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Business

Indonesian startups face same drawbacks and advantages

From huge online ventures to small rural projects, Indonesia provides a fertile breeding ground for startups

Go-Jek customer checking route details on the Go-Jek application on the driver's phone (Photo by Simon Roughneen)

TANJUNG GUSTO, Indonesia -- The fast pace of development in Indonesia's cities has spawned many a technology-based startup in the last few years, from ride-hailing apps to online shopping giants to touchscreen food delivery services. These are the early fruits of a tech economy the government hopes will be worth $130 billion by 2020.

For many in remote parts of the far-flung archipelago, where standards of living are much lower than in the cities of Java and Sumatra, startups are more homespun and their ambitions are modest. Yet across the gamut of would-be entrepreneurs, from rural remote villages canopied by palm trees to thronged vast cities, there are common challenges: from raising cash, to nudging government into necessary reforms, managing complicated logistics and fending off jealous competitors, many of the hurdles are identical and boil down to the scramble for funding sources and government backing.

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