Sellers in Beringharjo Market in Yogyakarta show the Gojek apps in their smartphones that enable them to pay tax to the city council online last August. (Antara Photo/Andreas Fitri Atmoko)

Telkom Sinks $150m in Gojek to Expand in Digital Economy


NOVEMBER 17, 2020

Jakarta. State-controlled Telekomunikasi Indonesia, or Telkom, the country's largest telecommunication operator, has decided to invest $150 million in Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, the local company behind popular mobile app Gojek, which provides ride-hailing, food delivery, and digital payment services.

The deal cemented the collaboration of two companies with arguably the largest customer base in Indonesia in their respective fields.

Andi Setiawan, Telkom's vice president for investor relations, said in a statement on Tuesday that the company's cellular operator unit Telekomunikasi Selular Indonesia (Telkomsel), signed an agreement for the investment Gojek on Monday.

"The investment reflects Telkomsel's commitment as a digital telecommunication company to provide the services beyond connectivity," Andi said in a statement to the Indonesia Stock Exchange.

"Telkom believes this collaboration will provide better solutions and services to society to create an inclusive and sustainable digital ecosystem," Andi said.

Andi did not disclose how Telkomsel would fund the investment. However, cash should not be an issue for the company. Last month, Telkomsel agreed to sell 6.050 telecommunication towers to sister company Dayamitra Telekomunikasi (Mitratel) in a deal that would rake in Rp 10.3 trillion ($733 million) for the cellular operator.

Telkom had looked for an opening to invest in Gojek since 2018 to get a foothold in Indonesia's $44-billion and rapidly growing digital economy. After delays due to shareholders' objection, the company finally secured encouragement from the State-Owned Minister Eric Thohir to pursue the plan early this year.

Telkomsel has been in close collaboration with Gojek. Two years ago, the telecom company offered a special bundle for Gojek drivers, whose number has grown to around 4 million since then.

Gojek and Telkomsel arguably own the largest user database in Indonesia, an invaluable resource for marketing, advertising, and lending. Gojek reported around 29 million active users per month last year, while Telkomsel reported 171 million users in its 2019 annual report.