Since the announcement of Go-Jek’s entrance into the Singapore market, there have been much anticipation on what the Indonesia’s ride-hailing giant would bring to our local shores, especially after the merger of Grab and Uber.
For those who are unfamiliar, Go-Jek began as a ride-hailing app for motorcycle taxis in Indonesia but has since expanded to provide on-demand services and moved into the fintech space with its payment services. Backed by well-known investors such as Google, Tencent and even Temasek Holdings, Go-Jek’s potential in its expansion into the Southeast Asian markets is promising.
Grab’s Biggest Competitor In Singapore?
Since Uber’s departure, Singapore has welcomed other ride-hailing apps such as Ryde and Jugnoo but Grab still remains as the dominant player in the scene. Grab has also been broadening its breadth of service with not just greater vehicle service options (GrabAssist, Grab Shuttle and Grab Coach) but also GrabFood, GrabPay and even exploring into corporate business solutions.
Widely hailed as Grab’s biggest rival in Singapore, Go-Jek’s boasts success not only in its core service of ride-hailing but also in its expansion into on-demand services that fall under its lifestyle branch, Go-Life.
In Indonesia, lifestyle services like beauty, massage, housekeeping and courier have shown to yield a higher profit margin compared to ride-hailing services for Go-Jek. Go-Jek has a wide suite of lifestyle services that it could choose to bring to Singapore or perhaps launch localised offerings, which they have a good track record of doing – and doing well.
Disruptors Or More Avenues For Informal Jobs?
As with all businesses that are built on the shared economy, Go-Life services may be seen as a threat to conventional service providers. But for those service providers who are willing to adapt and embrace change, the emergence of new platforms that better. match demand to supply has proven to be valuable and bring additional business.
Before food delivery apps were a norm, hawker and restaurant owners had to rely on walk-in customers for sales. Compared to the ubiquity of food delivery apps today, food vendors get to enjoy an additional revenue stream, especially for those located in areas with minimal human traffic. Disruptors in the service industry are not just a game-changer for consumers (by providing convenience at competitive prices), they also provide business vendors with a wider customer base.
Aside from bringing value to consumers and businesses, Go-Jek could provide additional working opportunities for freelancers and homemakers. Trained beauticians get to choose when, where, and how much to work so that they are able to stay at home with their family while still being able to earn a side income. By monetising idle or under-utilised services, Go-Jek could open up avenues for homemakers to earn additional income, while allowing consumers to enjoy much-needed services any where, any time.
The only question is whether Go-Jek is able to replicate or adapt their lifestyle services to address the needs of Singaporeans. Looking at the number of FoodPanda riders along our streets, Singaporeans have shown a willingness to adopt and pay for new services, so long as it can be offered at a reasonable price and bring enough convenience.
One of Go-Jek’s strengths is their ability to gain deep and varied market knowledge before entering the market. This includes seeking out local partners with interests and expertise in the various sectors to gain a strong foothold. There have been speculations about a potential partnership with Singapore’s major taxi player – Comfort Delgro. Collaborating with powerhouses can be seen as a strategic move to improve the overall quality of service while expanding into the sector.
Obstacles That Go-Jek Needs To Overcome
Before we get too excited about the arrival of this “everything on-demand” empire in Singapore, we will need to manage our expectations, considering the differences between Singapore and Indonesia.
Firstly, regulatory frameworks in Singapore is more stringent, sometimes at the expense of innovation. For example, just yesterday, it was reported that LTA cautioned Ryde against private hire doing parcel deliveries without passengers, after Ryde announced they are launching this new offering. This climate might pose a significant obstacle when Go-Jek introduces new, unprecedented services, for which rules and regulations might not exist or are unclear. For one, motorcycle taxis that drove the success of Go-Jek in Indonesia, are not allowed in Singapore.
Secondly, Go-Jek is a new player to the market, whereas Grab has been around for years and a large customer base. Go-Jek would need to win the trust of consumers and prove that their platform and vendors are reliable. Go-Jek has been investing heavily in Indonesia to train their service providers, so perhaps they are aware of what it takes to build a network of high-quality service providers.
Jek Of All Trades?
It is expected for Go-Jek’s ride-hailing services to arrive first before the diverse offerings under Go-Life. It remains to be seen whether this ‘super app’ is able to replicate its success in the local scene.
Beyond just ride-hailing, Go-Jek could leverage on its Go-Life services to enter the Singapore market and perhaps we can foresee Singapore moving towards the shared economy model in the lifestyle services sector. If Go-Jek can adapt to the needs and tastes of the local market, they have the potential to make a splash and give Grab a run for its money.