Singapore’s super-app Grab eats up Uber to dominate market

The e-hailing and delivery company also offers financial services via its app.

Cars travel on a highway.
Grab introduced electric taxis to Singapore to form the biggest e-taxi fleet in South-east Asia. Picture: Marcel Gnauk from Pixabay

CAPE TOWN, May 04 (ANA) – Since its launch in 2012, e-hailing and delivery company Grab has continuously grown and innovated to become one of the most dominant super-apps in Asia.

The co-founder of the Singapore-based company, Anthony Tan, said in an interview with the BBC that the idea of an online taxi-booking service came while studying at Harvard Business School.

The service was initially launched as MyTeksi in Malaysia with fellow Harvard graduate Tan Hooi Ling, with the aim to provide safer and more convenient taxi rides for Malaysians.

The following year they expanded to the Philippines, followed by Singapore and Thailand before introducing electric taxis in Singapore to form the biggest e-taxi fleet in South-east Asia.

The company continued to expand and innovate by later offering food delivery and digital payments services through their mobile app. And, in March 2018, Grab acquired its South-east Asia business rival, Uber, which included Uber Eats.

“The deal allows us to not just be recognised as clearly the leader in transportation, but how do we think about being that everyday service app for our everyday customers throughout the region,” said Tan.

A company that not only looks to provide an affordable and convenient service to its customers, Grab looked at how they could assist their drivers as many did not have bank accounts to get paid and some needed to take out loans for their cars.

They further opened up their financial services to the rest of the Grab community, enabling Bangkok local Natthakan Khingpat, who was unable to borrow money from a traditional bank, to open up a restaurant.

“If I were to pay for the high monthly interest rates, I (don’t) think I could survive,” Khingpat told the BBC.

“I could go into the app and look at how much per day I had to pay back. I thought I would be able to pull it off…. It felt almost like I wasn’t taking out a loan,” he said.

Grab’s financial services available on the app now include loans, insurance and investment options, with their vision to transform the company into a virtual bank for South-east Asia’s 600 million population.

TechCrunch, a US-based digital publication, reported that Grab intends to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger to be listed on the Nasdaq.

Grab has raised more US$10 billion, with the SPAC deal reported to be US$40 billion in what could be the world’s largest SPAC merger.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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