Excerpt: supporting the SMEs

When the 76th Independence Day of Indonesia (17 August) was approaching, Shopee released, on its official YouTube channel, a promotional video called Semangat untuk UMKM Indonesia (Together for Indonesian SMEs).

As Shopee’s earworm songs successfully planted its brand into people’s minds, we remember Shopee’s advertising video style as the following:


However, the Independence Day video released this time has a much calmer tone in comparison with the previous ones, but it in a way still reflects the positive and cheerful energy of the brand, and of Indonesia.

This video is released during a time where Indonesia is still fighting against the pandemic. Although Covid-19 has spurred the development of e-commerce platforms including Shopee in Southeast Asia, there are still dissenting voices against e-commerce, blaming Shopee and other platforms for grabbing the businesses from Indonesian SMEs. 

What does the video say?


From the name of the video, we can tell that the focus is on UMKM (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises). The video also demonstrates Shopee’s social responsibilities by presenting its contribution to SMEs, and the whole society especially during the pandemic. 

We summarized some key points raised in the video:

First, Shopee donated 1 million doses of vaccines to Indonesia and also began to help SMEs in non-urban areas accelerate their digital transformation:

The company says it does not only donate computers and other equipment, but also established SME export training centers- the Kampus UMKM Shopee Ekspor. It will provide Indonesian small and medium enterprises with a series of training on Shopee store operations, e-commerce promotions, logistics, and management of export.

At present, Shopee has started two Kampus UMKM Shopee Ekspor in Indonesia, located in Bandung, West Java and Surakarta, Central Java respectively.

 Surakata, also called Solo, is the city where President Jokowi was born and built his career

According to the video, Shopee has included 10 million SME products into Shopee’s export plan. As of February 2021, more than 15 million items have been exported to Southeast Asian countries and Latin America. (It did not mention the time span where these exports took place though). 

In fact, people who are familiar with Indonesia must know that supporting domestic products and encouraging export have always been amongst the core policies of the Jokowi government. 

In addition to e-commerce, Shopee also provides a series of assistance to remote rural areas in Indonesia, including constructing Water conservancy facilities in East Nusa Tenggara, bringing potable water to households, and repairing old houses.

Of course, Shopee has also spent a great deal of time and money creating its positive image in the face of doubts, especially in the aspects related to the pandemic and SMEs which are the most concerned issues of the Indonesian government.

For example, Shoppe established a vaccination center in Bandung. This is a more effective way than donating vaccines under the current situation, given thatIndonesia also has a shortage of medical resources.

In addition to the Kampus UMKM Shopee Ekspor mentioned above, Shopee also cooperated with the West Java government to open Shopee Center, against focus on transforming SMEs in the province. 

From a product point of view, Shopee has added a new feature called ShopeePilihLokal (a classification of selected local products) to promote local Indonesian products.

In conclusion, we can see that Shopee has a good understanding of the different voices in Indonesia. The company implements a series of strategies to promote its local image in Indonesia. 

After all, Shopee as an E-commerce platform is essentially an online commercial real estate. It is not grabbing the business from offline merchants, but from offline commercial real estate operators.

A sentence in the video greatly sums up Shopee’s development in Indonesia over the years: 

ketika membantu lebih baik daripada memberi,ketika solusi jauh lebih kuat dibanding alasan

(Helping is better than giving, Solutions are stronger than excuses).

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].