Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Creative industries a hit, but still need support

Source: Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 06/08/2008 12:01 PM | Headlines

Skeptics who say Indonesia's animation can not compete in the international scene should meet "Hebring".

The animated character, Hebring's, rescue of an old woman from a runaway bus has been a hit with local and overseas visitors to the four-day Indonesian Cultural Product Exhibition at Jakarta Convention Center (ending Sunday).

In blue tights, red gloves, boots, a scarf and big H-sign on his chest (think of Superman without the red underwear on the outside), Hebring has helped bring support and potential business deals to its developer, Main Game Studio.

At least 20 potential investors, including a Japanese institution, have engaged so far in "advanced" talks with the company, said Andi Martin of Studio.

Hebring -- which means 'great' in Sundanese -- is a new player in the exhibition which aims to promote Indonesia's creative industries.

"Last year, we had 17 categories ranging from craft to batik designers. This year, there are 38 with new categories including animation, painting, graphic design and multimedia," exhibition committee member Fauzi Azis said on Saturday.

The new exhibitors had garnered an "unprecedented" amount of interest from local and foreign investors, said Fauzi who is also the Industry Ministry director-general of small and medium enterprises.

"Which just goes to show the massive potential for this industry."

As of Saturday, the event has had roughly 20,000 visitors while facilitating total transactions worth as much as Rp 9 billion (around US$960,00) from retail sales and contract deals.

Last year's event facilitated more than Rp 16 billion in sales and contract deals and received around 27,000 visitors.

"This year, we expect to receive 30,000 visitors, and if the exhibition can stimulate transactions worth around Rp 20 billion, this would already be a wonderful achievement," Fauzi said.

However, he said, the industry still needs a lot of government support, such as tax breaks and copyright law education.

"Take the painting industry. Indonesian painters prefer to auction their paintings in Singapore. Why? Because Singapore charges 7 percent in auction taxes, while our government charges 21 percent. How are we supposed to compete?"

"Another problem is copyright laws. We need more education to protect software copyright and other intellectual property because that is the main complaint I keep receiving from our friends in the creative industry," Fauzi said. (anw)

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