Indonesia's Go-Jek to partner with peer-to-peer lending firms

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment company Go-Jek said on Tuesday it will partner with three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firms as the startup looks to expand its financial technology services in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Nadiem Makarim, founder of the Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment firm Go-Jek poses for a photograph following an interview with Reuters at the Go-Jek offices in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Go-Jek, whose backers include Alphabet Inc’s Google and China’s Tencent Holdings, has grown rapidly since launching eight years ago in Indonesia, a country with a population of more than 250 million people.

The company already offers a wide range of app-based services outside of ride-hailing, such as food delivery or movie tickets, as it competes with the other main ride-hailing app operating in Indonesia, Singapore-based Grab, which bought the Southeast Asian business of Uber Technologies earlier this year.

Go-Jek said it had formed a strategic partnership with Indonesian peer-to-peer lenders Findaya, Dana Cita and Aktivaku.

“We believe that a strong collaboration between financial services providers and technology companies can reach a wider range of people who have difficulty accessing financial services, such as unbanked communities,” Go-Jek president Andre Soelistyo said in a statement.

P2P lending is an internet-based business where small-business owners or individuals usually without access to bank credit can seek loans - helping alleviate a financing shortfall estimated at more than $73 billion in Indonesia.

The emergence of P2P lending platforms has so far been welcomed by Indonesia’s financial regulators which see them as offering a much needed service to cash-strapped businesses and consumers at a time when Indonesia’s economy has been hobbled by sluggish bank lending.

“This collaboration is very positive to increase financial inclusion in Indonesia,” said Hendrikus Passagi, who oversees fintech for Indonesian regulator OJK.

Go-Jek founder Nadiem Makarim told Reuters in August that the platform has 20 million to 25 million monthly users, for whom it processes more than 100 million transactions.

Go-Jek’s payment system, known as Go-Pay, has emerged as one of the most popular mobile payment platforms in Indonesia and last year Go-Jek acquired three smaller payment system fintech firms.

Go-Jek told Reuters the partnership with P2P lenders would be separate from its Go-Pay payment vertical.

Reporting by Fanny Potkin and Cindy Silviana; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier