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SE Asia's biggest travel app Traveloka eyes dual listing, bets on fintech

But economic uncertainties may push back its IPO plans

Jakarta

TRAVELOKA, South-east Asia's largest online travel startup, is looking to financial services to boost profits and could opt for a dual listing in Indonesia and another centre if the group launches an initial public offering (IPO), its president has said.

The seven-year-old startup joins other prominent local unicorns such as ride-hailing firm Gojek and e-commerce firm Tokopedia in considering dual listings to stay closer to their home market, while also tapping a diverse investor pool.

Traveloka Group president Henry Hendrawan declined to comment on its valuation or timing of any potential IPO, but said it would consider a dual listing at home and in another centre such as the United States.

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"Listing in the US will have its benefits but we want to have the option to have some sort of local listing so perhaps dual listing will be a good structure," he said in an interview.

Traveloka, backed by US travel giant Expedia, Chinese online retailer JD.com and Singapore state wealth fund GIC, claims to have 35 million active users in seven countries and has raised over US$900 million.

It has eyed a listing as recently as early this year, and had been in touch with technology bankers, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Its IPO plans appear to have been pushed back due to a slowing global economy and poor performance of newly listed firms such as Uber Technologies and a steep markdown in valuations of US office-space sharing firm WeWork.

It has chosen instead to focus on fundraising and was in talks with investors to raise US$500 million earlier this year, one source said.

Those talks put Traveloka's valuation at US$4.5 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported in July.

"We are always in conversation with potential partners... We are looking for potential partners that can take our capability to the next level," said Mr Hendrawan.

Originally focused on ticketing and hotel booking, Traveloka has moved into financial services. It has launched a credit card in South-east Asia's largest economy with Bank Rakyat Indonesia .

"Financial services overall started from almost zero early last year and we expect that it's going to be a US$1 billion business easily next year."

Mr Hendrawan, a former management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, said Traveloka was targeting "under-banked" Indonesian customers with its PayLater product, which provides consumer loans to customers so they can pay for services.

Digital financial services in South-east Asia are estimated to generate annual revenue of about US$38 billion by 2025, up sharply from US$11 billion this year, said a report by consultants Bain & Co, Google and Temasek this week.

Traveloka is also focusing increasingly on travel and lifestyle "experiences" to grow its margins, taking on US rental company Airbnb and SoftBank-backed Hong Kong startup Klook.

Traveloka launched its Xperience brand in July, proposing 15,000 activities and services, in a bid to become closer to a travel and lifestyle platform. REUTERS