Ride-hailing app grabs edge over rivals with better grasp of local markets

RIDE-HAILING app Grab has attributed its success in making commuting in Southeast Asia more accessible and safer to its deeper understanding of local markets compared to its rivals.

Its co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said the understanding had enabled the company to out-maneuver US-based Uber in the region by developing non-cookiecutter solutions, mobileworldlive reported.

Tan claimed Grab is the largest homegrown tech company in the region, crediting the rapid success to “a lot of good luck, a lot of great people and a shared vision”.

“What any company benefits from is a platform it can leverage, with minimal tweaks and nuances, because it’s easy to roll out and maintain. But we do more than this… we focus on segmented, localized and tailored service for what is needed in the region,” she said.

Tan said during a recent event that Southeast Asia is extremely fragmented, owing to the different languages, cultures and religions between countries and cities.

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“But the market also has underlying similarities. You have to understand and leverage these differences to build something that could be successful across the region,” she said.

Tan said Grab operated in a cash-based market with 95 per cent of individuals using cash. This prompted Grab to develop a payment system that didn’t require cards.

Grab is SEA’s leading ride-booking platform with up to 1.5 million daily bookings across six countries, according to Business Times. It currently has 300,000 drivers across 30 cities in six countries.

Meanwhile, Vulcanpost reported that the app’s users can now enjoy using the service in the U.S. after Grab’s two-way integration with Lyft.

With the new integration, Grab can be used in 200 U.S. cities, while Lyft users will enjoy convenient access to ride-hailing services in 30 cities across six countries in Southeast Asia.

According to the site, this is the first two-way integration to go live as part of the global rideshare agreement between Didi Chuxing, Grab, Lyft and Ola announced in December 2015.

The partnership has a potential reach of nearly 50 percent of the world’s population: billions of travelers across China, Southeast Asia, the U.S. and India.

“This partnership with Lyft is another step to enable seamless international travel, and it combines the strength and reach of our companies to cross-share learning and leverage the best services in each local market for the benefit of our users,” Tan said.

“Southeast Asia is a huge growth market for international visitors and we welcome our American friends and travelers from the U.S. to experience ride-hailing via taxis and cars in our region.”