AirAsia today revealed a partnership whereby its digital arm, airasia Digital will acquire Gojek’s operations in Thailand for US$50 million.
These operations include ride-hailing, food delivery, and payments. The acquisition is expected to drive the expansion of the AirAsia super app, while Gojek will be able to increase investments in its Vietnam and Singapore operations.
According to Reuters, the deal also gives Gojek a 4.76% stake in the AirAsia super app which provides offerings such as flights, hotels, airasia farm, airasia food, airasia fresh, and more. The app has a market value of around US$1 billion.
In Thailand, the AirAsia super app will leverage the existing ecosystem services for riders, merchants, and customers while adding new offerings such as groceries and beauty items.
The airline will be working with the Gojek team in Thailand who will operate the Gojek business during the transition period before moving over to the AirAsia super app. They’ll contribute local market expertise and a better understanding of Thai user needs to the business.
The start of something long-term
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a statement that this announcement is the start of a long-term strategic partnership with Gojek.
“We already have a complete digital economy ecosystem,” he said, adding, “We have successfully established over 15 different non-airline products and lifestyle services on our digital e-commerce platform in Malaysia.”
“In response to overwhelming regional demand, we are setting our sights on bringing our super app offerings to all of our key markets, following successful roll-out in Thailand.”
For the near future, AirAsia shared that regional expansion into new markets like Chiang Mai and Phuket is in the pipeline.
Thailand has a competitive super app market
Users in Thailand aren’t lacking choices for a super app to use from a mix of local and foreign companies; some names you’d find there include Grab, Get, TrueID, and Gojek, prior to this acquisition.
According to Nikkei Asia, food delivery research done by Singaporean consultancy Momentum Works found that Gojek’s service had a far smaller share of the Thai and Vietnam markets compared to Grab and Sea in 2020.
Gojek’s GoFood had a 7% share in the market, compared to GrabFood’s 50% share of Thailand’s US$2.8 billion food delivery market (in terms of GMV).
While relatively new to the food delivery market in general, AirAsia appears to be confident in taking on new markets with this offering, alongside its other services. In March 2021, airasia food launched in Singapore after its Malaysian debut in 2020 (which we reviewed here).
Not much information can be found on its success rate in acquiring users in Malaysia thus far, but The Star reported that airasia food employed more than 1,500 riders and serviced 1,200 restaurants around the Klang Valley as of February 2021.
Coming back to AirAsia’s acquisition of Gojek in Thailand, will this be enough to indeed make AirAsia a leading challenger in the Asean super app race?
What one can be sure of, however, is that AirAsia has set its sights on expanding and strengthening its digital offerings, with reports in April 2021 of its plans to raise US$300 million to grow airasia Digital. Just last week, it bid for a digital banking license in Malaysia too.
- You can learn more about the AirAsia super app here.
- You can read more AirAsia-related content here.
Featured Image Credit: AirAsia / Gojek