Study on whether Malaysian market ready to Grab new services

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PETALING JAYA: Ride-hailing company Grab is in the midst of studying the prospects of the Malaysian market to see if there is demand for its shuttle bus service GrabShuttle and digitised street-hailing service GrabNow, which have already been rolled out in selected countries in Southeast Asia.

“As for GrabNow and GrabShuttle, we are currently evaluating the market and if we find there is a need to introduce these services in Malaysia, we will. At the moment, there are no immediate plans to roll out GrabPay Credits in Malaysia,” said Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh.

GrabShuttle and GrabNow are just two of a string of services rolled out by the ride-hailing service provider over the years.

GrabShuttle, which is available in Singapore, allows passengers to prebook seats on shuttle buses whereas GrabNow is a digitised street-hailing available in the city-state and Indonesia.

“We are constantly adding new services that will benefit like JustGrab, GrabNow and GrabShuttle which are all about maximising our drivers to help increase their income. Furthermore, we are looking at moving large groups of people at one time, which is why we’ve introduced GrabNow and GrabShuttle,” Goh said.

The homegrown brand, formerly known as MyTeksi, holds a 95% market share in third-party taxi hailing and 72% in private vehicle hailing in the region, and now has a presence in more than 142 cities across seven countries.

Grab is on the roads in Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar, its latest destination, where it expanded to in March this year.

According to Goh, Grab’s app, which was launched as MyTeksi in Kuala Lumpur in June, 2012 and received 11,000 downloads on its first day, has since grown from strength to strength, with more than 68 million downloads and two million drivers across its network today and it recently completed its one billionth ride.

The app was the brainchild of Malaysians Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. The inspiration for such a service was drawn from their concern over the safety and security of passengers, especially women, using public transport.

“When MyTeksi started in Malaysia, we realised that besides Malaysia, neighbouring countries too were facing similar traffic issues. Due to these issues, we believed this countries would benefit as well from the MyTeksi (now Grab) platform, which is why we expanded to other countries,” Goh told SunBiz via email.

The start-up company’s earliest challenge came in the form of convincing Malaysian drivers to adopt the new technology and convincing Malaysian riders to try the app.

“Another challenge Grab faced was localising the app and services for each different country that we expanded to. Whilst Southeast Asia is similar, each country has its own unique differences – be it traffic or prefered mode of transport. Before expanding in a particular city, we will study the market and evaluate the business economics to see the viability and the practicality of the service as our aim is to provide real solutions to real traffic problems,” Goh said.

In July, Grab announced a US$2 billion (RM10.25 billion) investment by China’s Didi Chuxing, a leading one-stop mobile transport platform, and Japan’s SoftBank Group, a global technology leader.

“The investment enables us to deepen our strategic and collaborative partnership – both companies already benefited from sharing expertise and experience and we expect to raise an additional US$500 million, bringing the total to US$2.5 billion. This is the largest single financing in the history of Southeast Asia,” Goh said.

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