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New research says Australian digital health technology innovators need to seize emerging opportunities in Indonesia


Ahead of the imminent start of the Indonesian-Australian Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), a new study outlines the growing opportunities for Australian digital health businesses to partner with Indonesia on innovative solutions to the country’s rising health needs. 

Developed by the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Growth Centre, MTPConnect, and Asialink Business, the research provides unique insights for businesses seeking to understand the size and nature of Indonesia’s digital health sector and navigate the commercial opportunities.

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO, Dr Dan Grant, says with a rapidly growing digital health sector and a new bilateral trade agreement in place, Indonesia must be on the radar for export-minded Australian medtech innovators.

“With a GDP of $1.4 trillion, Indonesia is not only the largest economy in Southeast Asia, but it is also the region’s fastest growing internet economy,” Dr Grant said.

“Digital health revenues in Indonesia will break through the $1 billion barrier in the next three or four years, and when you look at the level of demand, you can see why.”

“Indonesia’s healthcare system needs to deliver services to 260 million people (10 times the Australian population) who are dispersed across 17,000 islands.”

“It’s no surprise that the country’s young and tech-savvy population is increasingly looking for digital solutions to address these challenges and access a high standard of health services, and our report provides a roadmap for Australian innovators seeking to leverage and adapt their world-class expertise to this critical market.”

What exactly does digital health mean?

Digital health is defined as the disruption of traditional healthcare delivery and research systems by new technologies. It crosscuts a number of industries, including medtech, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, medical devices, IT and pharmaceuticals. With solutions ranging from wearable devices, to mobile health, data science and cloud computing, it typically includes health interventions for patients and caregivers, healthcare professionals, health managers and data services.

Asialink Business CEO, Mukund Narayanamurti, says: “With the recent ratification of a free trade agreement with Indonesia (the IA-CEPA), it is an ideal time for Australian health businesses to look seriously at the future-focused growth opportunities emerging in our nearest neighbour.”

“The IA–CEPA has great potential to enhance trade and investment between our two countries and support Australian businesses looking to engage with Indonesia’s digital landscape.”

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with MTPConnect. Digital health is an exciting area where Australian businesses can leverage their strengths, adapt for the future, and partner with Indonesia to meet the country’s growing need for world class healthcare and services,” Narayanamurti said.

Yet while the opportunities are growing, the research highlights that it is imperative for Australian businesses to tailor their strategy and solutions to the needs of Indonesian customers, clients and patients. A number of regulatory requirements also warrant close consideration.

The research found that: 

  • B2B opportunities are likely to be the most prospective for Australian companies, and offer some of the simplest pathways for entering the market.
  • B2C opportunities will be more difficult to access, especially by providers with limited experience in Indonesia, who will find it difficult to compete with local consumer-facing platforms.
  • Significant, multi-year commitment will be required to capitalise on business to government (B2G) opportunities, at both central and provincial levels.

The research is the second phase in a major collaborationbetween MTPConnect and Asialink Business to assist the Australian MTP sector to enter and expand export opportunities into Asian markets. The first industry guide focused on frugal innovation in India’s medtech sector was released in December 2019, and a report on the Asia capabilities of board members and senior executives in Australia’s MTP sector is forthcoming. 

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