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It's a country that boasts:
- 6% annual GDP growth before, after and during and the global economic meltdown.
- The fourth largest population on the planet. It is also one of the youngest (median age is 28).
- A centuries-long social and economic connection to China and every strategic Southeast Asian economy.
- Foreign Direct Investment that has grown exponentially in the teeth of the global crisis.
- A bigger economy than the Netherlands or Turkey.
It's a place usually found in the back of the mind of most Western investors. It only crops up if there is an earthquake, a tsunami or political unrest in a far flung province.
But the truth is, Indonesia is nestled in one of the most strategic locations on the emerging market map. It neighbors India, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand.
It also has long historical and economic ties to China.
About 3%-4% of the population is Chinese/Indonesian, and they represent a powerful but quiet voice in the Indonesian economy. That influence, which was buried for many years, is now a highly prized asset.
Investing in the "New China"From the 1970s until recently, Chinese influence in Indonesian society was largely muted by Indonesian politicians. The Chinese language wasn't taught in schools and Chinese history was stricken from textbooks.
But things are changing rapidly.