Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek has launched two locally founded companies in Vietnam and Thailand to mark the first wave of its international expansion.
According to an official release, the company’s affiliate in Vietnam will go by the name of Go-Viet, while its Thai counterpart will be named GET. Both companies will be run by local founding management teams with Go-Jek providing expertise as well as technology and investment.
Go-Viet will begin its beta testing in July involving a select number of drivers and consumers before a full launch in the subsequent few months. GET is set to launch soon after a consultation with local stakeholders including government, drivers and consumers.
Go-Jek said both companies will initially launch ride-hailing and on-demand logistics services before moving on to food delivery and payments.
“Our strategy is to combine the world-class technology developed by GO-JEK, with the in-depth market knowledge and expertise of the local teams, to create local businesses that really understand consumers. We believe that these in-country teams have the knowledge and experience to make the businesses in Vietnam and Thailand a huge success,” said Go-Jek CEO and founder Nadiem Makarim.
The announcement by Go-Jek comes the same day as Vietnam’s transport ministry rejecting rival Grab’s expansion plans in three provinces. However, Grab has countered saying that it intends to expand its GrabTaxi application, which has a nationwide licence to operate.
Grab also faces Vietnam’s antitrust regulator scrutiny following its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations in March.
Similar landscapes in other markets have encouraged Go-Jek to speed up its expansion in the region, armed with the backing of prominent investors including GIC, Astra International, Warburg Pincus, KKR, Meituan-Dianping, Tencent, Google and Temasek among others.
Of the $1.5 billion raised in its latest funding round, Go-Jek said $500 million of the funds have been set aside for international expansion, as the company aims to increase its presence in Southeast Asia. Early this month, it was reported the startup has been offered at least $1 billion of new funding from existing investors eager to accelerate its overseas expansion.
Go-Jek has said that it is also planning new operations in Singapore and the Philippines.
Meanwhile, competitor Grab continues to make efforts to strengthen its foothold in the region. The company secured $1 billion in its latest financing round led by Toyota Motor Corp, which valued the Singapore-headquartered company at $10 billion. Earlier this month, Grab also secured a S$500 million ($370 million) five-year, asset-backed syndicated facility deal as it aims to be the largest car rental platform in the region by end of this year.