AirAsia Digital acquires Gojek’s Thai biz for RM208m


AIRASIA Group’s digital unit, AirAsia Digital, has acquired Indonesia’s ride-hailing Gojek business in Thailand for RM208 million in an aim to accelerate its digital expansion plans across the region.

The deal will see the Indonesian technology group take a 4.76% stake in AirAsia’s Super App in exchange for its business in Thailand, while continuing to focus on investing in Singapore and Vietnam.

The closed agreement between AirAsia Digital and Gojek came just after the budget airline applied for its digital banking licence in Malaysia, signalling a shift towards more digital businesses as its fleet remains grounded due to Covid-19.

The AirAsia Super App offers travel, e-commerce and financial services and is one of three companies under the AirAsia Digital group, while the others are logistics venture Teleport and the BigPay fintech business.

AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes (picture) said by taking on the well-established business from Gojek, the group is set to turbocharge its ambitions in the space to become a leading Asean challenger super app.

“We already have a complete digital economy ecosystem. We have successfully established over 15 different non-airline products and lifestyle services on our digital e-commerce platform in Malaysia. In response to overwhelming regional demand, we are setting our sights on bringing our Super App offerings to all of our key markets, following the successful roll out in Thailand,” he said during the virtual AirAsia Digital press conference yesterday.

Fernades said Gojek will continue running its app until the end of July 2021, while AirAsia hopes to have its super app running by August 2021, with no redundancies taking place from the deal.

He said this is part of the group’s longterm strategy and believes the airline will come back even stronger post-pandemic.

“We felt like this was a natural fit and about resources as we’ve been in Thailand even longer than Gojek. We have a large brand and a huge database in every major city in Thailand so this was a logical thing,” he said.

Gojek CEO Kevin Aluwi said the discussion began about two months ago, where it looked at various international markets to see where the tech firm could deploy resources.

“We then decided the priority was to invest in Singapore and Vietnam because of the scale of business in the markets, and realised we could not do the same with the business in Thailand. We will, however, remain committed to our growing markets outside of Indonesia,” he said.

Kevin said Vietnam will soon see the introduction of cashless payments in local markets, and cars for deliveries following motorcycles while Singapore will have a new driver scheme.

Fernandes said its fundraising initiatives had been progressing well, while BigPay was close to closing a transaction.

“We will hopefully be making announcements sometime next week. The Danajamin Prihatin Guarantee Scheme loan is also being processed right now,” he said.