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Indonesia's Gojek to double down on payments with new structure

Company reshuffles management team to fend off OVO and Shopee

Competition in Indonesia's payment service market is heating up among GoPay, OVO and Shopee Pay.   © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's Gojek, which offers a wide range of services on its platform, will go through a managerial reshuffle to double down on its e-wallet business at a time when competition is heating up with the coronavirus pandemic forcing consumers to shift to digital payments.

Andre Soelistyo, one of Gojek's two CEOs, will now be fully responsible for overseeing the company's payment services, while his counterpart Kevin Aluwi will be in charge of other services including ride-hailing and food delivery.

There were previously no clear demarcation in responsibilities between the two. As part of the reshuffle, Aldi Haryopratomo, current CEO of Gojek's payment arm GoPay, will leave the company at the start of 2021. 

"What has become clear is that the two elements of our company -- Gojek operations and payments and financial services -- have become increasingly distinct, with each requiring different expertise and focus, and we should arrange our teams to optimize for this," said Gojek co-CEOs in a statement on Wednesday.

"Each of us will have a clearer scope of responsibility [and] this will enable our business to be more focused and agile in developing products, while at the same time increasing the speed of execution," they said.

The payments service will be divided into three units, all of which will report to Soelistyo. The three units are payments, business solutions -- providing things like point of sales services to merchants -- and financial services.

The volume of transactions in Indonesia's fast-growing digital payments market rose 78% in 2019 from a year ago while the value of transactions jumped more than threefold in the same period, according to Bank Indonesia.

While the coronavirus pandemic has forced monthly transaction volume to drop this year as ride-hailing demand plummeted -- e-wallets are often used to pay for rides -- transaction value has been rising, as consumers started to shop online more. Even in physical stores, contactless payments like e-wallets are increasingly preferred over cash.

GoPay and OVO, Gojek rival Grab's payment service in Indonesia, have both been market leaders, but competition is heating up, with the arrival of Shopee Pay, the payment service of Singapore's Sea Group.

Shopee has made aggressive inroads in recent months, taking a considerable portion of market share through promotions at a time when both GoPay and OVO have pulled back from such a strategy under their new mantra of not burning cash.

Grab also led the $100 million funding round of LinkAja, Indonesia's state-owned payments company, earlier in November, while OVO is in talks with Dana, another local digital payments provider, over a potential merger.

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