Most souvenirs you’ll find in Bali markets are made in China, not locally on the island.
Indonesian SME Bali Chairman Anak Agung Ngurah Mahendra estimates that only 30 percent of goods sold at souvenir markets in Bali are actually produced on the island.
Chinese products have ended up dominating the Bali markets, because, well, they’re cheaper, says Mahendra.
Vendors want to turn a profit, so it makes sense for them to get their hands on cheaper Chinese products rather than source them from Bali, where technology and resources don’t allow for the same scale of production, according to the chairman.
“Because it’s more profitable to import from China. So, the question is how to avoid imports. Local human resources skills must be improved and production tools must be more modern. We understand the problem, but it’s complicated,” Mahendra said on Feb. 14, as quoted by Bisnis.com.
The chairman hopes that the Indonesian government can continue to open bonded logistics centers, to improve Indonesian producers’ competitiveness. Bonded logistics centers cut high Indonesian logistics costs and shorten the supply chain by creating zones where goods can be stored in Indonesia–because most goods imported by Indonesian companies are held in expensive Singapore or Malaysia.
Last but not least, Mahendra hopes the government can start funding research and development experts to develop SME products and get the industry’s technology in a better place in terms of quality, quantity, and overall competitiveness.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!