We reported earlier citing Reuters that Go-Jek is fundraising a new round from Google, Temasek as well as Chinese Meituan-Dianping as the ride hailer is looking to expand outside of its home market into other Southeast Asia countries. Google has just confirmed the investment in a company blog posting today.
Caesar Sengupta, a vice president at the Next Billion Users Team of Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., said in the posting that Google has recognized the bustling growth at Indonesian startup scene with multiple initiatives to help bolster the momentum, efforts ranging from local mobile developer training to a Gapura Digital program that aims to help digitize small local businesses across the country.
And now Google moved further along the curve to back the Malaysia-born Indonesia-headquartered Go-Jek, which is “led by a strong Indonesian management team and has a proven track record of using technology to make life more convenient for Indonesians across the country.” The U.S. search giant believes that the investment will connect itself with a flourishing Indonesian internet economy.
The deal represents Google’s first ride-hailing investment in Asia. The Palo Alto company previously invested in Uber and then Lyft in the U.S. market.
Go-Jek’s archrivals, Grab, which dominates India market, and Uber, were both backed by Japan’s Softbank.
The Asian Rodeo
China, India and Indonesia, three of the most populous countries in Asia, have been seeing a rapid rise and adoption of ride-hailing services, with Didi, Grab and Go-Jek dominated each market respectively. Uber also operates in multiple cities across the region.
China’s Didi, which operates mainly in China, together with its investor Softbank, participated in Grab’s Series G round in the middle of yesteryear. Additionally, Didi also invested and then acquired Brazilian ride-sharing service 99 in a bid to build up a “global mobility ecosystem.”
Grab, on the other hand, offers a broad range of services ranging from ride-hailing and courier to mobile payment across seven countries in Asia, including Go-Jek’s home market Indonesia.
Go-Jek, for now, operates mainly in its home turf and has locked horns with Grab in the market. The company, which has also pulled off a successful platform that delivers everything in addition to ride-hailing and mobile payment, was looking to dip its toes into other Southeast Asia countries to “bring competition to their (rivals) doorsteps,” as its founder Mr. Nadiem Makarim said in an interview.