Facebook Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. are investing in Gojek, a big boost for the Indonesian startup’s digital payments business that propels the U.S. companies into a fast-growing Asian internet arena.
It’s the second international investment Facebook has made in the past six weeks with a goal of getting more local businesses online, after the social media giant paid $5.7 billion for about 10% of India’s Reliance Jio. It plans to build a commerce and payments business around WhatsApp, on top of letting businesses use the messaging service to interact with customers.
The deal marks Facebook’s first investment in an Indonesian company and is a major boost for the country’s largest startup, a ride-hailing giant that’s morphed into a provider of services like payments and meal delivery. Gojek is now backed by some of the world’s largest internet companies from Alphabet Inc.’s Google to China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., helping it compete against Singapore’s Grab Holdings Inc.
Gojek and Grab aim to become Southeast Asian consumers’ default, all-purpose app, similar to Tencent’s WeChat. Gojek has drawn hundreds of thousands of merchants to its platform, providing them with access to more than 170 million users across the region.