Southeast Asia is one of the most unique regions in the world, spanning 10 countries and a population of over 660 million people. Widely regarded as a developing region with immense growth potential due to its large population and low levels of digital and financial inclusion, Southeast Asia is ripe for tech disruption.
Gojek, an on-demand, multi-service platform operating in Southeast Asia, has been designed specifically to meet the needs of people here and address the region’s challenges. With its wide range of services – from transportation to food delivery, logistics and more – the Gojek app has become an essential part of people’s everyday lives. Headquartered in Indonesia with additional operations in Vietnam and Singapore, the Gojek platform now has over 2.5 million driver partners and more than 1 million food merchants across Southeast Asia, serving millions of consumers daily.
In Vietnam, Gojek has made significant progress and impact since its entry into the market in 2018. It now offers four services in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi – GoRide (two-wheel ride-hailing), GoCar (car ride-hailing), GoFood (online food delivery), and GoSend (package delivery) – all of which help to make life easier for consumers while improving income opportunities for its driver partners and small restaurants and eateries. Managed by a team of local, entrepreneurial Vietnamese, Gojek Vietnam’s network has grown to comprise more than 200,000 driver partners, tens of thousands of merchants and millions of users.
With a relentless community-oriented spirit, the company is also consistently introducing new social impact-focused initiatives to enable growth for everyone. This commitment has become more important than ever during COVID-19, with the pandemic having impacted the lives of many people in Vietnam, especially those most vulnerable.
‘Everything can change, but our business’ commitment will always stay the same’
Despite going through four waves of COVID-19 over the past two years, Gojek Vietnam has grown its business and managed to build resilience for its ecosystem of driver partners, merchants and consumers – a testament to the successful leadership and direction of its General Manager Duc Phung.
In 2021, Gojek Vietnam had planned to launch key products as part of its growth strategy for the year, including GoCar, its 4-wheel ride-hailing service. However, when the fourth wave of COVID-19 struck Vietnam in the middle of last year and social distancing measures were implemented, all plans had to be deferred.
In August 2021, however, Gojek realised there was an unmet need for the transportation of frontline healthcare workers in HCMC amid the lockdown and enhanced mobility restrictions.
Realising it was a good opportunity for the company to contribute to the fight against the pandemic, the Gojek team moved quickly to launch the GoCar service. This included preparing accommodation for driver-partners and giving them additional training in health and safety protocols, as well as installing protective equipment in cars.
In just two weeks, GoCar was launched, helping to transport frontline healthcare workers for free between COVID-19 intensive care units and their accommodation. With health and safety a priority, Gojek also decided to provide healthcare workers with complimentary access to GoCar Protect, GoCar’s premium service, which includes enhanced safety and hygiene features, for greater protection of users. The service has since been rolled out to consumers in Hanoi and HCMC.
Duc Phung, General Manager of Gojek Vietnam said, “At Gojek, we always say to each other, ‘Everything can change, but our business’ commitment will always stay the same.’ Our focus from day one has been to create positive social impact through our operations, and this commitment will always remain at the centre of everything we do.”
Helping driver-partners stay resilient
Amidst the escalating COVID-19 situation in Vietnam, vaccinations became one of critical requirements for people to be able to live and work safely. To ensure that its driver partners could continue to serve the community safely, Gojek Vietnam worked closely with the authorities to ensure that driver partners had access to vaccinations. In total, thousands of Gojek’s driver-partners in HCMC and Hanoi were listed and registered for vaccinations by Gojek, ensuring they could get vaccinated and continue working safely.
Gojek also rolled out a relief package worth VND 4.15 billion for its driver-partners in Vietnam when COVID-19 escalated to help them cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic. This was the first and largest cash assistance program in the local ride-hailing service market during COVID-19, and was aimed at supplementing the income of Gojek’s driver-partners amid the lockdown in Vietnam.
“The livelihoods of our driver-partners depend very much on their mobility on the streets. The heightened impact of the pandemic, with both Hanoi and HCMC under a strict lockdown, meant that many of them were finding it more difficult to make ends meet. The cash support was aimed at making our driver partners’ life easier and supporting them and their families through one of the most challenging periods,” said Duc Phung.
To help as many driver-partners as possible to be on the roads after social distancing measures were eased in HCMC in September, Gojek distributed rapid test kits to tens of thousands of its driver-partners at 36 locations. This also helped to ensure that there were no large gatherings at COVID-19 testing sites, and saved driver-partners a significant amount of time, which in turn enabled them to fulfil more orders in a day.
While the pandemic has gradually eased, Gojek is continuing to explore new initiatives to create optimal conditions for its driver partners to serve local residents.
Providing support for eateries and restaurants
With the pandemic significantly impacting livelihoods last year, Gojek Vietnam also moved quickly to ensure it could support its ecosystem and the wider community. One of its key initiatives was the second phase of the “So no one is left behind” program, in collaboration with the HCMC Women’s Cultural House and CafeTek, a production of HCM City Television (HTV).
As part of the initiative, Gojek provided vocational training to family members of Gojek driver partners and helped them to set up online businesses. The aim was to create new income-earning opportunities for more people, improve their livelihoods and reduce barriers to socio-economic growth. Training courses focused on basic entrepreneurial skills for food and beverage businesses.
After completing the training, participants could choose to start their own online food and beverage business on Gojek’s GoFood platform in Vietnam with the firm’s support. This included assistance with the onboarding process and marketing campaigns, which enabled them to tap into the millions of consumers transacting on Gojek, as well as a sponsorship of VND 2 million to purchase basic restaurant supplies.
This second phase built on the success of the program in 2020, which helped many small and micro merchants, significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, shift their businesses online and begin offering food delivery on GoFood. This helped them to stay resilient and maintain a stable income even during the pandemic.
“Gojek’s digital ecosystem is built to support individuals and entrepreneurs, helping them to thrive in all circumstances, so giving assistance to our merchant partners and micro, small and medium-sized businesses has always been one of our key priorities,” said Duc Phung.
“By helping individuals do business and join the digital economy, we aim to provide them with more opportunities to boost their income and improve their livelihoods. As we empower them, we are in turn contributing to Vietnam’s socio-economic growth,” he added.
Phan Thi Bich Huong, Director of the HCMC Women’s Cultural House, said: “The “So no one is left behind” initiative is a comprehensive program that supports micro-entrepreneurs by helping them to start their own businesses with ease. This is aligned to our mission to promote and enhance individuals’ capabilities in a digital-first world and create favourable conditions for all people, particularly women, to improve their livelihoods.”
To help its existing merchants, Gojek also launched the “Freeship Zone” campaign in June to offer free delivery of food orders in select areas. As these “Freeship zones” cover densely populated areas with many eateries and restaurants, the campaign was aimed at removing consumers’ hesitation in placing multiple orders. This helped to stimulate consumer demand, bringing about additional income earning opportunities for Gojek merchants.
Meeting consumer needs
With millions of people from all walks of life relying on the Gojek platform daily, Gojek was determined to continue helping consumers to meet their daily needs. It kept delivery service charges unchanged during the pandemic, ensuring that its parcel delivery and online food delivery services remained affordable and accessible for consumers.
To make it easier for residents to get to vaccination sites and help speed up the city’s vaccination process, Gojek also offered free rides to and from vaccination sites in HCMC in June 2021. With the free rides, transportation barriers to vaccine access were effectively removed, ensuring people in HCMC could get to their vaccination sites safely and conveniently.
Gojek Vietnam is continuing to strengthen its community-oriented spirit, aligning its goals to community development to fuel long-term sustainable business growth. As such, it is constantly looking at ways to better support all its stakeholders, from driver-partners, restaurants and eateries, to consumers and frontline workers, among others.