Fresh out of the studio, in episode 340, Rama Mamuaya from DailySocial in Indonesia joined us to discuss a potential merger between Gojek, Indonesia’s largest ride-hailing app and Tokopedia, the largest ecommerce site in Indonesia, and what it would mean for the most important market in Southeast Asia as well as their key rivals: Grab and SEA Group with Shopee. Rama introduced the backstory of Tokopedia, and discuss the dynamics on how Tokopedia and Gojek would merge under a SPAC backed by Peter Thiel and Richard Li. He provided the key reasons to why Grab and Gojek will not merge and offered his perspectives on how this will mean for the future of Indonesia startup scene.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion:

  • Rama Mamuaya (@rampok, LinkedIn), Founder and CEO of Dailysocial (@dailysocial
    • Since your last conversation with Analyse Asia, what have you been up to?
    • How has the Indonesia startup scene changed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020?
  • The rumored Gojek-Tokopedia merger
    • While our audience is often familiar with Grab and Gojek and their ongoing war in the ride-hailing, food delivery and financial payments space, can you by first, provide an introduction to Tokopedia, which we know, is one of the leading ecommerce providers in Indonesia?
    • Who are the founders and the investors behind Tokopedia? How has the company evolved since SoftBank and Alibaba’s 1.5B investment into the company years back and a recent investment from Temasek at 500M? 
    • What are the key businesses under Tokopedia and how does the company monetize? 
    • In Dec 2020, it was reported that Tokopedia were considering going public through a SPACs-merger with Bridgetown Holdings (NASDAQ:BTWN) backed by Peter Thiel and Richard Li. The estimated valuation of the post-merger company is between 8 and 10 billion USD. Do you think that Tokopedia will IPO through a SPAC(Special Purpose Acquisition Companies)? [Lead into the conversation on Gojek merger with Tokopedia]
    • It has been three years since you are here to discuss Gojek. Can you briefly introduce the company, Gojek and to a certain extent, discuss the other companies such as Gopay which has emerged from the company?
    • How has Gojek evolved since the departure of its founder, Nadiem to become the minister of education and culture under Jokowi’s presidency?
    • Gojek has been involved in potential merger talks with Grab and Tokopedia. Let’s start with Grab first. The synergies with Grab are probably the best based on their similarities, and the merger will bring the wars of ride-hailing and food delivery to an end. From your perspective, between Grab and Gojek, which side would benefit more from the merger and why?
    • Based on a recent article by Business Times Singapore, the merger talks have fallen apart. What are your thoughts on why these two groups could not come to an agreement? Is it due to the long term animosity between both companies.
    • Pivoting back to the conversation, why is Tokopedia a better suitor for Gojek instead? 
    • If it is going to happen, how would a Tokopedia-Gojek merger work? 
    • Does that mean that future companies in Southeast Asia similar to Grab will have no way to enter Indonesia similar to what’s happening with China & to some extent, India as well? 
    • How do you see Gojek and Tokopedia’s future prospects and what does the merger mean for the Indonesia tech community in the longer term?
  • Closing
    • Can you recommend a book, podcast or anything else that has impacted your work and personal life recently? 
      • Rama’s recommendations: Analyse Asia Podcast (Thank you, Rama), Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt and “Alibaba: the house that Jack Ma built” by Duncan Clark
    • How do my audience find you? 

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted and produced by Carol Yin (@CarolYujiaYin) and originally created by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong, Linkedin). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack.