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Indonesia Introduces AI-Powered Batik Analyzer to Battle Cheap Knockoffs

Emanuel Kure
11 Mei 2019 | 19:07 WIB
The Ministry of Industry has introduced a smartphone application that helps customers distinguish between authentic batik and cheap knockoffs. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A)
The Ministry of Industry has introduced a smartphone application that helps customers distinguish between authentic batik and cheap knockoffs. (Antara Photo/Hafidz Mubarak A)

Jakarta. The government has made it easier for customers to distinguish between authentic batik and cheap knockoffs from abroad, by using just their smartphones. 

The Ministry of Industry introduced Batik Analyzer, a smartphone application, during this year's Nusantara Batik Exhibition in Jakarta on Friday. The app is available for Android and iOS smartphone operating systems and uses artificial intelligence, which right now, can differentiate the original from a counterfeit item about 75 percent of the time, said Titik Purwati Widowati, head of the Yogyakarta Center for Crafts and Batik.

The center developed the app in cooperation with the industry ministry's Industrial Research and Development Agency (BPPI).

"The Batik Analyzer application is currently only available in first beta," Titik said, inferring that the app is fully functional, but may still contain several bugs. 

She said the agency will continue to improve the app to reach 95 percent accuracy soon. 

Indonesian batik, recognized as world cultural heritage, relies on long lines of artisans to draw or print intricate patterns on the cloth by hand. Machine-made knockoffs, mainly from textile factories in China, have been flooding local markets in recent years and harmed the local industry due to these items being considerably cheaper than the original.

According to data provided by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), imports of the cheap knockoffs amount to more than $30 million per year, which is nearly half the value of Indonesia's annual batik exports. 

"This innovation originated from the difficulties encountered by members of the public to distinguish between batik and artificial fabrics available on the market, especially the flood of imported artificial batik products at very low prices," Titik said. 

The app will give customers confidence to buy batik from Indonesian businesses because they can always check the originality of the products. 

"This application is expected to be a solution to protect the national batik industry in the face of Industry 4.0," Titik said.

BPPI head Ngakan Timur Antara said the government encourages local industry to continue innovating to boost economic growth. 

"To come up with innovations that meet the needs of the industrial world, the ministry continues to work with the private sector to contribute to research activities or technology transfers that support the progress of the national manufacturing sector," he said.

Indonesia's batik exports amounted to $52 million last year and the government hopes to increase this by between 6 percent and 8 percent this year. 

Local batik output on the other hand, grew 19 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to the ministry. This topped the growth rate of all other types of manufacturing in the country, as well as growth in national output, which was 5.07 percent. 

The batik industry currently provides around 212,000 jobs in 101 production centers, mainly in Java.

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