Jakarta, the capital and chief commercial city, is Indonesia's main distribution center. The principal business houses, shipping and transportation firms, and service agencies have their main offices there and branches in other cities. Since the end of World War II, the government had sought to channel trade and business activities into Indonesian hands by a policy of granting special privileges to Indonesian firms—including export license monopolies, sole agency rights, and exclusive licenses to import and sell specific goods—and of making government purchases through Indonesians. In 1998, however, most of these restrictions of foreign retail investment were removed. Foreign investment is also allowed in wholesale and distribution activities; however, in many cases, the company must be represented locally by an Indonesian firm or national. Most trade is conducted through small and medium-sized importers who specialize in specific product lines. Direct marketing has become popular for a variety of goods and services.
Commercial business hours vary, but are usually 7:30 AM to 4 PM . Retail stores and some other businesses are open from 8 AM to 4 PM . Some shops are open from 9 AM to 10 PM , Monday through Saturday. Offices and most businesses close at 11 AM on Fridays in observance of Muslim sabbath. Local banks transact business from 8 AM to 1 PM and 2 to 3 PM , Monday through Friday, and 8 to 11 AM on Saturdays. Newspapers, magazines, posters, and billboards are the most popular advertising media. English is widely used in business and government. There is little advertising by mail, and none at all on radio or television. The government restricts advertising space in newspapers to 35% of the paper's content.