Willam Tanuwijaya

William Tanuwijaya – “Dream as high as the sky so that if you fall it’s still among the stars “

William Tanuwijaya, a name that most millennials look up to. His product, Tokopedia, has empowered  10 million entrepreneurs so far and served more than 100 million monthly active users across Indonesia. Despite being born to an ordinary family, his dream was not ordinary at all. Not only did he successfully build one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia, but William has also helped many other businesses grow and gave space to many new entrepreneurs in the growing startup market.

Tokopedia has a mission to democratize commerce through technology. Its vision is to build a Super Ecosystem where anyone can start and discover anything. To this day, Tokopedia has empowered millions of merchants and users across the marketplace and digital goods, financial technology, and payment, logistics, and fulfillment.

The Early Days

Despite his recent success, his early life was not so easy. Born in Pematang Siantar, North Sumatera, on November 18, 1981, he decided to pursue higher education in Jakarta, Indonesia, leaving all of his memories behind in Pematang Siantar to get a better education and fight for a better future for him and his family.

William was not your typical startup founder who graduated from Stanford, Harvard, or any Ivy League university. He took an undergraduate at Bina Nusantara University (BINUS), majoring in computer science. His four-year journey on campus was not easy. In his second year, he had to take up a part-time job in order to support his father, who fell sick and needed medical treatment. His first job was as a computer operator at an internet cafe, monitoring and maintaining the internet cafe’s computers and systems. No one saw how his first job would be the first baby step into the digital world he would come to dominate. 

Journey of Life

After he graduated, William worked in several big IT companies in Jakarta before thinking about his next big idea. Listening to problems is how a startup company is made – in order to find an innovative solution. William often heard issues related to scams on the internet that his close relatives were experiencing. Because of this, on February 6, 2009, Tokopedia was born.

Willam, with his close friend, Leontinus Alpha Edison, started to develop Tokopedia.com. It needed more than six months since the initial founding to launch the website platform. But in 2010, the world was not used to startup companies yet. Luckily, Tokopedia got funding from several of Willam’s close connections, such as the boss from his former workplace and other small investors. 

With all of the limitations, William Tanuwijaya’s mission and effort to grow Tokopedia to the next level paid off as the Indonesian company got more funding from the big league, such as East Ventures in 2010, and Softbank in 2013. This budget gave William an enormous amount of Indonesia’s biggest e-commerce companies’ capital to grow and later on being one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Indonesia alongside Shopee, BukaLapak, and Lazada. 

Every day it’s easy for us to find 1001 reasons for “can’t”, but the truth is, we only need one reason to be able to. When we wanted to start Tokopedia, the biggest challenge was about building trust. Even at one point, I met an investor and he gave me a piece of advice, “don’t be too grandiose about our dream” – at that point, I met my purpose in life. The past cannot be changed, but the future is in our own hands.

I remember Soekarno Hatta (Founding Father of Indonesia) gave a speech, “Dream as high as the sky so that if you fall it’s still among the stars” It has not been 100 years since we were independent, it will be very sad if we lost our freedom to dream.

– William Tanuwijaya

Tokopedia Today

Tokopedia’s 8th Anniversary (2017), Announcing US$1,1B new funding. 

Today, Tokopedia is on the top ladder of Indonesian e-commerce platforms alongside Shopee. Their future is quite promising with giant funding across the world to the point where Tokopedia has crowned a unicorn startup company with US$2,8 billion funding as of right now, backed by 13 huge investors, including Google, Alibaba, SoftBank, and Sequoia. Tokopedia has created more than 5000 jobs across all of Indonesia, naming its employees “Nakama”.

Other than that, Tokopedia has collaborated with BTS and Blackpink,  two of the top figures in the Korean entertainment industry at the same time. 

Written by Juandi

Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.


AYO-Azerbaijan Republic Partnership

Since the beginning of 2020, the global order has been facing enormous challenges. The trend of globalization which initially developed very rapidly and gave implications for the changes and developments of human life patterns in various aspects gradually shows a slowing trend. Some researchers and academics are starting to debate and predict the future of globalization which they thought to come to an end. There are some factors that influence this condition.

First is the rise of populism and ultra-nationalism appeared in the United States[1] and some European countries which is one of the real threats to the slowing trend of globalization. Other than that, protectionist economic policy of President Donald Trump in facing the trade war with China also became the driving factor of current deglobalization trend. Second factor is the Brexit which experienced by the European Union. Citing an article written by Carmen M. Reinhart in the World Economic Forum, “With its systemic negative effects on finance, trade, and labor mobility, Brexit marks on a major setback for globalization”.[2] Third is the Covid-19 pandemic that hit many countries in the world in 2020. According to Kenneth Rapoza on an article in Forbes.com, the spread of coronavirus forced countries like France and Italy to close their borders.[3] Isolationism as the consequence of lockdown policy has indirectly urged many countries in the world to limit human mobility by closing their borders. The signs of deglobalization emerged in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic were also shown by the declining interest of global citizens in using aviation services. It has implications to the mobility slowdown of people to travel around the world. Certainly, this is in contrary with the spirit of globalization which prioritizes borderless mobility of people.

Based on those three reasons mentioned above and many other reasons related to the deglobalization trend experienced by the world today, young generations of the world are being challenged to be able to adapt quickly to this difficult situation where countries are closing themselves one to another. It certainly impacts not only relations between countries, but also relations between people from different countries all over the world including interactions among international youths. In the midst of this vulnerable situation where space is limited due to Covid-19 pandemic, young generations as part of global society needs to find ways that can be done in order to keep showing positive contribution to the world. Indeed, space for young generations has been limited at this time due to the implementation of various policies such as lock down. This condition has directly impacted youth activities in national, regional, and even international level. Many youth events have been postponed or even cancelled. Opportunities to study abroad through scholarship programs must be postponed temporarily due to this condition.

Then, how can we, as ASEAN young generations respond to it? Speaking of ASEAN young generation, based on ASEAN-UNFPA Report in 2017, ASEAN has approximately 213 million youth (15-35 years old) of the total ASEAN population around 628 million people.[4] It means, as of 2017 the number of young people in ASEAN dominates around 34 percent of the total population in the entire Southeast Asia region. The numbers are certainly increasing until this year. Based on the data mentioned above, it can be said that ASEAN has advantages in terms of demographic bonus compared to other countries or regions in the world. However, in the midst of current globalization slowdown, young generations in ASEAN need to take steps together in finding solutions to this situation.

ASEAN Youth Organization as one of the biggest youth organizations in Southeast Asia always strives to take progressive steps in responding to various global challenges even in the current emergence of deglobalization trend. Together with more than 400,000 young people in Southeast Asia, ASEAN Youth Organization continues to play an important role in driving regional and global development through various international-scale projects with three main focuses mainly about youth empowerment, social volunteerism, and economic enhancement.[5] In the midst of Covid-19 pandemic, ASEAN Youth Organization adapts to carry out activities virtually in order to continue our consistent efforts in developing the potential of young generations in Southeast Asia.

We believe that young generation is a driving factor for future development in our region. Therefore, ASEAN Youth Organization realized that collaboration is one of the key factors to survive in facing challenges of uncertain situations in the world especially in the midst of current deglobalization trend. Since 2015, ASEAN Youth Organization has cooperated with many stakeholders. However, it does not make the ASEAN Youth Organization the best organization. It needs to spread its wings even wider to be able to continue making impactful contribution to the youth development sector. Last month, the ASEAN Youth Organization had the opportunity to be invited to visit the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Jakarta and met directly with H.E. Mr. Jalal Mirzayev as the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Indonesia and ASEAN. It was such an honor for the ASEAN Youth Organization and it also showed the Republic Azerbaijan’s inclusivity by involving young people in Southeast Asia. For information, the Republic of Azerbaijan is known as an oil and gas producer with a long history of ancient civilization and its rich culture.

On this extraordinary occasion, ASEAN Youth Organization had the opportunity to discuss and deliver ideas directly to the Ambassador of Azerbaijan regarding various projects that could be done collaboratively by both parties in the sectors of youth development, education, human rights, socio-culture, tourism, entrepreneurship, many more. In the near future, ASEAN Youth Organization will begin its first collaboration with the Embassy of Azerbaijan Republic to create Webinar project on education and tourism sectors, as well as other possible sectors to encourage the participation of young generations of ASEAN and Azerbaijan in positive activities on an international scale. This kind of collaboration will serve as a clear evidence of youths’ efforts in bouncing back the globalization trend. The collaboration with the Republic of Azerbaijan is also expected to be a good forum for sharing of information and knowledge for both parties, unfolding opportunities for the creation of close ties and relations between youths from ASEAN and Azerbaijan in order to build mutual understanding between the two.

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But, if you want to walk far, walk together.” Let’s walk together, Azerbaijan!

By Handy Santoso (Head of Project Development, ASEAN Youth Organization)

[1] Livesey, Finbarr. 2017. From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalization, quoted from https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2017/09/pdf/book2.pdf, on July 1st, 2020

[2] World Economic Forum. 2016.  Is Brexit the beginning of the end for globalization?, quoted from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/is-brexit-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-globalization/, on July 1st, 2020.

[3] Forbes.com. 2020. The Post-Coronavirus World May Be The End of Globalization, quoted from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2020/04/03/the-post-coronavirus-world-may-be-the-end-of-globalization/#3daa35b67e66, on July 1st 2020.

[4] ASEAN UNFPA Report. 2017. First ASEAN Youth Development Index, quoted from https://asean.org/storage/2017/10/ASEAN-UNFPA_report_web-final-05sep.pdf, on July 2nd 2020.

[5] ASEAN Youth Organization. 2020. About: Main Focus Programs, quoted from https://aseanyouth.net/about/, on July 2nd 2020.

Creative Thinking For An Innovative Business Technology: Industry 4.0

As we know that current technology is increasingly developed and there is progress where human life has been surpassed before by the change in the industrial revolution 1.0 in the process of producing goods, namely making everything with a steam engine. This discovery is very important, because before the advent of steam engines, at that time humans could only rely on muscle power, water power, and wind power to move anything. Industrial Revolution 2.0.

This second industrial revolution took place in the early 20th century. At that time, production was already using machines. Muscle power has been replaced by steam engines, and now steam power has begun to be replaced with electric power. However, the production process at the factory is still far from the production process at the modern factory in one thing: transportation. The transportation of products inside the factory is still heavy, so that kinds of large items, such as cars, must be produced by assembling in the same place. At this time humans have begun to create cars, motorcycles and other means of transportation. Over time this life has entered the era of the industrial revolution 3.0 where humans are producing something starting to use computers. This third revolution is triggered by a moving machine, which thinks automatically: computers and robots. And now we have entered the industry 4.0 era where experts believe this era is an era of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 because there are many new innovations in Industry 4.0, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), driverless vehicles, genetic, engineering, robots, and smart machines. Currently, there are 5 countries that have used robots as human replacement machines including:

1) South Korea. According to information the majority of robots in South Korea are used in the industrial sector and electronic and digital manufacturing. South Korea has also become the most advanced country in the world in terms of technological infrastructure. South Korean electronic products have also dominated the world, from sophisticated cellphones, plasma televisions, LCDs, to semiconductors. In addition, Korea also has produces robots that are dubbed as a substitute for human labor, they can be in the form of animals, or in the form of other sophisticated machines. The robot can be found in various industrial areas and there are even people who have used robots in their homes to meet household needs such as washing clothes, taking goods both light and heavy loads. Korea is also intensively developing future strategic industries such as Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, Robotics and space technology. The first success of South Korea’s exports occurred in exports of light industrial products such as textiles and apparel, electronic components, plywood, wigs, and intermediary goods.

2) Singapore, almost 90% of robots in Singapore are used as replacement machines for human workers based on the latest information. Singapore already has 488 robots for 10,000 workers.

3) Germany, robot machines in Germany have reached 309 in the automotive industry

4) Japan, currently Japan uses 303 robot machines per 10 thousand workers to make cars, and;

5) Denmark, entrepreneurs in Denmark use 211 robots per 10 thousand workers, which has reached 25% of total production.

Besides that, one of the biggest things in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is the Internet of Things. In the era of the Industrial Revolution, 4.0 produced “smart factories” and can be said to be the era of robotic. In a modular, intelligent structure factory, cyber-physical systems supervise physical processes, create virtual copies of the physical world, and make decisions that are not centralized. Nowadays technological advances are increasingly indicated where everyone can achieve everything in a very instant manner, all can be accessed through the internet network. The public currently relies on gadgets as a tool to communicate and search for information as well as in the planning of the packaging process of the product and the manufacture of the product itself in the field of entrepreneurship. Current developments in information technology include the development of IT infrastructures, such as hardware, software, data storage technology, and communication technology. In the era of industry 4.0, many rely on information technology in all fields from economics, education, health, government, and others. Because information technology greatly facilitates humans in producing, processing data and disseminating information, so information technology in this era is very fast developing. The development of information technology so that human labor can turn into mechanical power, apart from the speed of engine power is also more guaranteed accuracy and success in working instantaneously. The process can provide useful insights for factory management. Data is processed with sophisticated tools (analytics and algorithms) to produce logical information. The data that is processed can also help consider the problems seen and not seen in industrial plants.

Article by Avradya Mayagita