PH regulator rejects Go-Jek’s application for Manila ride-hailing service

Photo by Gojek

The Philippines’ transport regulator has rejected an application from Indonesia’s Go-Jek to launch a ride-hailing service in the country due to foreign ownership issues, a government official said on Wednesday.

The move puts a wrench in Go-Jek’s plan to corner a bigger share of the Southeast Asian ride-hailing market, currently dominated by rival Singapore-based Grab.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) denied the petition of Go-Jek’s subsidiary to become the newest ride-hailing service in the Philippines, the regulator’s chairman, Martin Delgra, told Reuters.

Velox Technology Philippines Inc, a unit of Go-Jek, “did not meet the citizenship requirement and the application was not verified in accordance with our rules”, Delgra said.

The Philippine constitution limits foreign ownership to 40 percent for certain industries.

“If they want to appeal. That is their option,” Delgra said, adding Grab remains the Philippines’ largest ride-hailing firm.

Velox is fully owned by Go-Jek, according to the regulator, while Grab, through its local unit MyTaxi.PH Inc., complies with the foreign ownership limits.

A spokesman for Go-Jek, which counts Tencent Holdings Ltd and JD.com Inc among its investors, said it continues “to engage positively with the LTFRB and other government agencies, as we seek to provide a much needed transport solution for the people of the Philippines”.

Started in 2011 in Jakarta, Go-Jek has evolved from a ride-hailing service to a one-stop app through which its customers can make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages.

Last year, Go-Jek said it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, after Uber Technologies Inc struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab.

The Indonesian firm kicked off a trial launch in parts of Singapore in November and is raising billions of dollars and investing aggressively as more of Southeast Asia’s 640 million consumers use smartphones to shop, commute and make payments.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.