Biggest city in Southeast Asia opens up to Uber, GrabTaxi

Ronny Kerr · December 8, 2015 · Short URL:

Governor of Jakarta, Indonesia hails more transportation options as a boon to the public

Tally up another victory for ride-hailing startups.

Jakarta, the most populous city in Southeast Asia, has granted permission to Uber and its competitors to operate in the city.

As is increasingly the case in other markets around the world, like India, Jakarta outlined a few straightforward stipulations for ride-hailing services to be legally operational. They must establish a legal entity, pay taxes, meet insurance standards, and submit vehicles to regular inspections.

With a population of more than 10 million people, Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. The country as a whole is home to over 255 million people. Jakarta also happens to be the most populous city in Southeast Asia, making it a very obvious target for ride-hailing services.

“More availability of transportation options will only bring positive and impactful benefits to the public at large, as more supply will build more fair competition,” said Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok), who spoke positively about ride-hailing apps at a meeting yesterday with other provincial heads.

Uber praised the governor “for embracing innovation, championing economic development and promoting consumer choice."

The latest tally shows Uber struggling to break into Germany and China, while it has scored victories in the UK and India. The opening of Jakarta comes on the heels of news that Uber is about to close a new $2.1 billion round of venture capital valuing the company at $62.5 billion.

Uber’s primary competitor in the city of Jakarta, the country of Indonesia, and the entire region of Southeast Asia is GrabTaxi, which initially targeted just Singapore. Today the service operates in over 20 cities across Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Aside from Jakarta, GrabTaxi also operates in Bali, an island and province of Indonesia with a population approaching four million.

As an international entity, Uber has even wider competition.

Four of its top competitors across several regionsDidi Kuaidi in China, Lyft in the U.S., GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, and Ola in Indiaannounced an official partnership to make it easy for their customers to hail rides as they travel around the world. In other words, they want to make it easy for passengers to hail a ride not operated by the behemoth in the space, Uber.

And those aren’t just tiny startups going after Uber. Didi Kuaidi, for example, is one of the world’s top ten most highly valued private companies in the world. The Beijing-based company last raised a $1 billion round of funding at a $15 billion valuation.

To help it fight Uber in China, Didi Kuaidi today appointed Yahoo co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang as one of its newest senior advisers.

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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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Uber is a ridesharing service headquartered in San Francisco, United States, which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers.