AirAsia buys ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek’s Thailand business

AirAsia Group is set to buy Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek’s Thailand business in a stock swap, giving Gojek a 4.76 percent stake in the Malaysian airline’s lifestyle platform.
AirAsia on digital transformationAirAsia will acquire Gojek’s business in return for $50 million worth of shares in AirAsia SuperApp, valuing the division at around $1 billion.

The agreement with the Indonesian startup unicorn comes just a week after AirAsia applied for a digital banking licence in Malaysia, signalling a shift in focus towards digital business as most of its fleet remains grounded amid coronavirus restrictions.

“By taking on Gojek’s well-established Thai business, we’ll be able to turbo-charge our ambitions in this space,” AirAsia Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said in a statement.

AirAsia SuperApp offers travel, e-commerce and financial services and is one of three companies under the AirAsia Digital group. The others are logistics venture Teleport and the BigPay fintech business.

AirAsia could give Gojek a boost in Thailand where the startup has lagged food delivery and ride-hailing competitors, said Nattabhorn Juengsanguansit, director at Thai business consultancy Asia Group Advisors.

The venture faces stiff competition in food delivery from the likes of Line Man, which received a major capital boost last year. Singapore’s Grab has strong position in ride-hailing and Estonia’s Bolt is growing its market share,” she said.

Gojek’s Thai business, which includes ride-hailing, food delivery and payments, is its smallest overseas operation and has a far smaller share of that market than food delivery leader Grab.

Gojek will focus on increasing investment in Vietnam and Singapore after the deal is completed, the statement said.