AirAsia Digital (the digital arm of multinational low-cost airline AirAsia) and ride-hailing unicorn Gojek have announced a partnership whereby AirAsia Digital will acquire Gojek’s operations in Thailand. The USD 50 million deal is expected to strengthen the expansion of the AirAsia Super App in Thailand, while enabling Gojek to focus on investments in its Vietnam and Singapore operations.
The AirAsia Super App provides over 15 types of products and services under three main pillars, which are travel, e-commerce and fintech. It offers food and fresh food delivery, courier services, an e-commerce platform and a payment gateway but lacks ride-hailing compared with other leading players in the market. The acquisition will allow the AirAsia super app to leverage on Gojek’s existing ecosystem services for riders, merchants, and customers while allowing it to add new offerings, such as groceries and beauty items.
The Thai food and grocery delivery market is seen as particularly competitive given how local conglomerates have taken part. Retail giant Central Group invested USD 200 million in Grab’s Thai subsidiary in 2019. Meanwhile, Thailand’s largest conglomerate, Charoen Pokphand Group, is working to nurture its telecom subsidiary’s TrueID into a more powerful app, and its TrueFood platform is also engaged in the burgeoning online food delivery business.
It has been reported that AirAsia also plans to buy Velox Technology, a Thai company providing mobile applications to connect individual drivers, merchants, and other service providers, for USD 40 million. Through its subsidiary AirAsia Superapp, the airline also intends to acquire Velox Fintech Co., a fintech services specialist, for USD 10 million.
Thailand’s internet economy was valued at USD 18 billion in 2020, according to a report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, the second biggest in the region behind Indonesia. It is expected to grow to USD 53 billion in 2025.
(Sources: AirAsia; Tech Wire Asia; Nikkei Asia)