Indonesian popular ride-hailing service Go-Jek on Monday announced the opening of two units in Vietnam and Thailand, forming the “first wave of its international expansion.”

Go-Jek said in a press statement on Monday that the two companies will be run by local founding management teams, “with Go-Jek providing knowledge and expertise as well as technology and investment.”

Go-Jek

Go-Jek’s expansion is part of plans to challenge Singapore-based Grab’s dominance in the region. © Reuters

The ride hailing app will go by the name of Go-Viet in Vietnam, and will begin testing with a small number of drivers in July, before fully launching in the next few months. It is named GET in Thailand and will launch soon after Go-Viet.

“Our strategy is to combine 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,” Go-Jek Chief Executive and Founder Nadiem Makarim said in a statement.

The launch of the Thai and Vietnamese units are part of Go-Jek’s $500 million expansion plans in Southeast Asia that will also include the Philippines and Singapore. Go-Jek said expansion follows many months of planning after its latest fundraising round, in which Astra International, Warburg Pincus, KKR, Meituan-Dianping, Tencent Holdings, Google and Temasek, among others, participated.

Go-Jek has evolved from a motorcycle taxi-hailing application into a facilitator and provider of a variety of services — including food and parcels deliveries, as well as cleaners and masseuses on-call. The company said last month it plans to start off with ride-hailing in each country but is “ultimately aiming to replicate the multiple-service business model that has made it the market leader in Indonesia.”

Go-Jek’s expansion looks to challenge Singapore-based Grab’s dominance in the region, especially following the latter’s acquisition of U.S.-based Uber’s regional operations. Go-Jek and Grab are competing tightly in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Source: Nikkei