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Ayala Corp. is looking to hitch a ride on Go-Jek’s Southeast Asia expansion with a possible investment in the ride-hailing company’s Philippine venture as it takes on regional giant Grab.
Go-Jek and the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate are in talks to bring in a new contender to ply Manila’s gridlocked streets, two people involved in the discussions said. Ayala Corp.’s corporate communications head Yla Alcantara didn’t immediately reply to mobile-phone calls and text messages seeking comment. A representative of Go-Jek declined to comment.
Go-Jek is awaiting regulatory approval to enter the Philippine market after its initial application was denied for breaching foreign ownership restrictions. Ride-hailing apps are considered public transport utilities in the Philippines and must have at least 60 percent local equity.
If a deal pushes through, it will be the latest technology play for Ayala, after it bought a stake in Zalora’s local unit and subsequently put up a logistics platform Entrego.
After its expansion to Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, the Philippines could hold much promise for Go-Jek with its young, digitally-savvy population held hostage by poor infrastructure. Local players have failed to make a dent on Grab’s market share last year, estimated at more than 90 percent since its merger with Uber.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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