Starting a business in Bali as a foreigner can be an alluring prospect, given the island’s vibrant culture, strategic location in Southeast Asia, and thriving tourist industry.

Navigating the legalities and market nuances requires careful planning and understanding. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the essential steps, legal requirements, and practical tips for starting a business in Bali as a foreigner.

Understand the Legal Framework

Choose the Right Business Structure

The most common types of business entities for foreigners in Indonesia are PT PMA (Foreign-Owned Limited Liability Company) and Representative Office. A PT PMA allows foreign investors to conduct full business activities in Indonesia, subject to certain ownership limitations in some sectors.

Securing a PT PMA (Perseroan Terbatas Penanaman Modal Asing), or Foreign-Owned Limited Liability Company, is a critical step for foreigners wishing to start a business in Bali, Indonesia. This section will guide you through the process of establishing a PT PMA, focusing on key requirements, steps, and practical tips.

Getting a PT PMA

A PT PMA allows foreign investors to operate a business in Indonesia with foreign capital. It’s the most common and feasible way for foreigners to have a business in the country, offering the flexibility to manage the company and repatriate profits.

Key Requirements

Minimum Capital Requirements: The Indonesian government requires PT PMAs to have a minimum capital of IDR 10 billion (about USD 700,000). However, the paid-up capital, which needs to be deposited into an Indonesian bank account, is 25% of the minimum capital.

Business Field: Your business must align with the Indonesian Positive Investment List, which outlines sectors open to foreign investment and any restrictions.

Shareholders, Directors, and Commissioners: A PT PMA must have at least two shareholders, which can be individuals or legal entities, foreign or domestic. Additionally, it needs at least one director and one commissioner, with at least one of them residing in Indonesia.

Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Approval of Company Name

Authority: Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

Note: The name should be unique and not similar to any existing company in Indonesia.

Step 2: Principle License Application at BKPM

Documents Required: Business plan, company structure, copies of shareholders’ passports, and a statement of capital deposit.

Purpose: This initial approval is essential for foreign companies and outlines the business scope, location, and size.

Step 3: Legal Entity Establishment

Action: Notarize your company’s articles of association in Indonesian and submit them to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

Result: Obtain the Deed of Establishment.

Step 4: Obtain Business Identification Number (NIB) and Business Licenses

Platform: Online Single Submission (OSS) system.

Outcome: NIB serves as your company’s import license, company registration certificate, and Halal Product Assurance Organizer Registration (if applicable).

Step 5: Domicile Letter

Requirement: Secure a domicile letter from the local government where your business is located, confirming your business address.

Step 6: Taxpayer Registration Number (NPWP)

Procedure: Register with the Indonesian Tax Office to get your NPWP and the VAT-liable entrepreneur confirmation (if applicable).

Step 7: Company Bank Account

Action: Open a bank account in the name of your PT PMA to deposit the minimum paid-up capital.

Comply with Ownership Regulations

Foreign ownership is regulated under the Negative Investment List, which specifies sectors that are either completely open, partially open, or closed to foreign investment. Ensure your business idea is in line with these regulations.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

The process involves multiple steps, including obtaining an Investment Registration approval from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), company registration at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, and acquiring other specific licenses depending on the nature of your business.

Market Research and Business Plan

Conduct Thorough Market Research

Understanding the local market demand, competition, and consumer behavior in Bali is crucial. Consider hiring a local market research firm to gain insights.

Develop a Detailed Business Plan

Your business plan should include market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and an operational plan. This document is essential for securing investors and applying for business licenses.

Financial Considerations

Understand Tax Obligations

Familiarize yourself with Indonesia’s tax system, including corporate income tax, VAT, and payroll taxes. Hiring a local accountant or tax consultant is advisable.

Secure Funding

Options for financing your business include personal savings, investor funding, or bank loans. Indonesia also has venture capital firms and angel investors interested in startups, especially in tech and tourism.

Setting Up Operations

Find a Suitable Location

Location is critical in Bali, depending on your business type. Tourist hotspots like Seminyak, Ubud, and Canggu are ideal for businesses targeting tourists.

Hire Local Talent

Hiring local employees is not only a legal requirement but also beneficial for navigating the cultural and linguistic landscape of Bali. Understand the labor laws to ensure compliance with contracts, wages, and working conditions.

Build a Network

Networking with local business owners, expat entrepreneurs, and joining chambers of commerce can provide valuable insights and opportunities for collaboration.

Cultural Considerations

Respect Balinese Culture and Traditions

Balinese culture is deeply rooted in community and religion. Showing respect and understanding towards local customs and holidays is essential for business success.

Adapt Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategies should reflect the local culture and consumer behavior. Social media and digital marketing are effective, given the high internet penetration in Bali.

Starting a business in Bali as a foreigner is challenging but rewarding. It requires a deep understanding of the legal landscape, a solid business plan, and respect for the local culture. With careful planning and persistence, you can navigate the complexities and tap into the opportunities this beautiful island offers. Remember, patience and flexibility are key to overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and integrating into the Balinese business community.


The Bali Guide