The Tale of Gojek and Bluebird Cooperation; Who’s Winning?

It has been more than 1 year since Go-jek and Bluebird announced their partnership and began some sort of truce in the transportation industry. But who’s winning, is it Go-jek or Bluebird?



Bluebird has long been one of the most successful taxi services in Indonesia, founded in 2001 they thrived in several cities in Indonesia. With more than 23000 cars in their arsenal, their power over the consumers seems indisputable. There’s a good old day whenever you want to commute safely and at a reasonable price then there’s only one option in mind (especially when you’re living in a big city). And at that market, Bluebird dominate.

But that’s an old story, just before Gojek come and kickstart the ride-sharing business in Indonesia. They’re amassing lots of fame and grew almost overnight. In such a short period of time, they’re now the largest transportation provider and soon will be facing several opponents namely big taxi companies and local ojek which feel threatened by their presence in the market. As a young company in this high growth business where the growth is the only important measurement for investors, you don’t want to mess with several big players at the same time and having your growth hampered as a result of your ego to confront them directly. And Gojek did just that, avoiding the competition until they’re big enough to smash them. They’re amassing power at an unprecedented rate.

It has been more than 1 year since Go-jek and Bluebird announced their partnership and began some sort of truce in the transportation industry. But who’s winning, is it Go-jek or Bluebird? In order to be able to understand this phenomenon there’s a couple of things we need to be clear about; Firstly, Let’s dive deeper into Bluebird’s point of view; partnering with Gojek seems like a good deal; they’re getting the network while maintaining their profits margin. But the questions would be is it good for the long-term development of this already mature company?

In my opinion, Bluebird did everything in a rush. Just because new ways emerge to utilize the technology, doesn’t mean that Bluebird needs to hop on the bandwagon right away. BlueBird stock price (BIRD) closed down 40 points (0.98 percent) at Rp 4.030 per share in 3rd of March 2017. BIRD stock price is quite low compared to 2016 performance which hangs around of Rp 6,400 per share. Meanwhile, in 2015, BIRD’s share price is still Rp9,850 per share. To put it in perspective, when they’re making an agreement with Gojek in 2017 their stock value has lost approximately 50% since 2015. The board of Bluebird hasn’t found a way to compete with Gojek without lowering their margins, and lowering their margins seemingly impossible for the company that has enjoyed lots of revenues from their business over the last decade. My opinion would be that the board of directors are all has cloudy minds when it comes to the best decisions for the company in the long run.

Fast-forward 7 years since it was founded, Go-jek in early 2017 has been one of the fastest growing start-ups, but there’s one problem, Gojek still lacks the trustworthiness in the society, partly due to the loose backgrounds check implemented by the company compared to other conventional company that has all sort of regulations when it comes to driver backgrounds check that ensures the safety of their consumers. Having been able to partner with Bluebird is an absolute win for Go-jek, it boosts their credibility amongst the market. Bluebird is one of the most trusted transportation services in the country, Bluebird’s credibility directly helping Go-jek to achieve the level of credibility needed to maintain and even enhance the market trust. Bluebird essentially gave the legitimacy to Gojek.

Gojek got all of the advantages here; in order to lobby the government regulations when it comes to transportation, they need to picture themselves as the “good guy” that do good things to the public. And now it’s harder for regulators to crack down on this company since they’re backed by the society who wants their services, not to mention now they’re partnering with one of the biggest and trusted taxi services in Indonesia. The more dependent public to Gojek the harder for the government to crack down on the company. The second advantage, by partnering with bluebird they’re willing to take an extra mile and broadening their market. In order to achieve the desired growth, Gojek needs to expand their market cap. And in this case, to people who put their trust in a conventional taxis.

And the last, Gojek is winning because now they’re able to crawl their competitors’ data. By allowing Gojek to use the Bluebird’s arsenal to expand their growth in the transportation business, essentially Bluebird is giving away their consumers’ big data to Gojek which in turn could be used as the perfect tool to eliminate Bluebird. Even when Bluebird has its own app, it doesn’t seem like they’re putting an effort to win the market. And that’s how you lose the competition in this fully digitalized era. In order to stay competitive, you need to be able to tackle your opponent toe-to-toe and not letting them steal away your consumer’s data.

Remember Facebook case when they used to talks about how much the publisher means to the social media ecosystem and how the publishers need to hop in the boat in order for them to survive in this digitalized world? And Facebook then ended up utilizing all of the content the publishers provided for their own benefit, and in their latest algorithms announcement where they essentially ripping off publishers and publishers could do nothing about it. But hey, now they’re really depending on Facebook for their traffic and awareness, they’ve got nowhere to go. Facebook is deeply intertwined with the publisher.

And in 2018 Gojek got all of the credibility and consumers’ data in their arsenal.
I don’t need to tell you who’s winning at first and who’s laughing at last, do I?

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The Tale of Gojek and Bluebird Cooperation; Who’s Winning?
It has been more than 1 year since Go-jek and Bluebird announced their partnership and began some sort of truce in the transportation industry. But who’s winning, is it Go-jek or Bluebird?
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