There’s good news for consumers in Southeast Asia who are feeling the void after Uber left the region. That’s because Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company backed by Google, Tencent and others, has officially announced plans to move into four new markets.
Go-Jek said today it will move into Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines initially offering ride-hailing but with plans to additional services, including on-demand shopping and services, over time. The company began offering a bike taxi service in Indonesia but has moved to taxis, private cars, mobile payments, food delivery and services like massages on-demand.
The firm said it will invest $500 million on the expansion plans, which have been rumored for some months.
In a slight twist to the likes of Uber and Grab, Go-Jek said it plans to operate via a partner-led approach that will allow its local entities to “determine their own brands and identities to ensure good traction in each new market.”
“We believe the best way for us to expand internationally is by partnering with talented local teams who share our vision and know exactly what will work best in their home countries,” Go-Jek CEO and founder Nadiem Makarim said in a statement.
“Our role will be to act as advisors, giving the new companies the benefit of our operational and development experience so they can take the spirit with which we created Go-Jek and find the best way to achieve that locally,” Makarim added.
Go-Jek’s expansion plans have been ongoing in various forms since early 2018, TechCrunch understands, but they began to take shape and were expedited when rival Grab announced the acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business in March.
As TechCrunch reported last month, Go-Jek has managed to take advantage of uncertainties around that deal to hire a number of former Uber staff, who were supposed to transition over to Grab as part of the deal but were either not comfortable making the move or were uncertain after communications broke down following Uber’s departure. Go-Jek has also been in talks with Comfort Del Gro, Singapore’s largest taxi operator which had previously partnered with Uber, but it isn’t clear whether those talks have born fruit just yet.
Go-Jek has raised more than $2 billion from investors to date, including a recently closed $1.4 billion round. The company is widely-seen as the market leader in Indonesia, but Grab is dominant across the rest of Southeast Asia courtesy of its deal with Uber. Grab operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia, and beyond ride-sharing it offers food delivery, and mobile payments.