Saudi pharmaceutical industry to grow 10 percent in 2014

Updated 06 January 2014
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Saudi pharmaceutical industry to grow 10 percent in 2014

The pharmaceutical sector is predicted to grow by 10 percent and 9 percent in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC states respectively, local media said quoting experts.
The pharmaceutical market in the Kingdom is promising in terms of the number of factories, which stands at 13, or the volume of investments in the sector, Wail Al-Qasim, head of drug firms committee at Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), said.
The Kingdom is considered the major pharmaceuticals business player in the GCC, which was demonstrated in the government’s concern over the medical sector in general where some SR108 billion ($28.8 billion) was allocated in the budget for the sector, he was quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat daily as saying.
A recently-released report, meanwhile, said the GCC countries have captured 89 percent of the total medicine sales in the Middle East.
The report, released by British Deloitte firm, referred to the positive trends in the GCC region, including continued improvement in health care, governmental spending in technology and health education, establishment of a number of medical centers and strong growth of medical tourism.
However, certain factors remain, which will impede the growth of medicine sector in the region such as instability and upheavals prevailing in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the report said.
According to the report, the pharmaceutical firms in the region are experiencing pressures to repay debts due to rising costs and complexity in the global health system. The drug industry is primarily concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt and, to a lesser degree, in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, the report said.
The pharmaceutical sector, especially bio-technology and medical technology in the MENA region are expected to face two key challenges in the current year - firstly, product registration and pricing and, secondly, protection of intellectual property, the report said.
The two issues together with the turmoil will adversely affect enthusiasm of global drug manufacturers in their endeavors to conduct research in the Middle East region, the report said.
The GCC countries have been supportive to the growth of medical sector due to the importance of their economic activity in the MENA region and the increased growth of their population, Hasib Jabir of Deloitte firm was quoted as saying.
Patent-registered drugs represent 90 percent of the total sales based on prescriptions in the MENA region; however, the major challenge in this context lies in the timely registration and approval of new products, the report added.


Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

Updated 18 August 2018
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Indonesia’s Go-Jek close to profits in all segments

  • Go-Jek is Indonesia's first billio-dollar startup
  • Ride haling app evolves into online payment platform

JAKARTA: Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup, is “extremely close” to achieving profitability in all its segments, except transportation, its founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim told Reuters.

Launched in 2011 in Jakarta, Go-Jek — a play on the local word for motorbike taxis — has evolved from a ride-hailing service to a one-stop app allowing clients in Southeast Asia’s largest economy to make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages.

“We’re seeing enormous online to offline traction for all of our businesses and are close to being profitable, outside of transportation,” said the 34-year old CEO.
The startup is expected to be fully profitable “probably” within the next few years, Makarim added.

Already a market leader in Indonesia, where it processes more than 100 million transactions for its 20-25 million monthly users, Go-Jek is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia.

Ride hailing services in Southeast Asia are expected to surge to $20.1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Go-Jek said in May it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, after Uber struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab — the bigger player in the region.

Go-Jek is seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion, Makarim said.

“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Makarim said. The firm this week opened recruitment for motorcycle drivers in Thailand.

The startup expects anti-monopoly concerns swirling around the Grab-Uber deal, which Singapore said had substantially hurt competition, to help clear a path for its expansion.

“We’re bringing back choice. The Singapore government is particularly eager to bring back competition,” Makarim said, adding that the order of overseas rollouts had not been set.

Go-Jek’s offshore push comes at a time when Singapore-based Grab is stepping up funding to expand in Indonesia and transform itself into a consumer technology company, starting with a partnership with online grocer HappyFresh.

“Mimicking Go-Jek’s strategy is the highest form of flattery,” laughed Makarim.

Grab told Reuters in a statement, “The super app strategy has been around for a while now and no Southeast Asian player can claim to have pioneered it.” The company also said Grab has not lost market share in Ho Chi Minh since August, but declined to provide market share data.

Makarim believes Go-Jek’s understanding of food merchants will give it an edge over Grab, which counts investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. among its backers.

Makarim, who sees food delivery as Go-Jek’s core business, said he was not concerned about funding, without giving details.

Go-Jek was reported in June as being in talks to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round and was valued at about $5 billion in a prior fundraising, sources have told Reuters. The firm had said in March it was considering a domestic IPO.

Makarim noted Go-Jek’s backers were sharing both capital and expertise. The company is collaborating with Alphabet Inc’s Google on platform mobility, Tencent on payments strategy, JD.com on logistics operations, and Meituan Dianping on merchant transactions and deliveries.

Go-Jek has set up a venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, to invest in startups in Southeast Asia “with strategic importance to our business,” the CEO said.