Indonesia's Go-Jek invests in Coins.ph

MANILA, Philippines – Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek announced on Friday, January 18, that it acquired a "substantial share" of Philippine digital wallet startup Coins.ph.

In a statement, the Indonesian unicorn said that its payment platform "Go-Pay" will be working with Coins.ph in a bid to expand the latter's cashless payment schemes.

Coins.ph allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrency and make digital payments on its platform.

"Today's announcement marks the start of our long-term commitment to the Philippines and a continuation of our mission to use technology to improve everyday lives and create a positive social impact," said Nadiem Makarim, Go-Jek founder and CEO.

Go-Jek did not disclose how much it invested in the Philippine startup. But according to the statement, the two firms intend to "work to enhance use cases and expand access to cashless payments and banking services, deepening financial inclusion in the Philippines."

The investment announcement came after Philippine regulator Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board rejected Go-Jek's ride-hailing services application over foreign ownership issues. The case can still be appealed.

While a majority of Filipinos are active on social media, Google's latest Southeast Asia internet economy study revealed that the Philippines has the lowest adoption of digital payment services at 21%.

The country's gross merchandise value generated by internet-based products only accounts for 1.6% of the gross domestic product – the lowest in the region, hence the most room for growth.

"Together, we have a tremendous opportunity and by leveraging Go-Jek's resources and expertise, we can give Filipinos even more convenience, choice, and access to the services they want," said Coins.ph founder and CEO Ron Hose.

Coins.ph said it currently has over 5 million registered customers in 5 years of operation, processing over 6 million transactions per month.

Hailed as Grab's rival in Southeast Asia, Go-Jek is Indonesia's largest on-demand multi-service platform, providing transport services to payments to bills, food delivery, and logistics among others. (READ: Will Indonesia ride-hailing giant Go-Jek enter PH?)

Backed by deep-pocketed investors Google and Chinese technology giant Tencent, Go-Jek sought to expand to Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines as part of its $500-million overseas expansion. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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