wiluan, who is also CEO of Singapore-based Infinite Framework Studio (IFS), told JPNN online earlier that he was optimistic that Batam can become a digital center given its strategic location.

“The prospect of Batam is great.  There are also a lot of young people with strong spirit involving in the digital business here,” Wiluan said.

Digital economy, he added, could help lift the regional economy to recover from a slow growth in the past few years. In order to develop the digital economy in Batam, NDP will also cooperate with creative industries located in Bandung and Jogyakarta as well as partners in overseas including Singapore and Malaysia.

The Citramas Group was reported to be investing around US$700 million the develop the digital park, which will comprise of an international data center, an incubator for start-ups and apartments for technopreneurs and programmers.

Mike Wiluan has said his Infinite Studios, a Singapore-based integrated media entertainment and creative services company, will produce movies and animated TV series at its Nongsa facility.

Written by Roffie Kurniawan, email: roffien@theinsiderstories.com