Thai Siam Commercial Bank unit, Indonesia’s Traveloka terminate JV

Photo: Traveloka's LinkedIn page

Indonesian unicorn Traveloka has ended its joint venture with SCB 10X, the venture arm of Thai lender Siam Commercial Bank Group, according to the latter’s filing with the Thai stock exchange on Monday.

The joint venture company, TREX Ventures, is now under a liquidation process, the filing said.

Traveloka and SCB 10X had set up TREX Ventures in March this year to leverage the Thai bank’s user base and the travel unicorn’s digital capabilities to offer financial products to customers in Thailand. SCB 10X held a 51% stake in the JV.

SCB had earlier entered into a similar partnership with Indonesia’s Gojek in 2019.

Traveloka Group president Caesar Indra had said, at the time of the JV launch, the strategic partnership was a move to enable the firm to deliver new financial products and services for Thai users. Traveloka entered the financial products space in 2018 with a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) offering in Indonesia before it followed it up with more products.

Responding to a DealStreetAsia query seeking comments on the JV dissolution, Traveloka head of communications Reza Juniarshah said, “Traveloka and SCB have recently decided that a direct partnership is an optimal structure for the relationship going forward.”

He declined to comment further when asked about the nature of the “direct partnership” between the two parties.

The spokesperson added: “Thailand is one of Traveloka’s most important markets in Southeast Asia and we continue to build our presence as we grow our user base and collaborate with more partners and merchants across the country. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to expand our portfolio of services to meet the lifestyle needs of consumers both in Thailand and throughout the region.”

Thailand has added nine million new digital customers since the start of the pandemic in 2020 with digital financial services becoming a critical enabler for the SE Asian nation’s digital economy, per the e-Conomy SEA 2021 report by Google, Temasek, Bain & Company. Nearly 96% of digital sellers accept digital payments while 82% have adopted digital lending solutions, the report noted.

As part of the company’s business strategy leading up to the IPO, Traveloka has been betting big on its fintech play. “Fintech is definitely very important. It is one of the three important [business] pillars,” Traveloka President Caesar Indra told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview. Traveloka’s two other growth pillars are travel and lifestyle services, including booking activities and food deliveries.

While travel and hospitality sectors suffered a serious setback due to cross-border and domestic movement restrictions across the world, the Google-Temasek-Bain report predicts online travel to bounce back within the next four years. Thailand’s online travel GMV is expected to increase to $8.5 billion in 2025, higher than the pre-pandemic level, from $2.8 billion this year, $2.6 billion in 2020, and $7.2 billion in 2019.

Traveloka, which counts Expedia and China’s JD.com among its backers, is reportedly eyeing a traditional US listing next year after its plan for an IPO through a black-cheque company fell through.

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).   

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  • 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. 
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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.