Indonesia’s ride hailing start-up Gojek, has announced it’s intentions to help the smaller businesses in the country survive the harsh economic crisis by assisting their transformation to online. In addition, the company also wishes to help bridge the gap between these SMEs and the large global tech companies.

Recently, Gojek said it had secured funding from Facebook and Paypal, investments the company said would help ramp up its payments and financial services in Indonesia and the broader region.

“When global companies want to come in into Indonesia and access the potential of the market, it’s not like you can do some big enterprise deal,” Aldi Haryopratomo, CEO of Gojek’s payments business, GoPay, told CNBC in a recent interview. “Our market is comprised fundamentally of small and medium-sized businesses.”

Experts weighing in on the topic have said that for the global tech companies to succeed in Southeast Asia, extensive research and knowledge is required on the local market of each individual nation in the region, something that Gojek can provide for Facebook.

The large exodus of businesses from physical retail to online was caused by the catastrophic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the coronavirus spread, SMEs saw revenue streams dry up, forcing them to adapt. The process would have naturally taken about a decade, but the pandemic has expedited the process.

Not all of the businesses moving online necessarily have the ability, or tools, to access large swathes of customers on the internet and accept a wide variety of digital payments. Gojek wants to provide that access through its own gamut of services, as well as its collaboration with global tech.

The move from offline to online presents an opportunity for digital payments services to process more transactions.

Forrester analyst Meng Liu said after Gojek’s announcement that the payments sector in Southeast Asia, particularly in a large market like Indonesia, is still under-serviced and the opportunity is worth billions of dollars.

Through their cooperation with Facebook, Gojek would be able to embed Facebook’s digital wallet on it’s platform, while the social media network will take the first steps to expand its payments and financial services to Indonesia, and even more broadly, to the region.


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