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Kardi is competing against Grab and Go-Jek for the Singapore ride-hailing market. WIll it survive? Source: ShutterStock

SG has a new ride-hailing startup. Will it survive?

EVER since Uber got ousted from Southeast Asia, smaller ride-hailing companies are looking to cater to the customers who’re looking for new options.

One of them is newly launched Kardi, and it’s coming for Grab right in its home turf – Singapore.

Kardi’s modus operandi brings a bit more emotion and care into ride-hailing, something sorely lacking amongst bigger operators like Grab and GoJek.

It’s still very early days to find out how well the startup will do, but its proposition seems to patch up the shortcomings of Grab’s current operations.

The company promises to provide ample support for drivers, which includes assistance from government bodies. Getting support from local government has been a difficult hoop for many ride-hailers to jump through.

If Kardi truly managed to secure a way in to work with the government, this would definitely push them ahead of other ride-hailers.

The company also touts a 48-hour payday system, with the fares being banked directly to the driver’s account. This approach is vastly different from Indonesia based Go-Jek and Grab, both operating a cash out system.

Go-Jek and Grab rely on proprietary mobile wallets, which has its pros and cons. In Indonesia, a vast number of the population do not have a bank account. Go-Jek’s mobile wallets become a useful substitute for daily payments.

In Singapore however, mobile wallet payments are still comparatively rare. Grab’s payment system requires users to wait until the next day after cashout request before drivers are able to get cash out. Although the Singapore government is working towards implementing a cashless society, that could take time. This gives Kardi a slight edge in the meantime.

The biggest determining factor at the moment will remain to be pricing. After the acquisition of Uber, Grab has been under fire for alleged price hikes. The company has denied any changes in fare, although it confirmed to be cutting down on discounts.

Kardi is instead offering promo codes, as well as a cap on surge pricing. With the Southeast Asian culture of penny-pinching, this might prove to be a way Kardi can secure a significant market share.

With Go-Jek also looking to move into Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, it remains to be seen if Kardi can hold its ground. Although, if Kardi delivers on all its promises, Grab and Go-Jek might need to look at cleaning up its act.





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