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Go-Jek – one of the fastest-growing start-ups in Indonesia

  -   19. March 2017
Source: Tumisu/

The traffic situation in South-East Asia is more than just bad, making it unavoidable to struggle going through the daily massive traffic jam. The number of traffic vehicles is constantly increasing, which makes a bad situation even worse.
Indonesia’s capital Jakarta has one of the worst traffic jams in the world. According to a study by Castrol, Jakarta drivers have more stops and starts than any other drivers in any other city of the world. During one year, the average driver in Jakarta stops about 33,420 times, which is more than double the number of New York. It was desperately necessary to find an alternative or a possibility to get from destination to destination quicker, without losing precious time stuck in traffic jams for hours.

Source: Julia Ursu

Source: Julia Ursu

The solution is the sharing economy Go-Jek. The application provides a wide range of transportion and logistic services. You can order a motorbike-taxi (previously Ojek) among other offered services. Driving though Jakarta on a motorbike is by far the best possibility to get to the desired destination as fast as possible. A motorbike is usually twice as fast as a car. An innovation like this was necessary and there could not be a better timing for introduction. The app is only available in Indonesia. What started with 3.000 drivers in 2015 cooporates more than 200.000 drivers nowadays.

Go-Jek aims to provide a win-win situation for the customers and its providers. Almost every family in Jakarta owns at least one motorbike, which made it easy to establish the application quickly.

How to order a Go-Jek?

The application is very easy to handle and it is very easy to order a driver.

1. Enter your pick-up and drop-off destination through GPS details. The driver comes to your entered pick-up destination and brings you to your desired destination.

2. Wait for about 2-4 seconds until a driver is found. The price is pre fixed by the application and is calculated through distance, demand and the actual traffic situation. During rain season, when the demand is high, prices increase to get more drivers on the streets.

3. Confirm your driver. It is possible to follow the driver on the application on a real-time map. The application informs you when the driver is about one minute away.

4. Wait until your driver arrives.

5. Enjoy the ride through the crowded streets of Jakarta and escape the traffic jam.

6. Last but not least, you need to pay the driver. The rides cost around 5,000-10,000 IDR (about 30 cents to 80 cents) by Go-Jek.

How Go-Jek raises living standards

The gap between rich and poor is huge in Indonesia. Even if you have a job, it is very common that people are not able to survive with just one salary, especially if you have a family and kids to feed. In addition, the working hours are not flexible and long.

Source: Julia Ursu

Source: Julia Ursu

As a GO-Jek driver you have very flexible time. Basically, you can start and finish working whenever you want, following the principle that you earn more, the more you drive.

An English teacher for example earns about 100,000 IDR (more or less 7Euros) a month, which is definitely not enough to survive.

As a Go-Jek driver you can earn about 150,000-250,000 IDR per day, which translates to about 4,500,000 to 7,500,000 IDR (more or less 500 Euros) per month. This is a very easy and common example on how Go-Jek made their employees ends meet. Even people with good perspectives in their job resign their job to become a Go-Jek driver due to higher salaries. This results in the numbers of Go-Jek drivers increasing continuously.

Other provided services by Go-Jek

The application is very helpful and makes lives easier and faster. Go-Jek not only raised the living standards of many people in Indonesia. It innovated the delivery service. Now it is possible to order and deliver almost everything by the new offered services like GO-SEND à Deliver or pick-up items, Go-Massage à ordering a massage, Go-Cleanà ordering a cleaning lady, Go-Glamà ordering a stylist, Go-Medà getting medicine picked up. Go-Jek tailored their start-up as well towards new target groups like seniors of example, to increase their market share.

What do you think? Could a business model like Go-Jek work as well in Germany? What would be the advantages? What would be the disadvantages?

Who wrote it?

Julia Ursu

Julia Ursu studies at the European Management School in Mainz.


Van Nguyen
22-03-2017 21:09

The Go-Jek business is nothing new but this idea is perfect tailored to the Indonesian market. It is perfect to get from A to B in such an environment. Beside the benefit of the transportation it gives locals the chance to earn more money. However I am not sure how safe this whole system is. Hopping on a bike and get to your destination instead of sitting inside a car, not really convinced of this. We all can aggree that this business model can only be applied to developing countries, since there is an existing demand and the circumstances allow that.

Sophia Pan
22-03-2017 21:07

As I have been around in Asia quite a lot it was very interesting for me to read your article about Go-Jek. I think it has indeed many advantages to offer and can be seen as a great innovation. I think it is quite comparable to concepts like Uber and actually the only real difference is the vehicle. I really like that you linked the innovation Go-Jek with the living standards in Indonesia and I can imagine that this is indeed the case. I think Go-Jek might work in many other markets in Asia as well. As for instance in Cambodia or Thailand. However, I do not think this concept could be applicable to a country like Germany! I think the main reason is the safety issue, as it plays a very important role for Germans. In addition, I also don't think that Go-Jek is actually needed in Germany! First of all, we don't have such a huge issue with traffic jams, as it is the case in cities like Jakarta. Furthermore there are many people who already have their own means of transportation and do not actually need a lift. When traveling somewhere in Germany usually you have many possibilities with busses, trains, etc. So that the actual need for Go-Jek is not really given.

Silas Nikolaus
22-03-2017 18:56

In my opinion the Go-Jek concept is very interesting especially in a city like Jakarta or other East Asian cities. The fact that you can order motor bike taxi services makes it a lot easier to get around through high traffic rather than taking a normal taxi or similar taxi services like Uber, that was mentioned in previous comments already. Getting around in a taxi in the East Asian region can be stressful and exhausting sometimes. The communication to the drivers can be difficult, the route is sometimes longer than expected and the prices might be higher as they are not always turning on the taximeter. To overcome these challenges I think Go-Jek is a good approach. It is easy to use and all details are clear in the beginning. Just by a few steps on your smartphone the driver will arrive and take you to the desired destination without bargaining or getting lost on the way. I agree that safety can be an issue when driving on a motorbike through the high traffic of Jakarta. But accidents can happen with every vehicle and are hard to avoid sometimes. However, I think that getting around with Go-Jek is one of the most convenient ways to get around, especially in cities like Jakarta.

Toni Dang
22-03-2017 17:40

A very interesting article but I think that Go-Jek should focus on the east asia region because the traffic condition is much more different than in our western standard. Also there are many competitors that provide the same service with a much better brand like Uber or Grabtaxi. I think they shouldn't work on expansion rather on better service concentrated on a certain region.

Thorben Theis
21-03-2017 20:31

I thing this is a great concept that fits just perfectly to the needs in Jakarta or other crowded Asian cities. Imagine all these people on motorbikes would be in cars instead - total mess. While there may be some other companies that have a similar concept, Go-Jek changed the life of many families what makes it a great innovation. The lack of public transportation vehicles combined with the availability of motorbikes is genius. In my opinion also the safety issue is quite small in the given market. In my experience all drivers are very careful and I never experienced a crash. Also the combination of the driver with a sort of delivery service is really great. It gives the driver the opportunity to cater more people and therefore make more profit. A great solution for everyone!

Franziska Blum
21-03-2017 14:17

The concept, Go-Jek has, is very good. It is tailored to the needs of the market they are in. Nevertheless, if I would be in the country, I would be concerned about the drivers. What if there is a driver that has linearly no experience but does the job due to the money he/she can make? Motorbikes are something different compared to cars if it comes to safety issues. A car still can "protect" you if a crash happens. On a motorbike, there is nothing around you. In Germany, I think it would not work because of the reasons mentioned by my colleagues before. But if there would be a solution for, e.g., the legal issues, then it would maybe also be interesting for customers in this country.

Letizia Credico
21-03-2017 13:01

How both my previous speakers have already mentioned, Go-Jek seems to follow the same approach as Uber. I think it is great that there exists a service offering application that helps people to "avoid" daily traffic jams. However, one has to consider legal frameworks if Go-Jek is to be introduced in Germany or in any other country. In the same way as with Uber, the start-up company would have to comply with legal conditions that exist in the respective territory. One must have in mind whether local services could be negatively affected if Go-Jek was introduced. Furthermore, the company has to clarify whether Go-Jeks drivers are covered by an insurance and if passengers receive a compensation in case of an accident. Uber, for example, claims that they are a only a platform that connects drivers with riders, and therefore do not provide a service which is why they do not bear full responsibility. Nevertheless, I think that Go-Jek will definitely be successful in Asian countries that are affected by huge traffic jams.

Theresa Möhn
21-03-2017 12:24

I really enjoyed reading your article about Go- Jek. It is very interesting to read about innovations that develop to be an immense success in some cultures, but could not be transferred into others. Like my colleagues I don't believe that Go-Jek would survive in the German market either. We simply don't have to deal with overcrowded streets and megalopolises. Quite the contrary: Our system relies on good infrastructure, public transport systems and especially high security measures. Furthermore Germany attaches great importance to labour protection and minimum wages. Therefore prices of taxi services cannot be minimized easily and motorcycles are not as common over here. Thinking about Go-Jeks other services like Go-Massage or Go-Cleana and the rising market of delivery in Germany I am starting to ask myself: Why should the company not be successful?

Patricia Hofmann
20-03-2017 14:38

Go-Jek reminds me of uber or easy taxi, where you can order private cars as a taxi service. But Go-Jek mainly offers motorbikes to get you through the traffic in Jakarta. The good thing i think is that nearly every family in south east asia owns a motorbike. So Go-Jek is an advantage for the families and the customers because they can get to their destination fast and easy. The application works like any other taxi application on the market and is not very innovative, which makes sense because the system is reliable and quick. What makes the app innovative and a great opportunity for many families is that everyone with a motorbike can use it and make a living out of it. The application itself is not very innovative but the idea behind it, to minimize the gap between rich and poor, is an innovative and good idea. Allthough it would not work in Germany because getting a legal permission for companies like Go-Jek or Uber is nealy impossible.

Katharina Blanckart
20-03-2017 12:04

A really interesting business idea even if it is not entirely new. The business model of Go-Jek seems to work pretty well in Indonesia and is definitely adjusted perfectly to the local conditions like demand, prices and driver availability. I really like how Go-Jek is creating new jobs and benefiting a great number of Indonesians and help them make a living by so easy means such as it does not require high education levels which would problematic for most people there. In general the concept reminds me a lot of the ridesharing giant Uber – ordering via App, GPS tracking and emerging ideas as food delivery. How Go-Jek would work in Germany? Probably not at all regarding the example of Uber. Since the German employee regulations are very strict on aspects as insurance, salary contracts and points like “Whose property is used?” a company like Go-Jek would have a hard time getting legal permissions to enter the market. Perhaps Germany is not just ready yet for riding motorcycles.



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