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Monday, October 13, 2014

Zuckerberg, Jokowi meet, go on ’blusukan’ in Jakarta

Mark Zuckerberg & President-Elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with president-elect and Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at City Hall on Monday, to discuss potential cooperation under the latter’s administration.
Jokowi, who found success in the furniture business before joining the political arena in 2005, said that he had asked Zuckerberg to not see Indonesia as a mere potential market.
“We talked about Facebook users in Indonesia and how to use Facebook to push micro economy. He said he was ready to work with the government. There are 70 million Facebook users in Indonesia, which provides great market potential, But I told him that [Indonesia] should also benefit [from the platform],” Jokowi told reporters after the closed-door meeting.
Zuckerberg responded to Jokowi by saying that Indonesia was among the countries in which his team would promote the internet.org campaign, a global initiative aimed at promoting access to affordable Internet services, which he said would contribute to the local economy in the long run.
“Internet.org is a global initiative that we’re working on and the goal is to help everyone in the world get access to affordable Internet services […], but here are a lot of different barriers to this.
“What we’re trying to do through Facebook and internet.org is work with other organizations to help break down all these barriers -- Facebook as a company can’t do this by itself. There’s a good opportunity for the government and telecommunication operators and folks who are building these services for people to partner together to help connect everyone,” he said.
The Facebook founder was upbeat that both Facebook and internet.org could contribute to the Indonesian economy.
“When we think about which countries to focus on with internet.org and Facebook [we consider] how many people can use the services and also how much better and stronger the economy can be if everyone’s on the Internet. Here I think there are 150 million or 200 million people who don't have access to the Internet and unlocking that can transform the economy, can help create jobs and help small businesses grow. There’s a lot of data that suggests that business that use the Internet to communicate with customers grow twice the speed of small businesses that don’t use Internet,” he said.
After the brief meeting, Jokowi took Zuckerberg on a blusukan (impromptu visit) to Blok A market in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.
The two arrived at 10:15 a.m. and were welcomed by a swarm of journalists and locals.
Zuckerberg looked relax and excited, smiling the whole time, despite the overwhelming crowd and presidential detail surrounding the two.
Locals, however, had little knowledge of Zuckerberg.
“I don’t know who that is,” Aisyah said, when asked about the man walking next to Jokowi.
Jokowi and Zuckerberg left after spending about 15 minutes checking out vendors in the building.

Sita W. Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Mon, October 13 2014,
 
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