SINGAPORE-BASED ride-hailing and mobile-payments platform Grab plans to expand its business to cover every Southeast Asian country as soon as possible, Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder and chief operating officer, told a news conference to celebrate its five years in operation yesterday.
In Thailand, the company has been in discussions with the government with the aim of ensuring that its services comply with the transport laws, Tan said.
“We want to provide a more convenient transport service in Southeast Asia,” she said.
“That will take time but we firmly believe we can enter all the countries in the region and expand our services.”
She said Grab now operated in seven countries in Southeast Asia: Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar. The company also wants to expand into Cambodia, Laos and Brunei. This will be done step-by-step, after the company started operating in Myanmar early this year.
Tan said Grab’s business focus was on transportation but this had led it into related fields such as e-payment.
That in turn led the company into e-commerce, taking over the Kudo start-up in Indonesia.
She added that the company also need more fund for business development for long term but she cannot figure the investment cost in this time.
“When we do business, we will do it step-by-step. We will raise funds when we need to but now we cannot give more information about [how we will] raise funds at this time,” she said.
Grab was a start-up business introduced by Tan and her co-founder Anthony Tan in 2012. They succeeded in raising US$90 million in May 2014 from investors including hedge fund Tiger Global, Chinese venture capital firm GGV Capital and Singapore-based Vertex Venture Holdings.
A US$250 million investment from SoftBank Corp followed. To date, the company has attracted US$1.45 billion from venture capital and hedge funds to drive its business growth.
Group chief executive officer Anthony Tan told yesterday’s news conference that according to a survey by Google Temasek, the online ride-hailing sector in Southeast Asia is expected to growth fivefold by 2025, reaching US$13 billion and making up 15 per cent of the total travel market in the region.
The value of the sector in Thailand and the Philippines combined is expected to reach US$2 billion by that year, the research found.
Grab plans to develop its products and network under the theme “Moving SEA Together”. It plans to launch new products in the second half of this year.
GrabChat, is a messaging service enabling Grab’s passengers and drivers to communicate, and customers can easily inform drivers where they are using template messages.
GrabNow digitises street hailing. Already available in Jakarta, it allows passengers to flag down a GrabBike driver on the street, book a ride with the same driver immediately and pay via the Grab app.
Grab delivers up to 2.5 million rides daily, making it the largest ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia.
It operates in 55 cities across the region. The Grab app has been downloaded on to more than 45 million devices, tripling from June last year.
“We cannot say when we will show a net profit after being established only five years ago, but our app has been downloaded on more than 45 million devices,” said Tan Hooi Ling. “This take-up will help us to expand so that we can fulfil our business potential and generate income over the long term.”