In addition to the recent splash it made in Singapore, its archrival Grab’s home market, Indonesian ride-hailer is also hitting the gas in its expansion into other Southeast Asian markets.
Almost four months since we first reported Go-Jek would launch in Thailand, the company now takes a more concrete move, with the launch of a beta version of an app called GET in Thai market.
The app is currently focusing on two services, a ride-hailing service called GET Win and a delivery service called GET Delivery. In the near future, GET promises to bring other lifestyle services as the platform is committed to an easier daily life for the Thais.
According to its official website, GET claimed to be a local app that is founded by a team of “Thais and for Thais”, equipped with cutting-edge technologies and expertise backed by Go-Jek.
At the helm of this company is Pinya Nittayakasetwat as the CEO. Prior to landing his role at GET, Nittayakasetwat was a former manager of Line Man, an on-demand app with services like food and groceries delivery, taxi service, and postal service.
Unlike its rival Grab that is more consistent in using its brand when expanding to foreign countries, Go-Jek chose to collaborate with local players and gave them the autonomy to run the business.
Quoted from Go-Jek’s official blog, CEO Nadiem Makarim once stated their expansion strategy was to combine Go-Jek’s technology with the expertise, experience and in-depth market knowledge of the local team in order to create a business that understands what customer needs.
“We believe that these in-country teams have the knowledge and experience to make the businesses in Vietnam and Thailand a huge success. They may be using different brands, but they will be operating under the same values system that has made GO-JEK the market leader in Indonesia,” said Makarim.
Tough nut to crack
When delivered a speech in Blognone Tomorrow conference, Nittayakasetwat agreed that Thai market is a tough nut to crack. Although many foreign companies are eager to invest in the country, success is not guaranteed. Deep understanding of Thai’s culture and custom is crucial for new players to grow, and therefore localisation is needed.
“The best way to grow the ride-hailing apps in Thailand is to localise the principle of a ride-hailing app. Therefore, the two key challenges for GET are: How to help its customers arrive at their destination safely and if users do not want ride-hailing services, how else it can serve them?” Nittayakasetwat had said during a session in Blognone Tomorrow, Thailand.
In Thailand, motorbike taxis are allowed in certain areas only. Go-Jek’s predecessors, GrabBike and Uber Moto experienced big conflicts with conventional motorcycle taxis in the country back in 2016, challenged by the resistance of traditional transportation providers that even went out of their way to deter commuters from using the new service.
The key is localisation
To prevent this problem, GET has set up a research team to communicate effectively with local drivers so they can adapt to the digital age and benefit from GET platform.
According to Nittayakasetwat, localisation is not just about app interface translating, but letting Thai partners run the business in the appropriate ways, and not necessarily following its parent company. The CEO also said that the local team needs to advocate government agencies to amend outdated regulations that might be the threat to the digital development.
Accompanying Nittayakasetwat in the GET’s leadership chair are Korlarp Suwacharangkul who serves as CMO and Adisorn Kanjanavarong as COO. The former was the Marketing and Business Development Lead of Line Man, while the latter used to be the Operations and Partner Development Manager of Grab.
Both Line Man and Grab are known as old players in the food delivery sector, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if GET is investing heavily on this field later, especially because Thai’s market for food delivery has grown rapidly this year, hitting US$1 billion, more than doubling since 2014.
After Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, the Philippines is expected to the next target market for Go-Jek. Not long ago, the company reportedly finalizing a $2-billion funding round to boost its international expansion plans.
Editor: Ben Jiang