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As Pence visits Indonesia to talk trade, Silicon Valley VCs meet in Bali

Political uncertainty in both the U.S. and Indonesia is causing a ripple of anxiety here. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he will seek trade arrangements that greater benefit his country, worrying many trade partners throughout the region.

“Donald Trump presents the danger of U.S. protectionism being misinterpreted to an economy here,” said Wayne Forrest, president of the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of questions I’ve had with government officials here are about Indonesia being on the list of countries being watched.”

Forrest described Indonesia’s potential for investment and scalable growth as positive — but not necessarily exciting. While the population and rising middle class is appealing for U.S. companies, Forrest said he fears infrastructure in the region still lags behind.

But for many U.S.-based VCs at the summit, the region as a whole is intriguing.

Southeast Asia is the fastest growing internet region in the world, adding close to 4 million new internet users every month, according to a report by Temasek and Google released last year. The internet economy is expected to be a $200 billion opportunity by 2025, according to the report.


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