Sea adds mobility to Shopee app via Blue Bird taxi tie-up in Indonesia

blue bird taxi taksi
Tangerang, Indonesia - January 5, 2019: Blue Bird taxi lane at Summarecon Mall Serpong. Image by GeorginaCaptures | Bigstockphoto

Southeast Asian tech major Sea Ltd, the parent company of Shopee, has tied up with taxi company Blue Bird to launch a taxi ordering service in Indonesia.

The service – named Taksi – allows users to book a Blue Bird ride on the Shopee shopping app and pay for rides using ShopeePay.

The new taxi service is now part of Shopee’s transportation and accommodation category, alongside its existing hotel, plane, train, and bus booking services. While Taksi is initially available only in limited areas, Shopee is already offering several discounts and promotions for the service.

“This taxi ordering feature, which is part of Shopee’s digital products, will provide more convenience and comfort in users’ lives by utilizing one Shopee application for various needs,” Daniel Minardi, head of brand management and digital products at Shopee Indonesia, said.

Currently, Sea Ltd is competing with Grab and GoTo (which also owns GoJek) in Southeast Asia in a three-way race between super apps. While Grab and GoTo started out as ride-hailing apps before branching out into e-payment and consumer services, Sea Ltd has come from the opposite direction, and until now hasn’t had a ride-hailing service on its platform. The Blue Bird deal changes that. While the Taksi service isn’t exactly a ride-hailing service like what its main competitors in Indonesia offer, it could add fuel to the already intense competition between the three big players.

The Blue Bird Group is Indonesia’s largest taxi operator, with about a 43% share of the country’s taxi market. The company serves around 8.5 million passengers per month in 18 cities across Indonesia. Aside from its taxi service, the company also has car and bus rental businesses.

Earlier this year, Shopee and Blue Bird launched a logistics service called BirdKirim, where users can use Blue Bird drivers for courier deliveries. Using ShopeePay, customers can also book rides through the MyBlueBird app. 

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, will have a $16.8 billion digital transportation and food services market by 2025, an increase of 25% from 2021, according to research from Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company. Considering that online transportation is one of the most frequently used digital services in Indonesia, Sea Ltd’s mobility services could turn the company’s stock market fortunes around. Amid a downturn in tech stocks, the company’s share price has fallen by more than 40% since peaking in October.

While Blue Bird continues to struggle with a pandemic-induced slowdown, the company hopes its partnership with a reputable tech platform such as Shopee will boost profitability. The taxi company has been crippled by restrictions on the movement of people, which contributed to a net loss of 161 billion rupiah ($11.2 million) in 2020.

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