Facebook and Paypal today announced, in their own separate press statements, an undisclosed investment in Indonesian tech giant, GoJek. While amounts invested by the two tech behemoths weren’t disclosed, the investment is a part of GoJek’s ongoing Series F round, wherein the company is planning a $3Bn close.
The investment’s rationale seems to be a more focused approach towards financial inclusion in Indonesia. Facebook said in a prepared statement. “This investment will support Facebook and Gojek’s shared goal of empowering businesses and driving financial inclusion across the archipelago. WhatsApp helps small businesses communicate with customers and make sales, and together with Gojek, we believe we can bring millions of people into Indonesia’s growing digital economy.”
Facebook’s investment, the first such in an Indoensian tech firm, is similar to the one it recently did in Indian telecom-to-digital company Jio Platforms. And while the GoJek quantum may not be the same as Jio’s $5.7Bn investment, the idea behind these Asian investments is similar. Facebook wants to lead the way when it comes to financial inclusion and digital payments, by embedding itself into the extremely vast but unorganised small physical retail sector of Asia’s emerging economies. Both India and Indonesia present a massive opportunity to modernise their existing network of small mom and pop stores, and Facebook wants a big chunk of it.
Paypal wants more growth as it seems some level of stagnation in its core markets. The company, while having significant presence in India, hasn’t been able to grow aggressively, due to the presence of multiple local players of comparable size. Indonesia however, presents itself as an opportunity for the company to deepen Asia footprint.
“This new relationship is another positive step in our journey towards becoming the worldwide payments partner of choice, and helping to fuel global commerce by connecting the world’s leading marketplaces and payment networks,” PayPal said in a statement. The company is looking at this commercial partnership to “significantly grow” in SE Asia.
GoJek, which has not transformed itself into a ‘Super App’, offering everything from food delivery to ride hailing to ecommerce, claims to have over 170 million users. The company was last valued at about $10Bn when it raised $1.2Bn in March this year. Including that round, GoJek had said that it has raised over $4.5Bn in capital. The company is competing with Singapore-based Grab, another SE Asian tech unicorn that acts as GoJek’s biggest and fiercest rival in that geography.