Industrial development shows a hi-tech trend
CENTRAL JAVA BOASTS A RICH CULTURAL HISTORY AND IS FAMOUS FOR ITS COFFEE AND TOBACCO. THE PROVINCE'S SKILLED LOW-COST LABOR FORCE AND BUSINESS-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT ARE NOW KEY TO ITS FUTURE PROSPERITY

For more than a thousand years the fertility and beauty of Central Java has attracted interest from nations throughout the globe, giving the province a blend of cultures and traditions.
Famous for Java coffee, tobacco and Borobudur – one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world – the province is at the heart of the Indonesian archipelago and is easy to reach from any part of the country. The flight from Jakarta to Semarang, the province’s capital, takes about 45 minutes; a direct flight from Singapore to Solo, the second-largest city in the province with its international airport, is just two hours.
The Governor of the province, Mr. H. Mardiyanto says that there is an ongoing commitment to improving the infrastructure, which is already capable of handling growing levels of commerce as well as the transit traffic between the adjoining provinces of East and West Java.

H. MARDIYANTO
H. MARDIYANTO
Governor of Central Java Province

“We have to build up infrastructure since it is needed for economic growth,” he says.
“For now, the Central Java province has many facilities like special roads to Jakarta, an upgraded harbor in Semarang, and also an international airport in Solo. What we need is a toll road from Semarang to Solo, which is now under discussion with investors from Australia.”
Semarang is a metropolitan and modern city inhabited by 1.2 million people on the north coast of the province. As well as an administrative and trade function, it is also known for its historical and cultural heritage.
Mr. Mardiyanto says that another of the administration’s main aims is to develop the industrial sector. Between 1967 and 2000, foreign investment in the province totaled some $13.9 billion, mainly in wood processing, industry, textiles, chemicals and metal products. There has been an increasing trend towards higher technology areas. Investment opportunities also include agriculture and fisheries, mining, and tourism.

IN THE HEART of Indonesia, Central Java has much to offer the visitor, including world-famous temples, fine handicrafts, and a marine wonderland for divers.

The local government is encouraging private-sector participation in the development of Central Java’s seven existing industrial estates. The Tanjung Emas export-processing zone, in Semarang’s Tanjung Emas Port, is available as an integrated industrial estate, equipped with one-stop support services.
One of the province’s main attractions for investors is the availability of skilled manpower, with a labor force totaling around 15 million. “That’s why many investors come to Central Java and do their manufacturing here, especially in clothing, printing and wood processing,” Mr. Mardiyanto says.

In addition to an abundant labor supply, the province offers a benign environment for foreign investment, as the government is ready to provide support to companies. This includes a commitment to cut red tape and to help work through any problems that may arise. “We are trying to provide our investors with all their legal permits without too much bureaucracy and time,” he says. “The issuing of most business permits will only take one day. We are trying to provide a better service,” he adds.
The economy of Central Java has changed over the years although traditional activities remain very important. In 2001, the regional gross domestic product of the province was just under $15 million.

Currently, agriculture is the main contributor to the economy, with most people in the province still reliant on farming and associated areas for their livelihood. Small and medium-size industry is important, particularly the manufacture of furniture products and garments. Solo, Lasem and Pekalongan are all well-known areas for batik, a typical design for Central Java’s textiles.

As part of the Regional Self-Sufficiency Program Mr. Mardiyanto wants to boost the economic contribution from the tourism sector. To do this, the provincial government has established joint-action programs with the business sector in order to improve the quality of attractions and promote them.
With its rich history, Central Java claims to be the living heart of Javanese culture and there is a great deal for the visitor to see. The temple at Borobudur – regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world – was constructed in the early part of the ninth century AD but abandoned with the decline of Buddhism. It was only rediscovered in 1814 when Sir Stamford Raffles was governing Java during the brief spell of British colonial rule. There is the splendid Prambanan temple too, also built in the ninth century. The site consists of three Hindu temples – the largest is dedicated to Shiva and stands 154 feet high.

Mr. Mardiyanto says that tourism promotion is progressing well. As well as raising awareness at international travel fairs and conventions, entry points via Semarang and the second city of Solo are being opened, with the aid of new air routes. These include a proposed flight from Bali – one of the main international gateways – direct to Solo, which lies within easy reach of Borobudur.
Central Java will also see the development of new facilities such as an eco-tourism resort on the island of Karimunjawa. A new direct flight was launched to this island from Semarang in April, to open it up to more visitors. In addition, there are plans to develop the Losari coffee plantation into a tourist attraction with accompanying health spa and refreshments that will, of course, include coffee.
The central government’s decentralization policy has allowed Mr. Mardiyanto to create greater cooperation between his province and its districts and he is optimistic about the future. “We have a very smooth relationship with them and it will get better in the next five years because we have a good system of administration,” he says.

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