Grab wrapped up the first month of 2019 with announcements of two milestones for the company. On January 20th, the Singapore-based ride-hailing service provider marked its 3 billionth ride. Eight days later, Grab launched its seventh research and development centre, located in Kuala Lumpur.
Grab has made leaps and bounds after the company acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operation last year. It has diversified its services too—aside from ride-hailing, the company now offers a variety of services, including bike-sharing, a mobile wallet, food and grocery delivery, insurance, and is also a logistics provider. Grab’s plan is to build an “everyday super app”, which will also allow users to make hotel bookings, seek healthcare options, and more.
Its latest move is to offer entertainment by integrating HOOQ, a Singaporean video-on-demand service provider. Those who sign up can now watch local series and dramas through Grab’s app. Grab’s objective is to keep users engaged with its app even when they aren’t seeking transportation.
Though a cluster of small-scale ride-hailing companies have cropped up in various Southeast Asian countries after Uber’s exit, Grab’s biggest competitor in the region is Go-Jek, which has also expanded its services into verticals other than transportation. Some of Grab’s strong competitors in other markets include Food Panda in food delivery; WeChat Pay in mobile payments; and DHL in courier service.
Despite occasional legal entanglements and regulatory hurdles, Grab is still making strides in expanding to new locations within Southeast Asia, fueled by a fundraising spree and a tech workforce that doubled in 2018.
Grab and Go-Jek are locking horns in more ways than one. Aside from trying to undercut each other in prices for ride-hailing services, the two companies are both aiming to retain existing users and woo new ones by making their respective apps indispensable in daily life. The race is on to build Southeast Asia’s first homegrown super app.
Editor: Brady Ng