Ridesharing startup Gojek and eCommerce marketplace platform Tokopedia, two of the largest startups in Indonesia, have recently announced plans to merge to form a combined entity called Goto Group. Following the merger, Gojek and Tokopedia will continue to operate as separate business units but are exploring ways to enhance their collaborative relationship and strengthen mutual service capabilities arising from the realisation of synergies and joint innovations for the benefit of all users within their vast shared ecosystem. With a proposed valuation of US$18 billion ahead of an intended future IPO, Goto Group has signalled its intention to continue investing heavily in its local eCommerce operations, while executives hinted at potential plans to make inroads into other Southeast Asian markets in the future.
The merger follows years of close collaboration between Gojek riders and Tokopedia’s delivery infrastructure, representing a natural extension of the strategic partnership between the two firms. Gojek has long diversified into providing a vast range of consumer services spanning p2p digital payments, food delivery and financial services, and the latest inclusion of Tokopedia under the wider Gojek ecosystem likely represents Goto Group’s desires to become the next “Super-App” of Southeast Asia. Gojek had also recently acquired a 22% stake in Indonesia's S$4 billion Bank Jago in December last year, signalling the group’s intent to simultaneously scale its digital banking and fintech capabilities, thus becoming a true “one-stop shop” for consumers, merchants and riders, delivering immense value and convenience to all stakeholders under the expanded Goto Group umbrella of services in the process.
As the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is also home to one of the largest underbanked populations in the world. The merger certainly signals Goto Group’s intent to challenge the dominance of other similar “super-app” players across Southeast Asia, such as Singapore’s SEA Group which currently owns and operates the Grab ridesharing platform, which recently announced plans to go public via a S$53.2 billion SPAC merger, and Shopee - an eCommerce platform. By aggressively scaling its service capabilities as a centralised financial and lifestyle platform, Goto Group is likely well poised to capture a significant share of these underbanked populations, defending its dominant positioning in local markets from potential inroads from its equally aggressive regional competitors in the process. However, ultimately whether or not Indonesian consumers will truly be better off as a result of the merger and freshly entrenched dominance of the Goto Group remains to be seen.