APK 2018 Updates


Interview with Mr. Jan Rönnfeld, Managing Director of AHK Indonesia, the host of APK 2018

APK 2018 – a platform for open discussion about the most pressing issues of our time.

What is APK and why should people attend? What makes this conference so important?

APK is all about information and networking. We expect up to 1,000 conference participants, including many global CEOs or board members of multinational companies, 95% of them traveling from Germany, Europe and other Asian countries to Indonesia, to take part in the conference. Furthermore, aside from many senior German and European politicians, economic or finance ministers from 24 Asian countries are invited.

To my knowledge, there is no other conference anywhere in Asia where there are that many high-level government and corporate representatives meeting, networking and sharing their insights on global or regional trends and developments that may affect all of our futures.

The aim of APK, which has already been taking place for more than 30 years, is to provide a platform and an atmosphere for a free and open discussion about relevant developments, challenges and methods of approach.

What are the main topics being discussed this year and which topic do you think will invoke the hottest debates?

The range of topics is wide and manifold and we may categorize these topics into two main sections; one will cover general political, economic and security issues, with China’s Belt and Road Initiative [BRI] and all its impacts and reactions that will be triggered around the world probably taking center stage. The other segment is about innovation, what effect digitalization, artificial intelligence or the Internet-of-Things will have on our economies, our business models and on our societies.

To have lively and even sometimes-controversial discussions, speakers and experts with different perspectives are invited and we will provide formats like Oxford Style Debates or Arena settings that will support that kind of discourse.

Why is Indonesia the host country for APK 2018 and how is the response from local businesses and the Indonesian Government?

APK is organized by the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business [APA], a collaboration of all major German business associations, in cooperation with the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy [BMWi]. It rotates every two years to a different Asian host country.

The decision for Indonesia was due to the positive economic developments and the strong position the country has within ASEAN, one of the most dynamic regions in the world.

The response by the Indonesian government has been very positive. When I personally briefed President Joko Widodo about APK 2018 during his visit in Germany last year for the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, he immediately and spontaneously agreed to participate and ensured his full support.  He designated the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board [BKPM] as the counterpart from the Indonesian government. Mr. Thomas Lembong, Chairman of BKPM, already attended the last APK 2016 in Hong Kong.

As for Indonesian businesses joining APK, we cooperate with The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce [KADIN] and Indonesian Employers Association [APINDO]. We are in particular happy that ASTRA International, a major Indonesian company, has become a Diamond Sponsor.

With all these key decision makers coming to Jakarta in November for the APK 2018, what impact will the conference have on business relations between Germany and Asia-Pacific, and Indonesia in particular?

APK focuses on global and regional trends and developments. It is not a bilateral conference. However, hosting up to 1,000 corporate decision makers will provide a unique opportunity to present Indonesia and to increase knowledge about and interest in the country and the opportunities here.

We will provide information, organize country briefings, site visits and networking encounters, and we will use every opportunity to introduce the cultural, culinary and atmospheric, as well as business propositions this country has to offer.

I believe that, in general, an exchange of vision and ideas and a dialogue or even discourse about the different ways to approach the issues and challenges of our time, between Asia and Europe, will have a beneficial impact for all sides. We have to understand each other’s thinking, circumstances and limitations to work together and to find like-minded partners.

As the host of APK 2018, what are the main challenges and what do you personally hope people would take away from the conference?

As host of the conference our first priority is of course that our guest feel welcome and well treated and that all organizational aspects are working well.

Organizing an event of this magnitude provides all kind of challenges; finding the right team members and preventing the regular activities of the chamber throughout the two-year preparation period from being negatively affected. Finding the right partners, venues and service providers is exciting and demanding at the same time.  Everybody who has ever been in Jakarta knows that the logistic aspects of accommodating, nourishing, entertaining and moving 1,000 people presents a particular test for the host. Nevertheless, I am confident that our team is up to the task and that we will have an amazing APK 2018.

We live at a time were the certainties of the past, be it of political or economic models, are challenged or disrupted. Therefore, a better understanding of major trends and developments and their consequences for each personal environment or business is hopefully another take-away for the participants. In addition, who knows, maybe one will find the right partner for future business opportunities.

I personally hope that our guests will get good impressions and some fond memories that will positively influence their image of Indonesia as the host country and Jakarta as the host city. Moreover, I hope that they travel back to their home countries with the feeling that it will be worth their while to return and look deeper into the possibilities this great country and its people have to offer.