Hermawan Kartajaya: Don’t Blindly Advocate for Small Businesses


TikTok shut down the TikTok Shop and now doesn’t allow any social commerce activities. And then, Hermawan Kartajaya take his opinion about this situation.

TikTok officially shut down its shopping service, which called TikTok Shop, on October 4, 2023. This had to done because of a rule that limited social commerce deals. Because of this decision, business owners in Central Jakarta’s Pasar Tanah Abang market have asked the government again to stop e-commerce platforms from running.

A huge number of people on big social media sites like TikTok, X, and Instagram have said they want e-commerce platforms to shut down. Traders said that their booths were empty after these platforms went into operation. They said that it got even worse when cheap goods from other countries started coming in.

The response of Hermawan Kartajaya

It was because of this that Hermawan Kartajaya, the founder and chairman of MCorp and a marketing expert, told policymakers not to blindly back micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs). “MSMEs” stands for “micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.” He made it clear that the call to stop trading on the internet only made because they couldn’t keep up with the latest technological breakthroughs.

“I warned the Asia Council for Small Business (ACSB) not to turn into a movement that only supports small businesses,” Hermawan said at the National Deliberation (Munas) of the Indonesia Marketing Association (IMA) on October 14, 2023, at the Atlet Century Park Hotel in Jakarta. It happened on October 14, 2023, Saturday.

He said that the expectations of small business owners and managers don’t seem to be based in reality and are caused by their reluctance to use digital technology. The owners and managers of these smaller businesses usually think that implementing digital technology is hard for them to do because it costs a lot of money.

Small Business Owners Expected to…

Hermawan said that the owners and managers of small businesses need more education to solve this problem. This education could come from the government or business groups. This is because there are so many of them all over Indonesia, where they are the main source of jobs.

Still, small business owners expected to have a good grasp of the constantly evolving ways to sell their products and services. According to Hermawan, the biggest problem that needs to be solved in marketing is that people’s habits are always changing.

“If small business owners don’t know a lot about marketing, their companies will have a hard time competing and will beg the government for help everywhere they look.” That doesn’t really show how to be a business. Entrepreneurs need to be able to keep up with the changes in technology. Hermawan stressed that if they didn’t have the right technology, they should work with people who did.