Future of transport

Uber's exit prompts Go-Jek to speed beyond Indonesia

Indonesia’s first billion dollar start-up will enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in coming months

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 12:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2018, 12:08pm

Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion dollar startup, will invest US$500 million to expand ride-hailing and other services to four Southeast Asian countries, taking advantage of Uber’s pull-out from the region to make its first international foray.

The Jakarta-based company will enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in coming months, starting with ride-hailing but with the aim of replicating the multiple services it offers back home, it said in an emailed statement.

That will pit Go-Jek directly against larger rival Grab, including in the latter’s home market of Singapore. The Indonesian start-up is taking the plunge after Uber Technologies Inc. agreed in March to swap its Southeast Asian business for a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab, thereby withdrawing from a hotly contested region of more than 600 million people.

Go-Jek: from 20 bikes to US$2.5b – and an e-money revolution

Go-Jek, whose backers include Warburg Pincus and KKR & Co., has evolved from an app to book motorbike taxis to a way to pay bills, order food or buy movie tickets in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. It recently raised funds from investors including Google, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Temasek Holdings Pte and was valued around $1.8 billion in 2016 by CB Insights.

“Consumers are happiest when they have choice and at the moment, people in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines don’t feel that they’re getting enough,” Go-Jek Chief Executive Officer Nadiem Makarim said in the statement. “We hope that as we arrive in new markets, we will quickly become everyone’s go-to lifestyle app.”

Grab, aided by $4 billion raised from investors led by SoftBank Group Corp., has also pushed aggressively onto Go-Jek’s home turf. Grab already operates in seven countries and is run by Anthony Tan, Makarim’s former classmate at Harvard Business School.