MatahariMall.com says the reported difficulties by subscribers of mobile phone operator XL Axiata to access the online retailer on Friday (04/03) has had no noticeable impact on web traffic to its website. (SP Photo/Ruth Semiono)

ICT Minister Insists on Level E-Commerce Playing Field

BY :TABITA DIELA

MARCH 04, 2016

Jakarta. E-commerce competition in Indonesia should be fair and occur on a level playing field amid a tough battle in the country for a share of a market that is seen as hot property by startups, a minister told reporters on Friday (04/03).

"I hope the [competition] takes place on a level playing field," ICT Minister Rudiantara.

Rudiantara's comment came after netizens complained that subscribers of XL Axiata, one of the country's top mobile phone operators, are unable to access e-commerce site MatahariMall.com.

Netizens complained about these difficulties, with some claiming that it could be a deliberate move to weaken MatahariMall.com, a competitor of Elevenia, a joint venture between XL Axiata and South Korea's online marketplace, SK Planet.

Rudiantara said the government would never allow such practices to persist, if in fact they do occur.

Responding to a question by the Jakarta Globe, Turina Farouk, vice president of corporate communication at XL Axiata, denied that the mobile operator blocked access to MatahariMall.com.

"However, we will investigate the matter to ensure that our subscribers can enjoy our service as usual," Turina said. XL Axiata has about 46 million subscribers in Indonesia

No Impact on MatahariMall.com

Regan Dwinanda, head of offline marketing at MatahariMall.com, said there had been no disruptions in the online retailer's systems, but he acknowledged that there had been a glitch that caused subscribers of one mobile phone provider to have difficulties in accessing the  MatahariMall.com website.

"It's already O.K. now. There is no disruption on MatahariMall.com, I have checked it. Traffic-wise, there was no impact," he said.

With the number of Internet users in the country growing at a significant rate, online shopping companies have been rushing to grab a share of the potentially lucrative market. Online shopping companies, ranging from Elevenie.com, blibli.com, Bukalapak, Elevenia, Tokopedia, MatahariMall.com, and Lazada, are jockeying to sell their products online by applying various strategies to win a slice of the market.

Another executive at XL Axiata, chief service management officer Yessie D. Yosetya, sought to neutralize the negative sentiment towards the XL subsidiary, saying that even she was a frequent user of MatahariMall.com.

Additional reporting by Whisnu Bagus Prasetyo of Beritasatu.com.

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