Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings is reported to be in talks about a possible investment in Indonesia’s ride-hailing giant Go-Jek, according to The Information.
There are no details yet on how much Tencent is willing to invest in Go-Jek and what they are planning for the future, based on information provided by sources “familiar to the matter”.
When contacted by e27, Go-Jek spokesperson stated that they do not have any information regarding the report and will not make comment based on rumours.
But, if it comes to pass, the investment would be an interesting development in the ride-hailing battlefield in Asia, as Tencent Holdings has invested in several ride-hailing startups, including Didi Chuxing.
Earlier this year, Grab launched its Grab4Indonesia master plan, which includes the setting up an R&D facility in Jakarta, a social impact investment fund, and the expansion of cashless payments service GrabPay, as well as other opportunities in widening financial inclusion in Indonesia.
The ride-hailing giant has US$700 million ready to invest in these projects and has been rumoured to have acquired Indonesian e-commerce startup Kudo for US$100 million soon after the announcement for the plan was made.
On the same day as Grab launching its master plan, Go-Jek also launched a hackathon competition as part of its mission to scout and develop local talents. Compared to the 150-man-strong R&D facility that Grab is planning, an annual hackathon seems a little anticlimactic for Indonesia’s first unicorn.
In a report, DailySocial suggested that the investment from Tencent might enable Go-Jek to expand its engineering team, in order to strengthen its cashless payment service Go-Pay. The fact that Tencent is an owner of WeChat might also be indicative of the direction that the Go-Pay platform might be taking.
Investment from Tencent might give Go-Jek the extra push it needs to leverage its talent pool and cashless payments service in order to take on Grab. However, the fact that Tencent also backs Didi Chuxing, who also backs Grab, may also trigger another question: Who’s laughing the hardest now?
The possible investment also raises a bigger question related to the position of Uber in the ride-hailing service battlefield in Asia. Didi Chuxing is seen to have the upper hand in Asia’s ride-hailing war following its merger with Uber China last year. With Go-Jek gaining extra gold in its pocket, the prospect does not seem very bright for Uber in region.