As part of its new approach to Asia, Uber has announced a first president for its business in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, and the world’s fourth most populous country.
Monika Rudijono will take up the role in January, joining from advertising and marketing firm Grey where she had been president director. She’ll report directly to Brooks Entwistle, who joined Uber in August to lead its Asia Pacific business minus India.
Uber previously opted for a presidential management structure in India, which is run separate to the rest of its Asian operations.
Indonesia is an interesting market for Uber for a number of reasons.
A report from Google and Temasek estimates that Indonesia will account for more than 40 percent of Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing industry, which is forecast to jump to $20 billion in 2025 from $5.1 billion this year.
But Uber is very much the also-ran in the country as not one but two players are ahead of it. Both Grab, Uber’s main rival across Southeast Asia, and Go-Jek, the local rival valued at more than $1 billion, are widely believed to the dominant forces in the country. Uber will hope that giving Indonesia its own high-level lead can help close on that gap.
“Ridesharing is changing the way Indonesian cities move, and bringing economic opportunities to millions,” Rudijono said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to be part of this movement, and lead the next transformative chapter of Uber’s growth story in a country I am proud to call home.”
This appointment follows the creation of a joint venture in Singapore between Uber and the country’s largest taxi operator which could close the gap on Grab. While last month, the U.S. firm inked its first mobile wallet deal in Southeast Asia via an alliance with Vietnam-based digital payments startup Momo.
These collaborations are symbolic of a new push under Entwistle to work with taxi firms, governments and others who would previously have been considered foes not friends. Uber has finally realized it needs to be more pragmatic to compete with Grab and Go-Jek.