Batam, March 2, 2021 — Nongsa D-Town is a visionary project made by the collaboration between Citramas Group and Sinar Mas Land through PT Citra Sinar Global consortium. The area is designed as a digital economy district that will be a connecting bridge of various digital and technology companies between Indonesia and Singapore.
Nongsa D-Town’s official opening ceremony was held today (3/2) and virtually opened by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of Indonesia Airlangga Hartarto and Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore Chan Chun Sing who gave their opening speeches in the ceremony. Meanwhile, Citramas Group CEO Mike Wiluan and Group CEO of Sinar Mas Land Michael Widjaja explained the detail of the Nongsa D-Town development project in the ceremony’s talk show with Dr. Beh Swan Gin (Chairman of Singapore Economic Development Board) and Suryopratomo (Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore).
Nongsa D-Town development was initiated following the digital economic growth potential in both Indonesia and Singapore. In his early 2020’s speech, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Indonesia had the most active startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia and the country was ranked number five after the U.S., India, the U.K., and Canada in the same category. The President said Indonesia was one of the countries with the biggest digital economic value and the most rapid growth in Southeast Asia.
While delivering his speech, Airlangga said Indonesia would always maintain a bilateral cooperation with Singapore in upgrading the competitive skills as well as providing more work opportunities and investments to strengthen the regional stability. “Batam has a strategic location and is close to Singapore, so President Joko Widodo, in his 2017’s visit, expected it to become the digital bridge between Indonesia and Singapore. Now that Nongsa D-Town is officially open, I hope it will become an accelerator and significantly contribute to the digital industry in Batam, and also support the bilateral cooperation between both countries,” says Airlangga.
Chan said the Nongsa D-Town project showed what both countries could achieve together when the Indonesian and Singaporean government and businesses cooperated. In his opening speech, Chan said Nongsa D-Town would be a digital bridge connecting Singapore with the thriving Indonesian digital communities.
Representing Sinar Mas Land, Michael said Nongsa D-Town in Batam’s exclusive district would become a go-to-destination for the young generation to build the industry, creativity, and connectivity in the creative and digital technology industry. “Nongsa D-Town’s complete facilities and infrastructure are not only for work. Later, it will also offer digital training centers to prepare the talents with some relevant skills necessary for the industry’s current and future requirements. These digital talent pools will make Nongsa D-Town as the digital economic center in Indonesia,” he said.
On behalf of Citramas Group, Mike said the digital talent pool, unaffected by the geographical boundaries between Indonesia and Singapore, would attract potentials from both countries. Singapore, in his opinion, can act as a business center while Indonesia, especially Batam, will provide the work force and venues. “Nongsa D-Town is ready to become a digital bridge between Indonesia and Singapore, especially concerning the talent pool for the young generation which is now very necessary for both countries,” he said.
In the talk show’s second session, Irawan Harahap (Chief of Digital Tech Ecosystem and Development of Sinar Mas Land), Marco Bardelli (Nongsa D-Town Director), and Andrew Wee (Surbana Jurong Director) further explained the infrastructure and digital ecosystem. As for the third session, the tenants from Glints, R/GA, and WebImp shared their experiences of setting their companies’ offices at Nongsa Digital Park.
Nongsa D-Town is a development of Nongsa Digital Park which was officially opened by Foreign Affairs Minister of Indonesia Retno Marsudi and Foreign Affairs Minister of Singapore Vivian Balakrishnan in 2018. Nongsa Digital Park lies in a special economic zone (KEK) focusing on digital-based creative economy development in Batam. Nongsa Digital Park has hosted 1,000 digital workers from 100 multinational companies such as Glints, R/GA, and WebImp that have been an official part of Nongsa D-Town. In the same ceremony, Nongsa D-Town also officially introduced the Nongsa Digital Park’s extension which is an additional area of 5,000 meters square for 750 more workers.
Designed by Singaporean Surbana Jurong, Nongsa D-Town is expected to host 8,000 digital workers on its 62-hectare total area. Nongsa D-Town will also have office buildings and other supporting facilities such as shopping centers, digital training hubs, hotels, and co-working or co-living spaces for both the community and the employees.
Sinar Mas Land is committed to developing technology-based smart city ecosystems. Prior to working on Nongsa D-Town, Sinar Mas Land developed the 26-hectare Digital Hub, an area that has successfully been a home to major tech companies namely Apple Developer Academy, Traveloka, Grab, and NTT, situated in its biggest independent city, BSD City. It is a pilot project of a digital ecosystem development which the other Sinar Mas Land’s townships will gradually apply and develop. Both BSD City’s Digital Hub and Batam’s Nongsa D-Town possess excellent infrastructure and facilities that attract the young generation and digital technology communities.
In addition, Citramas Group’s movie and animation studio known as Infinite Studios was actually the trigger that started the creative ecosystem in Nongsa, Batam. The company, established in 2004, is the first and biggest Indonesian animation studio with 400 animation workers that have been working on international projects. A movie studio was later born in 2013 to produce both local and international films. The technology and creative ecosystem initiated by Infinite Studios continues to thrive, even until the day of the Nongsa D-Town official opening ceremony.
Nongsa D-Town will give Singaporeans access to develop business and provide job opportunities for Indonesians. It is very strategically located, only 40 minutes from Singapore by ferry and 15 minutes from Batam’s Hang Nadim International Airport by car. Nongsa D-Town’s convenient location and accessibility allow Indonesia and Singapore to grow together and complement each other in the digital economy.