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Indonesia Watch: Big Brands Thrive in Jakarta

"MNCs (multi-national companies) that appeal to the upper class will continue to do well despite the high inflationary environment," says Brian Sheley, managing director of Cascade Asia Advisors, a risk assessment and strategic advisory firm focused on Southeast Asia "Brand appeal is incredibly powerful here. Jakarta has a deeply embedded shopping culture and affinity for branded products, from clothing to restaurants and everything in-between."

Consumer spending averaged $24.5 billion from 2000 to 2013, not massive but still a sizable chunk of the $878 billion national economy.

Although the city declared itself "closed" in the 1970s, suburbs around it have hurtled onward, bringing the metro area to about 28 million people. Some commute as far as long as three hours per day per direction due largely to the traffic jams that are just as common in Beijing.

With parts of Jakarta below sea level, flooding looms as a chronic problem, as do sewage treatment and depletion of underground drinking water.

Indonesian officials talk big about sustainable development, the latest pronouncements timed for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bali this week. But Beijing has expanded despite years of warnings by slow-growth advocates. I predict the same for Jakarta.

At the time of publication, the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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