In Indonesia, rattan is harvested in the jungles of Borneo, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Trading has been mainly concentrated on the island of Java. Over time Cirebon, a port city about 250 km east of Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city, established itself as the rattan trade center and subsequent rattan manufacturing center. It was probably Cirebon' s proximity to the island of Borneo that made it more favorable for rattan shipments than the bigger harbors of Jakarta and Surabaya.
Until 1987, almost all rattan was exported as a raw material to overseas markets and only a small portion of lower quality rattan remained in Cirebon. This was turned into furniture and house-hold products by small home-industries. During that time Indonesia only exported finished rattan goods, with relatively simple designs, on a small scale
When in 1987 Indonesia's government decided to stop exporting raw rattan, demand for finished rattan furniture soared and gave an impetus to Cirebon's rattan Industry. It was some while before larger factories were established and even today many rattan furniture exporters outsource their production to home industries and act only as intermediaries.
As a consequence, rattan furniture from Cirebon is sometimes considered to be inferior to rattan furniture from other regions in South East Asia, such as Thailand and the Philippines. Only few factories currently do their entire production in-house. Even fewer factories exist that employ their own designers, who are often highly skilled expatriates from all corners of the world.
Balagi Rattan is one of the few factories that does not outsource its production, thus ensuring a consistently high quality. Balagi Rattan's accomplished designers, enables Balagi Rattan's furniture to stand out from other Cirebon based producers.