AirAsia has unveiled today a partnership through which its digital arm, airasia Digital, will acquire Gojek’s operations in Thailand for US $ 50 million.
These transactions include vehicle transportation, food delivery and payments. The acquisition is expected to drive the expansion of the AirAsia superapplication, while Gojek will be able to increase investments in its Vietnam and Singapore operations.
In accordance with Reuters, the deal also gives Gojek a 4.76% stake in the AirAsia superapplication, which offers deals such as flights, hotels, Airasia farm, Airasia food, Airasia Fresh and more. The app has a market value of about US $ 1 billion.
In Thailand, the AirAsia superapplication will leverage existing ecosystem services for users, traders and customers, while adding new offerings such as groceries and beauty items.
The airline will work with the Gojek team in Thailand, which will operate the Gojek business during the transition period before moving to the AirAsia superapplication. They will bring experience in the local market and a better understanding of the needs of Thai users in the business.
The beginning of something long term
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a statement that this announcement marks the start of a long-term strategic partnership with Gojek.
“We already have a complete digital economy ecosystem,” he said, adding, “We have successfully established more than 15 different non-aerial products and lifestyle services on our digital e-commerce platform in Malaysia”.
“In response to overwhelming regional demand, we are looking to bring our superapplication offerings to all of our key markets, following a successful launch in Thailand.”
For the near future, AirAsia shared that regional expansion into new markets such as Chiang Mai and Phuket is ready.
Thailand has a competitive market for super applications
Users in Thailand have no shortage of options to use a super app from a combination of local and foreign companies; some names you’ll find there include Grab, Get, TrueID, and Gojek, prior to this acquisition.
In accordance with Nikkei Asia, the food delivery investigation conducted by Singaporean consultancy Momentum Works found that Gojek’s service had a much smaller share of the Thai and Vietnamese markets compared to Grab and Sea in 2020.
Gojek’s GoFood had a 7% market share, compared to GrabFood’s 50% share in the Thai food delivery market (US $ 2.8 billion) (in terms of GMV).
While relatively new to the overall food market, AirAsia seems confident in acquiring new markets with this offering, along with its other services. In March 2021, eat airasia released in Singapore after its debut in Malaysia in 2020 (which we reviewed here).
So far not much can be found about its success rate in acquiring users in Malaysia The Star reported that airasia food employed more than 1,500 pilots and served 1,200 restaurants around the Klang Valley as of February 2021.
Going back to Gojek’s acquisition of Airojia in Thailand, will it be enough to make AirAsia a leading challenger in Asean’s superapplication race?
What one can be sure of, however, is that AirAsia has focused on expanding and strengthening its digital offering, with reports in April 2021 of its plans to raise US $ 300 million to grow airasia Digital. Last week he tendered a digital banking license also in Malaysia.
- You can learn more about the AirAsia super app here.
- You can read more content related to AirAsia here.
Featured Image Credit: AirAsia / Gojek