A ride-hailing battle in South-East Asia

Go-Jek plots a landgrab

THE rivalry may have started in the classroom. Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan, unrelated founders of Grab, a Singapore-based ride-hailing platform, and Nadiem Makarim, founder of Go-Jek, an Indonesian scooter-ride startup, all graduated from Harvard Business School in the same year. They returned to South-East Asia with big plans to change local transport systems. Launched a little more than six years ago, Grab’s jolly green-and-white logo appears on billboards and driver jackets across eight countries in the region. Go-Jek, founded eight years ago, only launched its first foreign operation, in Vietnam, this month; it will soon enter Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore.

The region’s 634m people, often bereft of easy commuting choices, are a rich prize. The main option for those hailing a ride is Grab. Uber once battled it for customers but the American platform withdrew from South-East Asia in March (following heavy losses), selling its...



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