Gojek snags investment from Thailand's largest lender

Gojek, which debuted its app for hailing motorbike taxis in Jakarta in 2015, is expanding beyond Indonesia to cater to consumers across South-east Asia.
Gojek, which debuted its app for hailing motorbike taxis in Jakarta in 2015, is expanding beyond Indonesia to cater to consumers across South-east Asia.PHOTO: BT FILE

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Ride-hailing giant Gojek has secured an investment from Siam Commercial Bank, the Thai lender that counts King Maha Vajiralongkorn as its biggest shareholder, according to people familiar with the matter.

It's unclear how much Thailand's biggest bank is investing in Gojek, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Their partnership will help Indonesia's most valuable technology start-up bolster its financial services, while Siam Commercial is counting on online growth to help increase revenue, they added.

South-east Asia's banks are increasingly teaming up with technology firms that are getting onto their turf, offering financial services from digital payments to consumer loans. Thailand's Kasikornbank has invested US$50 million in Gojek's rival, Grab, and the pair intend to establish a co-branded mobile wallet.

Established over a century ago by royal charter, Siam Commercial Bank is Thailand's oldest home-grown lender. It's the latest to join Gojek's ongoing series-F round, a term denoting late-stage financing.

The start-up has already raised over US$1 billion as of the round's first close, Bloomberg reported in February. Alphabet's Google, JD.com and Tencent Holdings invested alongside Provident Capital. This week, Gojek announced additional investment from Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance as part of the series F financing.

Gojek, which debuted its app for hailing motorbike taxis in Jakarta in 2015, is expanding beyond Indonesia to cater to consumers across South-east Asia, aiming to popularise an all-purpose consumer app similar to Tencent's WeChat in China. It is valued at US$10 billion according to CB Insights, and hosts more than 20 on-demand services on its platform from food delivery to cab-hailing.

Representatives of the bank and Gojek declined to comment.