Gojek and Grab: the advent of super-appsPrior to the emergence of ride-hailing applications, Indonesian daily mobility was already characterized by the particularity of motorcycle taxis, called "ojek". In 2010, Gojek launched a call center with a fleet of 20 motorcycle cabs, leveraging this type of transportation to connect drivers and customers, before launching an app in 2015. The company's services quickly evolved into a super-app, offering not only rides but also deliveries, payments, and many on-demand services. In 2019, it became the country's first decacorn and merged with the e-commerce firm Tokopedia in May 2021 to become GoTo. In 2022, the app was downloaded more than 18.9 million times in the country and was operating in more than 207 cities in Southeast Asia, with about 2.7 million GoTo drivers.
Grab, founded in Singapore and operating in several Southeast Asian countries, represents Gojek's main competitor in Indonesia. The company entered the market in 2014 and now holds about half of the ride-hailing transportation market share in terms of order volume. The two companies have been in a tight race before and after the COVID-19- related mobility shakeouts. Grab's sales remained slightly higher throughout 2021. In 2022, both apps moved closer each month to reach parity in order volume in January 2023. Recently, new competitors have entered the market, namely InDrive and Maxim. AirAsia, the Malaysian low-cost airline, is also getting into the ride-hailing market and plans to launch in November 2023 in Bali.
Sustainability and electrification of the ride-hailing market in IndonesiaAcross Southeast Asia, ride-hailing and food-delivery services are striving to adopt environmentally friendly mobility. Businesses aim to deploy more electric and low-emission vehicles, driven by government regulations and investor pressure for greener alternatives. In Indonesia's ride-hailing industry, the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) is a notable trend. Gojek and Grab are actively promoting the use of EVs to align with the government's clean energy agenda. Gojek was one of the first to commit to making its entire fleet electric by 2030. Grab already operates 8.5 thousand electric vehicles in Indonesia and plans to increase that number to 26 thousand by 2025.
However, recent data reveals some challenges, with GoTo experiencing a 19 percent year-over-year increase in emissions, and Grab's carbon footprint more than doubling in 2022 due to post-COVID-19 demand. Nevertheless, both companies are committed to decarbonizing their operations. Grab is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2040, while GoTo aims for "zero emissions" by 2030. These two-leading ride-hailing companies face the dual challenge of meeting environmental sustainability goals and responding to growing customer demand.