Homegrown Indonesian brands mistaken for international brands


From food and beverages to electronics and clothing, there are many homegrown Indonesian brands which many an Indonesian has often mistaken for imported brands due to their brand names, packaging, overseas presence, and variety of goods.

So we’ve compiled a list of 8 homegrown Indonesian brands that you thought were imported but were actually made right here in our country:


1. J.CO Donuts and Coffee – over 400 stores worldwide


indonesian brands - j.co
Image credit: @jcoindonesia

While J.CO competes with foreign cafe chains such as Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts, it is in fact a homegrown brand. We won’t blame you if you’ve mistaken it as an imported brand for its variety of donut and coffee flavours that are not widely available elsewhere in Indonesia.

Indonesian cafe chain J.CO is managed by Johnny Andrean Group, and first opened back in 2005. As reported by Kontan, as of 2019, J.CO had 260 stores across Indonesia and 262 stores overseas.

indonesian brands - j.co in festival mall
A J.CO outlet in the Philippines’ Festival Mall
Image credit: Festival Mall/J.CO

Today, J.CO stores and their delicious donuts, coffee, and frozen yoghurt can be found in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, China, and Saudi Arabia. Its strong overseas presence further makes it look like an imported brand.


2. SilverQueen – founded during the Dutch colonial era


indonesian brands - silverqueen on bread
Image credit: @silverqueenindonesia

SilverQueen chocolates can be found on shelves in every convenience store in Indonesia. But while it has become a cult favourite for many locals, many still don’t know that SilverQueen is actually a homegrown brand with chocolates produced in Garut, West Java.

indonesian brands - silverqueen
Silverqueen has even branched out into strawberry yoghurt and matcha green tea bars
Image adapted from Lazada and Bukalapak

Known for its mix of peanut-infused chocolate bars, this brand has a long history behind it. Founded during the Dutch colonial era, it was owned by a Dutch man who named the brand NV Ceres, but was later handed to an Indonesian man named Ming Chee Chuang when the colonial period ended, and produced many snacks under its current name till this day.

Fast forward to today, and SilverQueen chocolates can be found not only in Indonesia, but also in neighbouring countries Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.


3. Le Minerale – made in factories across Indonesia


indonesian brands - le minerale
Image credit: @galvinasterioghaniaryasa

Founded in 2015, popular water brand Le Minerale is produced by PT Tirta Fresindo Jaya that is known to produce other well-known beverages in the country, such as Teh Pucuk and Q Guava. Although Le Minerale can only be found in Indonesia, it is often mistaken as a foreign brand for its French-sounding brand name.

indonesian brands - le minerale water
You can stock up on 15-liter bottles
Image credit: Luigi

Today, Le Minerale has several production factories across the country from Ciawi to Sukabumi to Pasuruan to Medan to Makassar to Palembang.


4. Polytron – Indonesian electronics brand owned by a cigarette company


 indonesian brands - polytron store
Image credit: @pradiadesign

Chances are your grandparents or parents have probably lugged Polytron’s television sets or fridges home, as this iconic electronic homegrown brand has been around since 1975. However, many don’t know that Polytron is manufactured in Kudus, Central Java and is presently owned by Indonesian cigarette company PT Djarum.

indonesian brands - polytron fridges
Image adapted from Cholik Uchiha

A lesser known fact about this homegrown brand is that it was initially targeting the European market, even exporting its products to countries such as the United Kingdom and Spain back in 1992. However, since the 1997 financial crisis, Polytron began catering to domestic markets and continues to do so.


5. La Fonte – Indofood’s answer to pasta


indonesian brands - la fonte pasta
Image credit: @silviaxuwei

Part of Indonesian food conglomerate Indofood best known for Indomie and Indomilk, local pasta brand La Fonte is a favorite in Indonesian households for its vast variety of pasta, healthy ingredients, affordable prices, and instant cooking method.

While it may be mistaken for an imported pasta brand because of its Western-sounding name and colourful packaging, La Fonte is indeed a homegrown brand of pasta.


6. Excelso – bringing Western-style coffee to Indonesians


indonesian brands - excelso
Image credit: @excelsocoffee

Indonesian coffee shop chain Excelso is another brand often mistaken as an imported brand, due to its variety of coffee and cafe dining culture that has not been a norm in Indonesia. But this 30-year-old cafe chain has successfully widened the market for coffee lovers with coffee from Brazil, Indonesia, and Jamaica, to name a few.

indonesian brands - excelso coffee drinks
Image credit: @excelsocoffee

Moreover, it provides different varieties of coffee products, from instant coffee to coffee beans that you can brew at home. The next time you visit a branch, check out its international food menu and its one-litre coffee bottles that can be refrigerated and enjoyed for longer.


7. The Executive – office wear for CBD gents and ladies


indonesian brands - the executive
Image credit: @id_theexecutive

Before there was Zara or H&M, local office workers or aspiring interviewees would shop at The Executive for office and semi-formal wear. Looking at the impressive quality of The Executive’s clothing, it is easy to think that this brand is imported, but in fact, it is 100% made in Indonesia.

indonesian brands - the executive store
The Executive’s outlet at Medan Centre Point Mall
Image credit: Medan Centre Point/The Executive

Established back in 1979 by Johanes Farial, this brand started off as a male-centric brand catering to professional males but expanded into women’s clothing in 1984. Even today, The Executive remains a favourite amongst local professionals for its tailored fitting and affordable prices and is even available overseas such as in Singapore and Malaysia.


8. Polygon – bikes for your off-road adventures or urban commute



Image credit: @polygonbikesid

Manufactured in Sidoarjo, East Java, Polygon Bikes is a success story of its own. Polygon started building bikes back in 1989 and became one of a few homegrown brands that expanded quickly abroad.

polygon xtrada cross country bike
Image credit: @rodalinkid.pondokindah 

Polygon produces a variety of bikes from mountain bikes, road bikes, urban bikes, and youth bikes for all riders which can be found in countries such as Australia, the USA, and Germany, to name a few.

Of course, you can get our homegrown Polygon bikes at many bike shops in Jakarta and Indonesia.


Indonesian brands you didn’t know were local


During the current ongoing global pandemic, many brands have been faced with tough decisions, with many deciding to shut down.

Local businesses need us more than ever, so you can still do your part from home by supporting local brands – including these 8 that have interestingly passed off as foreign ones.

Also check out:


Cover image adapted from @jcoindonesia, @id_theexecutive, and @polygonbikesid

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