No More Uber in Southeast Asia from 8 April Onwards

Grab announced yesterday that it has acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian business, which for Uber users in the region mean that they will no longer be able to use the Uber app from 8 April onwards. The countries, specifically, are Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. Both Uber’s ridesharing and food delivery services will be integrated into Grab’s platform.

Since yesterday, users of Grab and Uber (and this writer uses both) have been receiving emails notifying them about the transition.

A less chipper one from Uber:

The news comes as no surprise. Uber lost more than US$1 billion each quarter of 2017, and that’s after it retreated from China in 2016, where it was also hemorrhaging money, by selling its business there to market leader, Didi. The sale was for an undisclosed amount but gave Uber a 27.5% stake in Grab and Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, a seat on Grab’s Board of Directors. The biggest shareholder in both companies is Softbank, who must have played an important role in getting these two rivals to now become bedfellows.

Besides human- and food- delivery, Grab has also branched into financial services that include GrabPay, a mobile payment (think Alipay) that will be made available in the SEA region by year-end.

So, does this mean that Grab will become a dominant player in Southeast Asia? Possibly. But it still faces fierce rivalry in certain markets, such as the Google-backed motorbike-hailing company, Go-Jek, in Indonesia, which has announced expansion beyond its home country, starting with the Philippines this year.

One rival down, many more to go…

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