• Humanitarian Affairs Asia

How Grab is Becoming an Everyday, Everything App in Southeast Asia

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

The Uber (plus more) of Asia


Download Grab for your trip in SEA. You can create an account and download the app here, https://www.grab.com/th/. Best thing is, unlike Uber, you can pay with cash at the end of your ride and it’s a fixed price.


Like in any developed and developing nations, ride-hailing has become an everyday app in the SEA countries as well. The region’s online economy is driven heavily by a large, growing, and incredibly engaged internet user base. A 2018 report by Google and Temasek suggests the Southeast Asian internet economy has reached US$72 billion in (GMV). And, taking the lead position are online travel, e-commerce, online media, and ride hailing sectors, the same report suggests.


Fast Forward to 2019

Within a span of seven years, Grab has taken its mobile-based ride-hailing service to an exponential growth across eight countries in the SEA region. The big moment for Grab came last year when it acquired its rival Uber’s entire ride-hailing service in the region. So much so that Grab has now become a “decacorn” with a valuation of close to US$14 billion, after securing US$1.46 billion for its ongoing Series H round of funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund in March, this year.

With Grab, basically, one can swipe into its mobile-based application to hire anything that rides on wheels. It has introduced more than 10 on-demand ride-hailing services — including taxis, private cars, car-pooling, bicycle sharing, shuttle services, and bike taxis — with more than 2.8 million drivers processing over six million ride orders everyday. In fact, Grab is mulling into the mantra of providing everything in the consumer services sector, too.


Touted as the super app model, Grab has forayed into multiple consumer services sectors such as hotel booking service, on-demand video platform, ticket purchasing, food ordering, grocery shopping, besides offering financial services. The model is believed to have been first pioneered by Chinese multinational conglomerates, Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat. For now, Grab is among the front-line companies spearheading this model. It generated a revenue of more than US$1 billion in 2018, and hopes to double it in 2019. In January 2016, GrabTaxi was rebranded to Grab, with the cofounders maintaining that the change in name will reflect all the industries it operates with. Let’s look at these industries Tans have their eyes set upon.


Grab’s Fintech Offering

As part of its financial offering, Grab launched its QR-code based mobile payments service, GrabPay, in January 2016. The service is currently available in six Southeast asian nations: Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. This payment service, besides accepting payments for Grab rides, it can also be used while making in-store purchase, food delivery, and fund transfer.


Grab has also forayed into providing loans and insurance services as part of its “Grow with Grab’ roadmap” strategy. It currently provides loans to small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-insurance for drivers in Singapore. Grab claims to have built a merchant network comprising more than 600,000 merchants. The SEA insurance market is the six largest with a valuation of US$100 billion. GrabPay already allows consumers to pay online for making a purchase on e-commerce platforms such as Qoo10, 11Street, etc.


Finally, GrabPay has extended its financial services towards offering ‘Pay Later’, a post-paid and instalment payment service in Singapore. This service allows customers to pay for Grab services at the end of the month without bearing an additional cost!


Dine With Grab

Grab officially launched its food delivery business, GrabFood, in May 2018, as part of its strategy to become an everyday super app. The company aims to have taken a dominant position in Southeast Asia’s food delivery market, which it expects will grow over six times into a US$13 billion market by 2022. Tans were able to grow GrabFood exponentially after taking over UberEats’ Southeast Asia operations.

GrabFood is currently available across 200 cities in six major SEA countries — and uses GrabPay for checkout. Grab driver-partners are often seen doubling their earning by becoming GrabFood delivery-partners. One of the company’s top executives claim that GrabFood’s revenue has grown 45 times during the period between March 2018 and December 2018.


For the full article from ENTREPRENEUR South East Asia, click here.

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