Indonesia's GoJek latest app to cut jobs as virus takes toll

GoJek offers a wide range of services, including deliveries and financial services

Indonesian app giant GoJek said it will cut hundreds of jobs and ditch at-home massage and cleaning services as the global pandemic slashes demand for face-to-face businesses, after Singapore-based rival Grab also announced layoffs.

Starting as a ride-hailing service in 2010, GoJek launched an app five years later with a wide range of offerings, including deliveries, takeaway food and financial services, that could be ordered via smartphone.

The company attracted investments from tech giants including Google, Facebook and Tencent.

But on Tuesday it said it would cut 430 posts -- or about nine percent of its full-time staff -- as it cancels massage, house cleaning and GoFood Festivals, which supplies vending space for food sellers.

"These businesses are dependent on close human interaction, and have seen a significant downturn over the past few months as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumer habits," the firm said in a statement.

"These will be the only COVID-19-related layoffs," it added.

However, GoJek said its logistics and grocery delivery businesses had surged since the pandemic hit.

The firm -- which claims some 170 million users in Indonesia and has expanded to other Southeast Asian markets -- employs freelancers for many of its services, including ride-hailing drivers.

It did not respond to requests for comment on how many of its freelance staff would be affected by the cuts.

Last week, rival Grab announced that it would dismiss 360 employers, or about five percent of its full-time workforce.

In May, US-based ridesharing giant Uber said it was slashing a quarter of its global workforce -- about 3,000 employees -- and trimming investment to survive the financial hit to its business from the disease crisis.

GoJek offers a wide range of services, including deliveries and financial services