Go-Jek and ComfortDelGro in talks over a tie-up: Sources

Indonesian ride-hailing app provider Go-Jek is in talks with Singapore taxi giant ComfortDelGro Corp to explore a tie-up.

The Straits Times understands that representatives from the two companies have held preliminary discussions.

ComfortDelGro's agreement with Uber to acquire a majority stake in Lion City Rentals' - a private-hire fleet operator here owned by Uber - is in limbo after Uber sold its regional businesses to rival Grab and pulled out of South-east Asia.

The deal will lapse if it is not completed by September, which is now likely.

Instead, the taxi group will buy its own cars - including vehicles that Lion City Rentals will have to dispose of - from the open market, and it could run the fleet with Go-Jek's app.

"It has to start a private-hire business," a source said.

ComfortDelGro has been looking to find its place.

The listed group's cab fleet has shrunk by more than 20 per cent to 12,700 since the arrival of Uber and Grab in 2013.

Go-Jek, which has set up an office in Singapore, wants to expand its ride-hailing business into at least three regional markets outside Indonesia.

Observers are certain that it will start a ride-hailing business here in the next few months.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng said Go-Jek needs a strong local partner and "ComfortDelGro can play this role nicely".

Nanyang Business School adjunct associate professor Zafar Momin said a tie-up would allow Go-Jek to battle Grab outside Indonesia and give ComfortDelGro an alternative choice to Grab.