Temasek invests in Indonesia’s Go-Jek
Go-Jek

By REUTERS / Pic By BLOOMBER

SINGAPORE • Google Inc, Singapore investor Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and China’s Meituan-Dianping are investing in Go-Jek as part of a US$1.2 billion (RM4.75 billion) fundraising round, bolstering the Indonesian ride-hailing firm in its battle with deep- pocketed rivals Grab and Uber, sources said.

The investments by Alphabet Inc’s Google — its first in a ride-hailing firm in Asia — and the other prominent investors underscore both the potential of the business in South-East Asia, a region of 640 million people, and the insatiable appetite for funds at ride-hailing businesses.

These businesses have been spending heavily to attract both riders and drivers, with discounts and promotions that have drained their cash. They have frequently courted deep-pocketed investors for funds.

Grab and Uber are backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, while Go-Jek has secured investments from Chinese technology giants Tencent Holdings Ltd and JD.com Inc.

“As a strategic investor, Google can add a lot to Go-Jek’s business,” said one source. “Go-Jek’s challenge is not how to grow the business but to have a big pool of funding to support all its services,” he said.

Go-Jek’s existing investors such as global private equity firms KKR & Co LP and Warburg Pincus LLC are also participating in the latest funding, the sources said. The funding round opened last year and is expected to close in a few weeks, they said.

Google is investing about US$100 million, two sources said. Samsung Venture Investment Corp also participated in the funding, one source said.

It was not immediately clear how much the other investors are pumping in individually. Breakingviews said, citing sources, the new money from investors values Go-Jek group at roughly US$4 billion, com- pared to more than US$6 billion for Grab.

Google, KKR, Meituan-Dianping, Temasek and Warburg declined to comment. Samsung Electronics also declined to comment. Go-Jek did not respond to requests for comment.

The people declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The Go-Jek investment would mark a deepening of Google’s bet on Asia. In September, it agreed to acquire 2,000 engineers from Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp for US$1.1 billion.

It also launched a localised payments app for India as it tries to gain a foothold in the country’s rapidly-growing digital payments space.

This year, it joined an investment in Chinese livestream mobile game platform Chushou. — Reuters