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Sharing economy

Go-Jek launches ride-hailing beta app in Singapore to take on Grab

  • Indonesia’s most valuable tech start-up enters its second international market after expanding into Vietnam in September
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 8:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 8:00pm

Go-Jek, Indonesia’s most valuable technology start-up, rolled out a beta version of its ride-hailing app in Singapore on Thursday, moving into direct competition with arch-rival Grab on its home turf.

Jakarta-based Go-Jek’s beta app was made available on Android and Apple devices to a limited number of consumers, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The start-up has asked for feedback from users during its early days of operation in Singapore so that it can improve service quality.

Go-Jek CEO Nadiem Makarim sees success from trusting the numbers, hyper-experimenting and luck

Many consumers and drivers have looked forward to Go-Jek’s entry after Grab cemented its grip on the city state by agreeing in March to acquire the Southeast Asian business of Uber Technologies, eliminating its primary competition in the region.

Uber’s departure was followed by rising complaints from users about higher prices, delays and lapses in customer service. Drivers expressed frustration about reduced income.

“When there is only one dominant player in the market, the service level goes down and they stop hearing about customer complaints,” Go-Jek president Andre Soelistyo said at a media briefing in the city state. “That’s a big starting point, to provide another choice.”

Soelistyo described Go-Jek as a platform company that will begin with ride-hailing and then add more services in the future, similar to what the company did after entering Vietnam. Payments is a likely offering after the initial launch.

Grab looks to avoid a price war with ride-hailing rival Go-Jek as it focuses on safe, reliable services

“For Singapore, another ride-hailing competitor cannot come soon enough,” said Benjamin Roberts, a Singapore resident unhappy with Grab’s cancellations and surcharges.

Go-Jek, founded by Nadiem Makarim, started as a motorcycle ride-hailing service in 2010 in Indonesia, but it now offers everything from meal deliveries to over-the-counter medicine and massage services on-demand through its super app. The firm is backed by investors such as Google, Tencent Holdings, Temasek Holdings and Meituan Dianping.