CAPE TOWN - American multinational, Google is reportedly entering a back investing deal with a ride-hailing company that is a direct competitor to Uber.
The firm, together with Chinese technology startup, Meituan-Dianping is reportedly among the tech magnates set to invest in Go-Jek - an Indonesian-based rival to Grab and Uber.
Founded in 2011, Go-Jek, has made a name for itself through its core motorbike, tax on-demand service.
Go-Jek has since stretched its offering by offering regular taxis, services and shopping on-demand and a mobile payment service.
The deal could possibly be closed next week, but Go-Jek reportedly has a reputation for not disclosing new investments.
The investment is reportedly part of a R14.6 billion fundraising round.
The magnanimous investment looks set to boost both riders and drivers - with discounts and promotions on offer to lure new customers.
Notably, Go-Jek is secured with investments from Chinese technology giants, Tencent Holdings Ltd and JD.com Inc.
“As a strategic investor, Google can add a lot to Go-Jek’s business. Go-Jek’s challenge is not how to grow the business but to have a big pool of funding to support all its services”, said one source.
The ride-hailing service’s existing investors such as global equity firms KKR and Co LP and Warburg Pincus LLC are reportedly also participating in the latest funding.
Google is allegedly investing approximately R1.2 billion.
Reuters financial platform, Breakingviews values Go-Jek at about R48.6 billion; in comparison, they value Grab at more than R72.9 billion.
All investors including Google, KKR, Meituan-Dianping, Temasek and Warburg declined to comment. Go-Jek also did not respond to requests for comment.
Google will add revenue to what is known as an already booming market in Asia.
According to a research report by Google and Temasek in December 2017, Southeast Asia is reportedly the fastest growing e-commerce market globally.
In May last year, Google announced that it would be expanding its African digital skills programme.
The expansion will see the programme adding offline versions of its online training materials to reach individuals and businesses in low access areas. This will provide offline content in languages like Swahili, IsiZulu and Hausa.
This move comes after the company committed itself in 2016 to train one million Africans in digital skills.
The country director at Google South Africa, Luke Mckend, said the company was committed to help local businesses thrive online as they are meaningful partners in the country’s and continent's economy growing.
“Through our different initiatives, a number of small businesses have been helped. Our tools and technologies are simply enablers for anyone who wants to build a global business to connect with new customers or share their creations."
"Whether it’s a dressmaker who plans on expanding worldwide through the tools technology provides them, or a content creator finding hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube," Mckend said.
Google said the its free digital skills programme offered 89 courses through the online digital skills portal, and the company worked with 14 training partners covering more than 20 countries to offer face-to-face training.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE