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Startups

Gojek kick-starts Thai operation after brand unification

Indonesian ride-hailing startup challenges archrival Grab outside home turf

Indonesia's most valuable startup Gojek entered the Thai market in February 2019 when it formed a joint venture with Thai startup Get. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

BANGKOK -- Indonesia's most valuable startup Gojek on Thursday launched a new app for Thailand, in place of its previous app Get unique to the country, to challenge market leader and its archrival from Singapore, Grab.

The move comes about 10 weeks after the Indonesian decacorn (startup worth more than $10 billion) announced its plan to unify its Thai and Vietnamese brands and bring them under one technology platform to take the fight to Grab, which is operating more widely in the region and under the same brand and platform.

The new app will help increase the ability of Gojek in reaching more Thai consumers who can access services for food delivery, motorbike ride-hailing, courier and e-wallet, said Pinya Nittayakasetwat, Gojek Thailand's country manager. It features a new and improved look with multiple feature upgrades to provide better customer experience and enhanced security, the company said.

Gojek has more than 50,000 drivers and 30,000 merchants in Thailand, where food delivery is booming due to the new coronavirus pandemic but competition among players including Grab, Line and Foodpanda is also intensifying.

Grab entered the Thai market in 2018 when it bought the Southeast Asian business from U.S.-based Uber that pioneered the market. There is no official market share data but Grab's Thai unit claimed as of the first quarter of 2019 that it covered more than 50% of the total market in the food delivery business with more than four million orders.

Gojek followed Grab in February 2019 when it formed a joint venture with Thai startup Get to mount a two-wheeled challenge to existing players in the kingdom's growing food delivery market. Gojek's Thai business entered a new phase by dropping the Get brand and app.

"This is the time to rebrand and launch Gojek under a single application brand," said Pinya. Gojek is offering discount coupons worth 2,500 baht ($80) to new users until the end of this month to expand its customer base.

Gojek has operations in Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Pinya said the brand unification strategy will upgrade user experience and strive to make a big move in investment and rapid expansion.

The Kasikorn Research Center has forecast that the food delivery business will grow at around 10% per year with total market value worth up to 35 billion baht ($1.1 billion) annually.

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