Ride-hailing decacorn Gojek is looking to ramp up its presence abroad over the next five years, its co-CEOs told a packed audience at a Saturday event that was held to commemorate its ninth anniversary in Jakarta.
The Indonesian firm’s plans to foray into the Philippines and Malaysia are still on the table.
“We are definitely going to expand into the Philippines and Malaysia next year. We have prepared everything to enter those markets,” said Gojek Co-CEO Andre Soelistyo. Besides these two countries, Gojek is also mulling options to make inroads into another country in the region next year, the name of which could not be ascertained.
Late last month, the company made headlines when its co-founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim stepped down from his position to join Indonesia president Joko Widodo’s new cabinet as the country’s new education and culture minister. Thereafter, the company announced the appointment of Andre Soelistyo and Gojek co-founder Kevin Aluwi as its co-CEOs. Experts tracking the company told DealStreetAsia that Makarim’s exit from Gojek may bring in uncertainty to the company at a time when it is at a critical juncture to embark on regional expansion to take on its arch-rival Grab. Gojek is currently present in markets such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore where Grab already has a presence in – the latter, in fact, had forayed into these markers way ahead of Gojek.
Earlier this year, Gojek acquired Philippines payments startup Coins.ph, in a bid to set its footprint in the country. The firm has also been rumoured to be partnering with local conglomerate Ayala Corp to meet the country’s foreign ownership laws. On Saturday, Soelistyo said that while Gojek has already operated payment services in the Philippines, it’s yet to roll out its ‘full services’ in the country.
Challenges in regional expansion
Gojek has also been facing hiccups in terms of its regional expansion plans. Despite Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad giving a nod to the company to operate in Malaysia, it is facing resentment from Malaysian businesses.
Soelistyo said Gojek has been in touch with leaders of different countries to understand the way forward and has been mulling options to understand the fitment to choose services accordingly that should be launched in its new ‘target’ markets. In Indonesia, Gojek began as a ride-hailing app in 2010. Today, the startup, valued at over $10 billion, offers a range of services such as food delivery, digital payments, shopping, and hyper-local delivery, besides ride-hailing. It claims to process over two billion transactions every year.
“What we have learned for the past five years is that our service is applicable to developing countries… those that have infrastructure efficiency issues… Southeast Asia is very suitable [for us],” Soelistyo said. He also went on to add that the company’s food delivery service in Vietnam is very successful since its launch in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2018 and Hanoi in March this year. GoViet, the Vietnamese affiliate of Gojek, has partnered with about 70,000 merchants and has seen the number of orders grow by 25-35 per cent every month, DealStreetAsia had earlier reported in August.
The company’s domestic market remains the largest contributor to its overall business – as much as 80 per cent transacting Gojek users are from Indonesia. Going forward, the company plans to invest and expand into new markets to capture a 50:50 user base split between international and Indonesian markets. Gojek said in a statement that it has 29.2 million monthly active users in Indonesia, 800,000 monthly users in Singapore, 2 million in Thailand, and 4.3 million in Vietnam, respectively.