It looks like Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek will finally initiate its long-awaited expansion in Southeast Asia over the next month.
The company announced today that it’ll launch businesses in Vietnam and Thailand under the names of Go-Viet and Get, respectively, using a model that sees local founders run each business independently with backing from local partners and the Go-Jek mothership.
TechCrunch understands that the Thai and Vietnamese entities will go live for customers from August. The plan is to initially launch motorbike and car-based services. Later, it may introduce services-on-demand as it done with significant success in Indonesia.
Go-Jek didn’t provide a timeline for launches in its announcement today, but a source with knowledge of the plans told TechCrunch that Go-Viet is likely to be up and running by August with Get in Thailand set to follow a month later. The Philippines launch will come next, but the timeframe is currently unspecific and simply “before the end of 2018.”
That just leaves Singapore, which is a more complicated market since it doesn’t support Go-Jek core motorbike on-demand service and it has been flooded by new entrants following Uber’s exit.
As TechCrunch previously reported, Go-Jek has held partnership talks with Comfort Del Gro, Singapore’s largest taxi operator which formerly had an agreement with Uber. However, it looks like any potential deal will take time and Go-Jek is prioritizing other markets initially.
Interesting, our source confirmed that the apps — Go-Jek, Get and Go-Viet — will not be interoperable. On one side that gives the local teams the flexibility and autonomy to introduce services and customize their offerings to suit the local market, but it will mean that consumers traveling between countries will need to download different apps.
Back in May the company formally announced plans to enter four new markets via a $500 million budget. Consumers may have been expecting a quick launch, particularly since Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia, but the process takes significant time. Now that Go-Jek has installed local teams — led by Nguyen Vu Duc in Vietnam and former head of Line Man Thailand Pinya Nittayakasetwa for Get — it is readying the operations side of the service to launch for consumers.
Grab, Go-Jek’s key rival, raised $2.5 billion over the last year and it is currently raising a new round that values its business at over $10 billion. The first investor confirmed for the new raise is Toyota, which has pledged $1 billion in what is the largest investment from an automotive company into a ride-hailing provider.
Go-Jek hasn’t raised as much as Grab, but it is still well capitalized. The company raised $1.4 billion from a bevy of backers that include Tencent, JD.com and Meituan from China as well as global names like Google and Allianz.