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Southeast Asian banks are investing in the region's biggest ridehailing rivals, Go-Jek and Grab, to hitch a ride on their expansion into financial services. These unicorns have moved beyond ridehailing, with payments being a hotly-contested battleground.

Ride-hailing giant Go-Jek has secured an investment from Siam Commercial Bank, the Thai lender that counts King Maha Vajiralongkorn as its biggest shareholder, according to people familiar with the matter.

It’s unclear how much Thailand’s biggest bank is investing in Go-Jek, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Their partnership will help Indonesia’s most valuable technology startup bolster its financial services, while Siam Commercial is counting on online growth to help increase revenue, they added.

Southeast Asia’s banks are increasingly teaming up with technology firms that are getting onto their turf, offering financial services from digital payments to consumer loans. Thailand’s Kasikornbank has invested $50 million in Go-Jek’s rival, Grab, and the pair intend to establish a co-branded mobile wallet.

Established over a century ago by royal charter, Siam Commercial Bank is Thailand’s oldest homegrown lender. It’s the latest to join Go-Jek’s ongoing series-F round, a term denoting late-stage financing.

The startup has already raised over $1 billion as of the round’s first close, Bloomberg reported in February. Alphabet’s Google,, and Tencent Holdings invested alongside Provident Capital. This week, Go-Jek announced additional investment from Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance as part of the series F financing.

Go-Jek, which debuted its app for hailing motorbike taxis in Jakarta in 2015, is expanding beyond Indonesia to cater to consumers across Southeast Asia, aiming to popularize an all-purpose consumer app similar to Tencent’s WeChat in China. It is valued at $10 billion according to CB Insights, and hosts more than 20 on-demand services on its platform from food delivery to cab-hailing.

Representatives of the bank and Go-Jek declined to comment.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Anuchit Nguyen and Yoolim Lee from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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Tags: go-jek, grab, payments, thailand

Photo credit: Go-Jek bikes. Bloomberg