Archive Dateline
Doing Business Abroad Indonesia
By Terri Morrison
  • Shake hands during introductions, or after long separations.
  • Handshakes may seem weak, but last twice as long as in the USA.

  • Indonesia has many naming patterns, that is, family name followed by first name; only one name; one name and one initial, and so on.
  • Traditional introductions use many titles, that is, "Mr. Juanda Kusumaatmaja" could very well be "Bapak Doctor His Excellency Juanda Kusumaatmaja, Chief Accountant."

  • "Jam karet" ("rubber time") refers to the indigenous casual attitude towards time..
  • Schedule meetings from 10 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Be prompt–however, Indonesians of higher social standing may make others wait.

  • Smiles may hide embarrassment, shyness, bitterness or discord.
  • Speak in quiet, gentle tones. It is polite to wait 10 to 15 seconds before responding to a statement.
  • Since Indonesians often consult astrologers, contract signings may be delayed until a "lucky" day arrives.

  • You should be invited to an Indonesian event before you host one.
  • With Hindus and Muslims, eat with the right hand.

Do You Know:   True or False?

Traditionally, women should not offer to shake hands with Indonesian men.
E-mail your answer to
A random drawing will be held to award five correct respondents with a free copy of Dun & Bradstreet's Guide to Doing Business Around the World.

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Doing Business Abroad:   South Korea

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