JAKARTA, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Traveloka, Southeast 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 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 seeking 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.
"Listing in the U.S. 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 U.S travel giant Expedia, Chinese online retailer JD.Com and Singapore state wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd, claims 35 million active users in seven countries and has raised over $900 million.
Traveloka has eyed a listing as recently as early 2019 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 U.S. office-space sharing firm WeWork.
It has chosen instead to focus on fundraising and was in talks with investors to raise $500 million earlier this year, one source said.
Those talks put Traveloka's valuation at $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 Hendrawan.
Originally focused on ticketing and hotel booking, Traveloka has moved into financial services. It has launched a credit card in Southeast 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 $1 billion business easily next year," Hendrawan said in an interview.
Hendrawan, a former management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, said it was targeting "under-banked" Indonesian customers with its PayLater product, which provides consumer loans to customers to help them pay for services.
Digital financial services in Southeast Asia are estimated to generate annual revenue of about $38 billion by 2025, up sharply from $11 billion in 2019, according to 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 U.S. 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. (Additional reporting by Fanny Potkin in Jakarta and Kane Wu in Hong Kong; editing by Miyoung Kim and Jason Neely)