(Photo Credit: Vulcan Post)
Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek might be about to take the ride-hailing fight to Grab’s home ground by the end of this month.
First reported by technology news website, TechCrunch, Go-Jek has gained speed in its regional expansion programme and is looking to launch its ride-hailing service in Singapore by the end of October this year.
Based in Indonesia, Go-Jek isn’t just a simple ride-hailing company. The company started out as a motorcycle-hailing app, before expanding to include cars. Their business has since grown to include services like food delivery, on-demand massages and payment functions, to name a few.
With Uber’s decision to leave the ride-hailing market in South-East Asia (SEA) and selling their stake to now regional giants Grab, Go-Jek has since announced its intention to expand to other countries in SEA. The Indonesian-based company has since entered Thailand and Vietnam where they have recruited drivers and are close to starting their ride-hailing services.
An anonymous source with knowledge on the matter has told TechCrunch that Singapore is on the radar for Go-Jek to expand into. With Singapore being a relatively small market compared to other South-East Asian countries, it is seen as a largely symbolic move. Grab, SEA’s biggest ride-hailing company and Go-Jek’s biggest competitor, is also based here in Singapore.
Details on Go-Jek’s entry into Singapore are unclear, because unlike other SEA countries, authorities here won’t allow motorcycles to perform point-to-point services. That would mean Go-Jek needs to focus on using cars. Currently, their mobile application is already available for download in Singapore ahead of their official launch.
Go-Jek is currently in talks with Singapore’s biggest taxi company, ComfortDelGro, which once had a deal with Uber before they left the Singapore market. However, they could also just launch its own service by recruiting Private-Hire drivers to directly challenge Grab. They are currently in discussions with investors over a US$2 billion (S$2.76 million) sum to expand regionally into other markets.
According to reports by Temasek Holdings and Google, some experts put the value of the SEA’s ride-hailing market at US$20.1 billion (S$27.77 billion) by 2025. With Grab’s dominance in the ride-hailing market in SEA and the company currently holding 80% market share in its home country, many see Go-Jek’s upcoming entrance as good news.
After Grab merged with Uber earlier this year, riders have complained about Grab’s dominance in the market and rising fare costs. While there are other ride-hailing companies now in Singapore like Ryde and Kardi, none are currently big enough to challenge Grab directly.
The news comes after the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore found Grab and Uber guilty of violating the Competition Act for merging back in March. The companies were fined a total of $13 million. The consumer watchdog also set out guidelines to make sure the ride-hailing market in Singapore remains competitive, such as Grab doing away with any exclusivity arrangements with its drivers.
While Grab has maintained that the ride-hailing market in Singapore is still competitive despite the company holding 80% market share, the scale will definitely be more balanced once Go-Jek officially launches in Singapore soon.
Update: 10 October 2018, 10:15am
The Straits Times reported that Go-Jek has roped in six rental firms to supply vehicles and sign on drivers in preparation for the Indonesian ride-hailing giant's entry into Singapore next month.
Go-Jek will enter the market solo without any major deals. The speculated tie-up with taxi giant ComfortDelGro has since been dropped. According to sources from the industry, Go-Jek approached half a dozen rental companies to sign up private-hire drivers and supply cars to those who don't have one. The car rental firms working with Go-Jek have signed a non-disclosure agreement, thus they are unable to comment on the deal.
Go-Jek is also free to contact the estimated 70,000 Grab drivers because of the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore's non-exclusivity clause with ride-hailing companies.
Go-Jek has yet to comment on their impending arrival, but one source tells the Straits Times that the company plans to offer attractive deals to both riders and drivers to win them over. One said, “We hear that they will not charge any commission, at least initially”.
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