Grab and Go-Jek Fierce Competition to Develop SuperApp

Penulis: Yuliawati

Editor: Amal Ihsan Hadian

31/10/2018, 16.36 WIB

Fresh funds continue to flow to Grab and Go-Jek. These two ride-hailing companies are competing to build SuperApp.

online web site shopping internet process-telaah
Illustration of an app providing all the needs of consumers such as those developed by Grab and Go-Jek.

In the midst of a rally by their drivers in Jakarta, Grab received the latest funding of US$ 200 million (Rp 3 trillion) on Monday (10/29). Meanwhile, Go-Jek is reportedly securing a commitment worth US$ 1.2 billion (Rp 18.2 trillion) from existing investors such as Google, Tencent, and JD.

Grab received fresh funds from Booking Holdings, an online travel company from the US. It further strengthens Grab’s step as an online transportation company that is transformed into a SuperApp.

The funding is also a strategic collaboration that allows Grab users to purchase Booking Holdings’ travel services directly from Grab’s app and conduct payment through GrabPay.

Meanwhile, the users of Booking Holdings can order vehicles from Grab when traveling to Southeast Asia. Booking Holdings is a company behind famous travel services, such as, Agoda, KAYAK, and Priceline.

According to Grab, the collaboration would provide convenience and travel solutions for travellers in Southeast Asia and the world. Moreover, the online travel market in Southeast Asia is expected to grow three-fold by 2025.

“Booking investment in Grab is a form of trust in our sustainable ability to execute and expand various online to offline services,” Grab President Ming Maa said in a written statement on Monday (10/29).

The funding from Booking Holding is part of fresh funds flowing into the company since the end of last year. In January 2018, Grab secured a funding round of US$ 2.5 billion from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing. It previously received a large injection of funds worth US$ 1 billion (Rp14 trillion) from Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) in August 2017.

Grab’s valuation reached US$ 6 billion due to these various investments. Funding is also expected to continue to grow, and Grab will get additional funding of US$ 1 billion by the end of the year.

Grab will prioritise the received funds to continue investing in Indonesia. Grab currently has more than 7.1 million micro entrepreneurs on its platform, more than half of whom live in Indonesia.

Although Grab became the leader in Southeast Asia after acquiring Uber, its position in the Indonesian market is still overshadowed by Go-Jek. If Go-Jek’s new investment commitments are realized, its valuation will reach US$ 9 billion, surpassing Grab.

The funding will tighten the competition as the two companies are ambitiously wanting to develop SuperApp that can meet all the needs of its users.

SuperApp Competition

Last July, Grab launched GrabPlatform, a step to become the first ‘everyday superapp’ in Southeast Asia. In the platform, Grab provides various services and information that are relevant to its users’ needs.

Grabplatform is open for other partners in creating various apps. Therefore, Grab provides a series of application programming interface (API).

Grab Founder and CEO Anthony Tan said Grab has been developing the technology since it was established in 2012, but they were only ready to launch it last July.

“Strengthening the economic value for all users, which is more than we have ever created before,” Tan said, last July.

Grabplatform received a warm welcome from Grab’s strategic partners. Last July, it launched GrabFresh in a collaboration with HappyFresh, a provider of on-demand grocery shopping services and household needs from supermarket chain.


Last August, Grab announced its new business unit, GrabAds, which provides space for advertisers to utilise various fleets in Grab. In Indonesia, GrabAds teamed up with StickEarn and Karta in installing advertisement contents or stickers in the vehicles of its driver partners.    

The company’s latest move was its collaboration with Ping An Good Doctor to provide online health services in Southeast Asia. Ping An Good Doctor is a Chinese online health company with 200 million users.

The collaboration will allow its users to receive integrated medical services through Grab platform. In the first quarter of next year, the services will be launched in several Southeast Asian countries.

Various collaborations will add to the available services in Grab platform, such as GrabExpress for logistics, GrabProfiles for user authentication, GrabDaily for news content in collaboration with Yahoo, and GrabTV.

In addition, Grab established Grab Ventures, with a capital of Rp 3 trillion, to provide financing for 3-4 Indonesian start-up firms until 2020. It also collaborated with Microsoft for utilising cloud technology and artificial intelligence and Mastercard for credit payment through GrabPay.

Grab’s strategy to create “everyday superapp” is not a new idea. This step had been done by Go-Jek and Chinese app WeChat.

Go-Jek Vietnam, Go-Viet
Go-Jek Vietnam, Go-Viet (Facebook/Go-Viet)

Go-Jek is one step ahead in developing various unique services such as Go-Massage, Go-Auto, Go-Mart, Go-Glam, and Go-Med. Several new contents appear in Go-Jek app are Gozalia’s tips and trick, forecasts from Mama Anabel, and GojekStories that contain inspiring stories from its driver partners.  

Besides competing in the content business, Go-Jek also followed in the footstep of Grab by having a venture business to acquire new start-up firms that can support its platform.

Go-Jek conducted an experiment by displaying Kumparan’s news content in its app. This step raised an issue that Go-Jek, through Go-Ventures, has invested in the digital news portal.

Go-Jek also released Go-Studio, which produced films to be displayed through Go-Play. Go-Studio has funded four films – Kulari Ke Pantai, Buffalo Boys, Keluarga Cemara, and Aruna dan Lidahnya.

Competition between the two online transportation-based companies will be even tighter. It is still difficult to guess who will win the match. They have large financial support and unlimited creativity to meet customer needs.

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