Gojek near to buying mobile payment start-up Moka for $163m

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Indonesia's ride-hailing giant Gojek is close to acquiring a mobile point-of-sale start-up called Moka for at least US$120 million (S$163 million), as it aims to become a leading player in the country's digital payments industry, according to people familiar with the talks.

Jakarta-based Moka helps owners of restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets manage payments. The Moka app, which can be downloaded to a tablet or smartphone, lets merchants accept debit and credit cards or mobile payments like Alipay. It also provides analytics to help track sales and inventory, run loyalty programmes and manage employees.

A Gojek representative declined to comment, while a Moka official didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Gojek is Indonesia's most valuable start-up at US$10 billion, competing more broadly in South-east Asia with Singapore's Grab. Gojek co-founder and chief executive officer Nadiem Makarim stepped down in October to join the Indonesian president's Cabinet, while Andre Soelistyo and Kevin Aluwi took over the company as co-CEOs.

Gojek and Moka held discussions earlier this year before Makarim's departure, but the two sides only recently were able to reach a fundamental agreement.

Gojek has turned to acquisitions in recent years to expand its businesses and build stronger management. Aldi Haryopratomo became chief executive officer of GoPay, Gojek's in-app digital payments service, after the company acquired Mapan, an Indonesian group-saving network he had co-founded.

GoPay is accepted as a payment method by more than 420,000 online and offline merchants across 370 cities in Indonesia, 90 per cent of which are micro, small or medium-sized businesses.