Jakarta. Recently, there have been a lot of discussions regarding Telkomsel's investment in Indonesia's ride-hailing decacorn Gojek, now known as GoTo Gojek Indonesia, after a record-breaking merger with local e-commerce giant Tokopedia.
It is interesting to see this from an economic and investment perspective, as the global telecommunication sector is facing many challenges with voice and message revenue continuing to decline.
On the other hand, Indonesia's internet economy continues to swell, reaching $70 billion and signifying an optimistic projection of $146 billion, according to the economy SEA 2021 report by Google, Temasek, and Bain.
Harris Turisno, an economist and member of the House of Representatives Commission VI, overseeing trade, industrial, investment, cooperatives, small and medium scale enterprises, and state-owned enterprises affairs, weighed in on the discussion.
Harris, who is also a working committee member in Indonesia's Stated Owned Enterprise investment in sharing economy company, said Telkomsel's investment in Gojek is necessary to overcome the decline in the voice and message business.
Telkomsel needs to find a new revenue stream to support its sustainable business growth as a telco company. The investment in Gojek, the largest base ride-hailing in Indonesia, brought synergy more than business profit.
Harris stated that the collaboration between these two giant companies could bring social and economic value to the more extensive base. For instance, they could collaborate on a synergy program where Gojek drivers or SMEs use Telkomsel as their provider and provide special packages.
"Telkomsel invested in Gojek at a lower price than [the company's] IPO price," referring to GoTo Gojek Indonesia's Rp 13.7 trillion ($913.9 million) initial public offerings last April.
"It showed that there's a lot of potential growth in the future and unrealized gain or loss in the capital market is part of the business activities," Harris said.
He said many Telkomsel peers in the global market executed this type of investment to stay competitive.
"A sharing economy company like Gojek is not for a short-term but long-term business plan as it's not only considering gain or loss but sustainable growth that will support company fundamentally and continue to contribute to the Indonesian economy," Harris said.