Just ‘Grab’: Transport platform amps up services, profile
SINGAPORE—GrabTaxi, Southeast Asia’s largest smartphone ridesharing platform, is adding new features for passengers as it unveiled on Thursday a corporate rebranding and renaming to “Grab.”
The move comes as competition intensifies with rival ride-booking platform Uber, which is ramping up its presence in the region.
Grab CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan, in an event on Thursday attended by media from the six countries where it operates, said the name change was meant to reflect how the company has moved beyond a taxi-booking service when it was launched in 2012.
Right now, Grab’s platform also offers private car services (GrabCar), motorcycle taxis (GrabBike), social carpooling (GrabHitch) and last mile delivery (GrabExpress). The combined services cater to a region-wide market that is valued at about $25 billion.
In the Philippines, GrabHitch has yet to be launched while the Department of Transportation and Communications recently ordered the company to halt the GrabBike service pending the release of the proper guidelines.
Grab, which has so far raised $700 million in funding and downloaded on 11 million devices, is also present in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
“We’ve grown over the years – and we’re now much more than a taxi app. This new brand is an important evolution that represents our goal to outserve our customers,” Tan said.
“Grab aims to make transportation accessible to everyone in Southeast Asia. We have set the benchmark in the industry, with the most number of transport services that cater to all price points, all available in one app,” he added.
The Grab smarthpone app was also revamped in line with the change of its corporate identity. Tan said enhancements include easier booking based on a user’s preferred locations, automated retries when a booking fails and a one-click registration process for first-time users.
New options include “flash,” which searches all of the closest taxis and GrabCars to find the best vehicle for users across both services, and GrabPay, which allows passengers to go “cashless” either via credit or debit cards. It also rolled out GrabWork, aimed at business professionals who can now tag their rides and easier tracking of receipts for expense claims purposes.
The company is making new investments as well as it revealed a plan to establish engineering centers, one each in Seattle, Untied States, Beijing, China and Singapore.
Grab said it controls about 95 percent of the market share in the third-party taxi booking app business and over 50 percent for private car booking in Southeast Asia. The company handles about 1.5 million bookings per day with 200,000 drivers on its platform.
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