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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.

This article was written by Yoolim Lee, Claire Jiao and Cecilia Yap from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Tags: ayala, go-jek, grab
Photo Credit: Go-Jek may rival Grab in the Philippines with Ayala's backiing. ©2019 Bloomberg L.P.