Indonesia ride app Go-Jek to add 4 Southeast Asian nations

FILE - In this Friday, April 29, 2016, file photo, Go-Jek motorcycle taxi drivers wait for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia. Th Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek says it will expand into Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, vying with rival Grab for Southeast Asian customers. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)
A Go-Jek driver, center, rides on his motorbike in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek will expand into Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, it said Thursday, stepping up competition with rival Grab for Southeast Asian customers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
A Go-Jek driver rides on his motorbike in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek says it will expand into Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, vying with rival Grab for Southeast Asian customers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Go-Jek drivers wait for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek will expand into Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, it said Thursday, stepping up competition with rival Grab for Southeast Asian customers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Go-Jek drivers wait for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek says it will expand into Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, vying with rival Grab for Southeast Asian customers. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek will expand into Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, it said Thursday, stepping up competition with rival Grab for Southeast Asian customers.

Go-Jek, which currently only operates in Indonesia, said it will spend $500 million on the regional expansion. It's potentially good news for consumers in Southeast Asia after competition between ride-hailing apps lessened with Uber's agreement in March to sell its failing business in the region to Singapore-based Grab.

Go-Jek, which got a cash injection from investors including Google and Tencent earlier this year, said its overseas businesses will initially focus on ride hailing but eventually expand to other services such as food delivery.

It said it wants to replicate the dominance it has achieved in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's most populous nation and biggest economy. Go-Jek, a play on "ojek," the Indonesian word for motorcycle taxi, has been embraced by citydwellers in Indonesia as a solution to chronically congested roads.

Both it and Grab are trying to extract more revenue from their ride-hailing customers by transforming their apps into one-stop shops for an array of services including shopping, deliveries, payments and lending.

Go-Jek said it is still working with regulators to smooth the way for its new operations. It said each of the overseas businesses will have local founders and develop their own brands "to ensure good traction in each new market."

Grab already operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia, a region of more than 600 million people.

"Consumers are happiest when they have choice and at the moment, people in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines don't feel they're getting enough when it comes to ride-hailing," said Go-Jek's founder Nadiem Makarim.

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