When Google is bigger than Indonesia

This is from today’s Guardian:

Shares in Google keep marching higher - they are now five times the $85 offer price when the company joined the market 18 months ago. The brokerage firm Bear Stearns earlier this month lifted its price target for the next year from $360 to $550. Piper Jaffray expects the shares to hit $600 this year. One analyst at the brokerage Caris & Company speculated that the shares could reach as much as $2,000 apiece. The market currently values the business at more than US$130bn.

This is quite incredible when you think about it. A company which is essentially invisible (what are its assets?), is worth more than all of the companies listed on Indonesia’s stock exchange (they are valued at around US$80bn in total)!!

Now while this may show that Google is a phenomenal company with an incredible business model, it also shows something else:

Brains are far more important than natural resources.

So you’d think that Indonesia would be doing everything it can to attract intellectual capital into the country to help stimulate economic growth.

But you couldn’t be more wrong.

In fact, Indonesia does everything it can to keep out foreign intellectual capital.

Costly and highly bureaucratic procedures are put in place to discourage foreigners from working here and setting up businesses.

Moreover, foreigners are given no ownership rights whatsoever: they can’t even legally own an automobile let alone a house or apartment.

There are even plans in the pipeline (or have they been forgotten?) to give foreigners tests in the Indonesian language and to require them to pay a dowry if they marry an Indonesian woman.

So while the economies of India and China surge ahead, showing impressive growth, it is little surprise Indonesia trails far behind.

Whatever happened to the concept of reformasi?


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