Industry Insights

Southeast Asia’s Digital Archipelago: Navigating Indonesia’s Booming Digital Economy



Southeast Asia, home to a population of 670 million people, has emerged as a thriving center for the digital economy since the onset of the pandemic. Intermittent lockdowns and strict travel guidelines accelerated growth in the digital economy, fuelling cross-border transactions between Southeast Asia and China. As such, the regional trade flows have grown from strength to strength, while the promise of cross-border expansion and increased revenue has further intensified. While the expansion of value chains and growth opportunities may be a promising development, a crucial bottleneck remains for businesses engaging in cross-border trade in the region - payments. Cross-border payments remain notoriously laborious and costly, with opaque banking fees and FX fluctuations placing upward pressures on cost.




According to an eMarketer report, e-commerce transactions in Southeast Asia is projected to surpass 89.67 billion in 2022, with a year-on-year growth rate of approximately 20.6%. Amidst the flurry of expansion, Indonesia has emerged as a key player in this burgeoning industry. According to estimates, out of the newly minted TikTok Shop’s Gross Market Value of 6 billion, Indonesia accounts for more than 70% of that value. As global trade intensifies and global value chains become more widespread, businesses are often required to make payments to multiple stakeholders across the globe. However, traditional cross-border B2B payments remain encumbered by legacy infrastructures entailing multiple stages, each one contributing to rise in cost and time taken for settlement. As such SUNRATE has sought to alleviate the challenges faced by businesses through our payment capabilities in Southeast Asia.



Riding the Digital Wave in Indonesia

According to a joint report by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Company, Indonesia’s digital economy is projected to reach a Gross Market Value (GMV) of 146 billion by 2025, the largest in the Southeast Asia. However, despite this tremendous volume of transactions, existing infrastructure has not developed at a commensurate speed to serve these growing business needs. As the largest Southeast Asian market with fast-growing middle class, Indonesia presents a vibrant opportunity for merchants, many of whom unfortunately baulk at go-to-market barriers such as settlement and fund collection needs. Furthermore, merchants also need a compliant way to remit these funds and/or to pay their suppliers, which further adds another layer of complexity to entering a new and foreign market.


With a Fund Transfer Operator License issued by Bank of Indonesia, SUNRATE is well positioned to serve businesses in key transactional functions in Indonesia. The chief benefit of using SUNRATE for transactional needs in Indonesia is that our license enables us to provide clients with a local collection account to receive from e-commerce sites and B2B buyers directly while also having local disbursement capabilities, allowing merchants to pay and receive like locals. This helps merchants reduce revenue loss due to unnecessary currency conversions and minimize the impact of currency fluctuations on their margins. Furthermore, SUNRATE continues to boast transparent and competitive FX rates to suit your cross-border payment needs, allowing you to make global payments direct from your SUNRATE account.


For e-commerce merchants hoping to get a slice of the growing Southeast Asian market, SUNRATE offers a one-stop solution for fund collection across various platforms such as Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok shop, just to name a few, with integrations that enable you to export order details for easy access and use as supporting documents for transactions.

Additionally, we also support integration with acquirers of independent brands and Buy Now Pay Later settlement schemes to suit the diverse needs of online merchants operating across different formats.


As the vibrant Southeast Asian market continues to flourish, and its digital economy continues to mature, SUNRATE hopes to continue serving businesses by enabling cross-border flows. 



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