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  • Writer's pictureRida Qadri

Exploring the Mobility and Gig Economy in Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest market in Southeast Asia and one of the most dynamic digital economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Ojo (motorbike taxi) is considered to be a cultural symbol and key mobility artery to many Indonesians. Today, platforms Go Jek and Grab, global Decacorns each valued over 10 US$ billion, have built an entire platform economy with a suite of on-demand mobility, delivery, e-commerce, and payment services around the Ojo. While these platforms change urban life in Jakarta they are also being changed by it. In Indonesia, local context and urban culture challenge western narratives and best practises of how platforms function and design their services. Case studies and observations from Jakarta are extremely relevant toward understanding the mobility platform economy today and how it may evolve in the future. In Indonesia and around the world.

In our Platform Futures series we speak to academics and experts to explore the potential and the risks of technology platforms in the Asia-Pacific region, especially the frictions that emerge in societies over-dependent on platforms.

In this module we speak to Rida Qadri, a PhD Candidate in Urban Information Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2019-20, Rida made multiple visits to Jakarta where she spent time exploring the local gig economy, speaking to Go Jek and Grab drivers, collecting data, and learning first hand how the mobility and delivery economy is developing in Jakarta. Rida’s interests lie in empirically studying emerging technologies within non-western spaces, focusing on users traditionally rendered invisible in technological design. You can follow her on Twitter @qadrida.

We cover the following topics. You may choose to watch them in the sequence presented or jump straight to any chapter that interests you.

  • Introduction to the key platforms in Indonesia

  • Spending a day on a super app in Jakarta

  • Go-Jek vs Grab

  • Offline matching: A case study on how local context shapes global platforms

  • The frictions of algorithmic matching

  • Platformising driver knowledge and networks

  • The relationship between gig workers and the platform

  • Go Jek’s “special” relationship with the Indonesian State

  • The Emerging regulatory landscape for mobility and delivery apps in Indonesia


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