'Pokémon Go' somehow works in Indonesia, and businesses are already exploiting the blessing


Although Pokémon Go hasn’t been officially launched in Asia yet, players in parts of Indonesia appear to have been able to access the game ahead of its neighbours.

The augmented reality game was launched first in the U.S. and Australia and New Zealand on July 6, and the gates opened to Europe over the weekend.

Over in Asia, trainer-wannabes have been watching keenly for the app’s launch.

Everywhere in Asia except for Indonesia, which has had access to the game for the past two weeks since it launched, as reported by CNET.

Even if you have the app on your device — either side-loaded or downloaded from another country’s app store — it requires a connection to game-maker Niantic’s servers for you to see Pokémon on the map.

Players in Indonesia have been merrily posting their Pokémon sightings to social media, as interest heats up in the country. 

Local news reports have also confirmed sightings of Pokémon around official landmarks in Jakarta, suggesting that the map for Indonesia — likely heavily based on Ingress‘s map from Niantic — is ready.

The Batam Tribune notes that Istana Negara presidential palace in Jakarta has Pokémon around the back courtyard, and in the carpark area. The fountain out in the front is also a Pokéstop, it said.

The National Museum in Jakarta also invited people to visit, dropping a screenshot of possible Pokémon lurking on its grounds:

Local businesses have been quick to jump on the Pokéfever. Over the weekend, retail chain Ace Hardware started offering vouchers to people who are able to catch Pokémon in their stores.

Southeast Asian Uber competitor Grab also spent the weekend baiting Pokémon — and their trainers. On Saturday, the company’s Indonesian staff purchased several in-app lures for the game, and held a meet-up where it spread the lures, attracting Pokémon to the location.

During the PR event, Grab offered the promo code “GRABPOKEMON” for rides with its car and bike taxi services to and from the meet-up venue.

Last week for a stretch of several hours, the servers appeared to be allowing in users from parts of Asia such as Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Access was quickly shut off within the day, however.

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