Talk about the Nongsa Digital Park and people in the tech sector get excited. After all, it is a $700 million technology park with an international data centre, offices for start-ups and apartments for technopreneurs and programmers AND, only a 40 minute ferry ride away from Singapore.
Nongsa Digital Park will cover about 100ha, and it will be Batam's first large-scale private project. With Wonderlabs being the biggest company helping Singapore companies access, recruit and management Indonesian tech talent, we had to check it out.
Here are the plus points:
1. It is a project by Infinite Studios, which has produced movies and animated TV series at its Nongsa facility, including HBO Asia's Serangoon Road and The Garfield Show. Serious props. We visited the facility, and it is state-of-the-art, and a testament to what can be achieved at Nongsa.
2. The urban plan envisions a "lifestyle digital campus", focusing on digital nomads. You've got the beach, you've got competent tech talent from all over Indonesia, and you've got some well-chilled beer.
3. No traffic and smooth roads. The infrastructure of roads, and securitized entrances have been built. This is something that Singaporeans take for grant too often. The area is small enough that you can get around with golf buggies, electric cars and bicycles. Also seems like a plus. will ply the private roads.
Here are the things the project needs to overcome:
1. Batam has mostly heavy industries. This is a psychological barrier that investors have to overcome, and look to the future - the digital economy.
2. Batam is known for tourism. You don't think a digital park when you think Batam. You think blissful resorts. But hey, look at Bali. It is a tech hub in its own right.
The project comes as the Singapore and Indonesian governments explore ways to expand bilateral cooperation in new industries.
Here's our verdict: It's the right time to explore setting up in Batam. Many Singapore companies are wary of setting up in Indonesia. But Batam offers the best of both worlds. From there, you can access top tech talent from Indonesia (we can help with that), and you can have an offsite office just an hour away from your onshore office.
The park's first phase, consisting of three two-storey office blocks, is expected to be completed by January 2018, and half of the office space has been snapped up. Singapore-based cashless payment company Liquid Pay, and some 80 companies are looking closely at the project.
Get more information about how Wonderlabs can help you get started at Nongsa Digital Park here: