Indonesia's Go-Jek could 'soon' launch its ride-hailing app in Thailand

BY APD NEWSSep 14,2018 at 16:15

Indonesia's largest ride-hailing, payments and services company, Go-Jek, plans to expand its presence across more markets in Southeast Asia in the near future, according to its president.

After officially launching its services in Vietnam earlier this week, Go-Jek is building up its operations in Thailand and working with regulators in Singapore and the Philippines, Andre Soelistyo told CNBC on Friday.

"Thailand is coming very soon ... the team is already working to operationalize the product," he said, adding that, for Singapore and the Philippines, "we're still working it out with local regulators, local teams to make sure that all the requirements are being checked properly, before we do the expansion."

Earlier in May, Go-Jek announced that it would invest about $500 million to move into the four markets over the next several months. The company said it would provide "technological support and expertise" to local founding teams that would then work on gaining traction in each of those countries.

The mobile app that was launched in Vietnam is called Go-Viet and is now available in the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. On that app, users can book two-wheel rides and make use of courier services — the company said there are plans to introduce four-wheel ride-hailing, food delivery and digital payment services on the application in the future.

Soelistyo said the decision to launch first in Vietnam had several motivations, including its cultural similarity to Indonesia, and the high social media penetration rate.

"Motorcycle penetration is very high, and that's very key for our platform" he said. "We saw a lot of excitement from the local team, and local partners, and they really wanted to push this. So, we started with Vietnam as a result."

Ultimately, Go-Jek's goal is to consolidate transactions on its app by building new technologies on top of it that can do various functions such as making payments, buying goods and services online and ordering food, according to Soelistyo.

In Singapore, reports previously suggested that Go-Jek was in talks with the country's largest taxi operator, ComfortDelGro, to forge a partnership ahead of the company's entry into the market. Soelistyo declined to comment on that report, and instead said Go-Jek always takes a "very partnership-driven" approach.

Go-Jek's expansion into Southeast Asia is set to potentially fill the void left by Uber. The U.S. tech company earlier this year sold its regional business to local competitor Grab. The two Southeast Asia-based companies already compete in Indonesia and will now do the same in Vietnam.

Both companies have notable backers: Grab counts SoftBank, China's Didi Chuxing, Toyota, global asset manager OppenheimerFunds and China's Ping An Capital among its investors. Go-Jek, which reportedly raised about $1.5 billion in funds in February, is backed by Google, Singapore's Temasek Holdings and tech giant Tencent.

(CNBC)

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