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Indonesia’s Go-Jek may drive into Singapore as early as Oct 2018

Go-Jek’s expansion into Singapore will be one to watch, as the city-state has been home to its strongest and most well-funded rival Grab.

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Indonesia’s Go-Jek may drive into Singapore as early as Oct 2018

Indonesian O2O firm Go-Jek is close to launching its ride-hailing business in Singapore, which may happen “as soon as this month”, according to TechCrunch today citing anonymous sources.

This aligns with Go-Jek’s announcement earlier this year around market expansion; in May 2018, it said that it will enter four new markets — Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and Singapore — by 2018. It has since launched its motorcycle-hailing operations under ‘Go-Viet’ in Vietnam, started recruitment efforts in Thailand, and is reportedly seeking a permit to operate in the Philippines. This leaves Singapore, the headquarters of Grab, its largest rival in the market. Go-Jek added back then that it will ignite its presence in those markets with ride-hailing services initially, but may launch other services gradually.

In Indonesia, its strongest market to date, the firm started off in 2010 as a call centre for 20 motorcycle taxi drivers. It has since expanded into covering other means of transport and different verticals, from food delivery to payments. It also runs a venture capital arm, which it has used to invest in smaller startups like online media company Kumparan and video startup Narasi TV. Given that there is a huge motorcycle taxi market in Vietnam and Thailand, like Indonesia, it may be easier for Go-Jek to extrapolate insights from its eight years of operating within this space and apply them to new markets. However, Singapore does not currently permit motorcycle taxi services.

Go-Jek has been raising significant funds from new and existing investors. According to Crunchbase data, it has secured at least US$2.1 billion, including US$1.5 billion from Google, Temasek Holdings, Tencent Holdings and JD.com in February 2018, giving Go-Jek a valuation of around US$5 billion. The firm is currently said to be raising a minimum of US$2 billion at a valuation of around US$10 billion. Grab, on the other hand, is poised to secure a total of US$3 billion by end of this year, US$2 billion of which is already covered, said its Chairman Ming Maa in August.

Grab has received some flak from users as well as antitrust agencies, following its merger with Uber that suddenly meant it was the only ride-hailing option left in some markets. At the end of September, Grab and Uber were ordered by Singaporean authorities to pay fines over the anti-competitive merger. It is likely that the entry of Go-Jek into Singapore will be one favoured by commuters as the fresh competition may come with subsidies and promotions.

Editor Nadine Freischlad