Transportation in Indonesia is changing fast and local brands are changing customer expectations faster than well-known international brands, such as Uber who no longer has any presence in the region. Last year, local ride-hailing brand Go-Jek, received a significant investment from Tencent, the Chinese business giant with interests in Artificial Intelligence, gaming, and Internet services. Earlier this year, Google followed their lead and also made a large investment into Go-Jek. Interest in this market in Indonesia is running high.
But the Singapore-based Grab is also making significant inroads into Indonesia ensuring that Go-Jek cannot monopolize their local market. The ride-hailing market is worth over $5bn in Indonesia alone so it’s easy to see why the various companies are competing for a slice of the action.
Go-Jek is the first unicorn startup (valued at over $1bn) to emerge from Indonesia and is the only company in Southeast Asia that featured on the recent Fortune list of 50 companies that changed the world. To Europeans or Americans, who may only be familiar with Uber, names such as Go-Jek and Grab may be unfamiliar, but these companies are growing fast. Grab recently raised over $1bn in funding specifically for further expansion in Indonesia.
With such a large market on their doorstep, Grab sees Indonesia as essential for success. Grab bought out all the regional operations of Uber earlier this year giving them a significant boost in market share. From the start of 2018 to now their valuation has approximately doubled to $11bn.
But what is really interesting about this market in Indonesia is how quickly the companies are responding to customer demands and offering services that complement transportation and logistics. Go-Jek has started to position their ride service as just one of twenty different services that are all available from the same app.
The experience of building a ride-hailing service and the development of systems that can optimize which riders to use – and when – has led to other services such as medicine delivery, food delivery, and grocery delivery. Admittedly these are all bolt-on services that rely on a rider at the core of what is being offered, but consider how quickly businesses such as restaurants are changing because of the ease of arranging a delivery service. Many restaurants that never used to offer any kind of delivery service are now making more from this part of their business than from diners eating in the restaurant.
However, the fast-moving competition in this sector is leading to some problems. There are many fake versions of the official apps available on Dark Web locations – offering the opportunity to improve rider performance, hit more targets, and even overcharge on the ride, but all the companies involved are investing heavily in ending the possibility of fraud.
It’s worth watching Grab and Go-Jek closely to see how they shape the next few years of growth in transportation in Indonesia, but it is these peripheral services that I think will become even more important as this expertise in logistics may create the possibility to re-write the rule book for many other industries.