Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek kicked off a trial launch in parts of Singapore on Thursday, challenging dominant player Grab in the city-state, Reuters reports.
Both Go-Jek and Grab are raising billions of dollars and investing aggressively in the race to corner a bigger share of Southeast Asia, as more of the region’s 640 million consumers go online and use smartphones to shop, commute and make payments.
Go-Jek, backed by the likes of Tencent Holdings (00700.HK), Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, is initially launching a ride-hailing service in parts of Singapore after forming a partnership with DBS Group Holdings, the region’s biggest bank.
“As this is a new product, we will obviously give promotions, but at the end of the day it shouldn’t only be pricing that differentiates our services,” Go-Jek president Andre Soelistyo told reporters on Thursday.
Grab, backed by Japan’s SoftBank and Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, bought Uber Technologies’ loss-making Southeast Asian business this year, marking the first big consolidation in the region.
Following this, Singapore’s anti-trust watchdog slapped Grab and Uber with fines and imposed measures to open up the local market to competitors after concluding that their merger had driven up prices.
Go-Jek executives declined to give any details on how many drivers it had signed up or a target for market share in Singapore, but said payment services would be launched later.
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 and groceries to massages.
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