THE Philippines on Wednesday rejected an application from Indonesian-based ride-hailing startup Go-Jek to launch its service in the country due to foreign ownership issues, a government official said.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) move puts a wrench in the company’s plan to corner a bigger share of the Southeast Asias ride-hailing market, currently dominated by rival Singapore-based Grab, according to Reuters.
LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra said the petition of Go-Jek’s subsidiary, Velox Technology Philippines Inc. was denied for not meeting “the citizenship requirement” while the application was “not verified in accordance with our rules.”
“If they want to appeal. That is their option,” Delgra said.
The official added that Grab remained the largest ride-hailing firm in the country.
According to the LTFRB, Go-Jek fully owns Velox while grab complies with foreign ownership limits through its local unit MyTaxi.PH Inc.
A spokesman for Go-Jek said the company continues “to engage positively with the LTFRB and other government agencies, as we seek to provide a much-needed transport solution for the people of the Philippines”.
Go-jek counts Internet giants Tencent Holdings Ltd and JD.com Inc as among its investors.
The company, which has been operating in Jakarta since 2011 has expanded from offering a ride-hailing service to serving as an online payment terminal for everything from food, groceries to massages, according to Reuters.