'Adopt a unicorn': Indonesia eyes plan to help startups expand across southeast Asia
JAKARTA, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Indonesia wants southeast Asian nations to cooperate in helping startups in the region worth at least $1 billion expand outside their home countries, the communication minister said on Friday.
The effort aims to keep foreign startups from dominating a market of 640 million people by assisting the region's estimated seven to ten unicorns, or companies that have attained a valuation of $1 billion without tapping the stock markets.
"I've discussed this strategy with other ministers in Southeast Asia and have offered to everyone to adopt existing unicorns and have a presence in each other's countr ies," Minister of Communication Rudiantara said in an interview.
The suggestion drew a positive response from ministers from Thailand and Singapore, said Rudiantara, but did not mention whether funds would be allotted to the effort.
Rudiantara, who uses only one name, told Reuters he had spoken to his Philippine counterpart to offer help for the neighbouring nation's developer of prefabricated homes, Revolution Precrafted, to expand to Indonesia.
"I told them we need to build millions of houses in the country, why don't you come to Indonesia soon, I will facilitate," Rudiantara said.
He gave no details of the help offered, the response of the Philippine minister, or outline how the plan would work, however.
Revolution Precrafted did not immediately answer a request from Reuters to seek comment.
Indonesia has four unicorns: ride-hailing and online payment company Go-Jek, trave l site Traveloka, and market places Bukalapak and Tokopedia.
Rudiantara said he had lobbied his Thai and Vietnamese counterparts to help support the international expansion of Go-Jek, which is backed by Tencent Holdings and Alphabet Inc'sGoogle.
Go-Jek launched in Vietnam on August 1 under the name Go-Viet and is expected to launch in Thailand in the fall. The company had said it would also expand to Singapore and the Philippines.
Asked about Singaporea's response to negotiating for the expansion of Go-Jek, however, he said, "Go-Jek is not as applicable in Singapore, it's a small market."
A spokesman for Go-Jek declined to comment.
Malaysia's ride-hailing platform Grab and Singapore-based e-commerce company Lazada are among the other Southeast Asian unicorns.
This article appears in: Stocks , PoliticsSource: Google News Indonesia | Netizen 24 Indonesia