Go-Jek CEO / Grab-Uber merger is a ‘great opportunity’

Posted on: March 28, 2018 | Business

In the wake of Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations, Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek has reaffirmed its plans for regional expansion 

An Indonesian driver from Go-Jek company checks the apps on his smart phone as others take a rest on a side walk in Jakarta, Indonesia Photo: Mast Irham / EPA-EFE

Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek will announce details of its first expansion into another Southeast Asian country “within the next few weeks” and plans to set up shop in three other countries in the region by the middle of the year, according to an internal company email seen by Reuters.

While Go-Jek CEO Nadiem Makarim did not name the countries targeted for expansion in the email, the company’s chief technology officer has previously stated the company’s intention of launching in the Philippines in 2018. 

The news comes days after Singapore-based ride-hailing app Grab announced it had acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian operations in a widely anticipated consolidation deal. In the internal email obtained by Reuters, Makarim described the merger as a “great opportunity” because “fewer players means a smoother path to continued and deepened market leadership”.

Go-Jek launched its main ride-hailing app in 2015. Since then, the service has evolved to allow users to summon drivers to deliver takeaway food, shop for groceries and deliver presents to people across town.

One of the company’s spin-off apps, Go-Life, even allows customers to call people to their home to give them a haircut, clean their bathroom or change the oil of their car. Meanwhile, the company’s digital wallet Go-Pay lets users pay for everything from utility bills to movie tickets.

Scant data exists, however, to determine whether or not the company, which saw its valuation rise to roughly $4 billion in January after receiving $100m worth of investment from US tech giants Google, can legitimately claim to be Indonesia’s leading ride-hailing app.

In an interview given to Bloomberg last December, Makarim revealed that the Indonesian startup, which is also backed by KKR & Co, Warburg Pincus and Singapore’s state sovereign wealth fund Temasek, was planning an initial public offering “within the next couple of years”.

During that interview, Makarim emphasised that his company’s focus in 2018 would be promoting its digital wallet, before outlining his dream of seeing “a whole bunch of Indonesians walking around, taking Go-Jek rides around the city without even thinking about whether they have their wallet or not”.

“The greatest risk is not having enough resources to execute our ambition,” he added. “It used to be competition, but not any more.”

Related reading: