Grab buys Uber's Southeast Asian business following hard competition

Ride-hailing service Uber has sold its Southeast Asian business to its rival Grab. The value of the deal has not been made public.

Grab's CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said the acquisition of Uber's regional business marks the beginning of a new era in using mobile businesses to provide transport, food delivery, payments and other financial services across the region. According to Bloomberg, this represents a region of 620 million people.

But Grab, which operates in 195 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries, became the dominant force in ride-hailing, leaving its troubled United States rival struggling. "The combined services of Grab and Uber signal a wider network of TNVS drivers and passengers and improved ridesharing services", he said. This includes Uber's food delivery business too. Grab marked a major milestone previous year, completing its one billionth ride in Southeast Asia, with its app now being downloaded in 90 million mobile devices.

The countries included in the operation are: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malasia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been pushing to burnish the financials of a company that's burned through $10.7 billion since its founding nine years ago. "If incentives don't go up, fares will increase and we will still get a little bit more", said Mahajan, 57. "On the part of Grab, we are committed to try and find everyone a home at Grab", she said.

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Office workers walk past Grab and Uber offices on Monday.

To minimise disruption, Grab is committed to cooperating with local regulators in relation to the acquisition and alongside Uber they are working to promptly migrate Uber drivers, riders, customers and merchant partners to the platform.

Grab will integrate Uber's ride-sharing into their existing multi-modal transportation and fintech platform.

Why Grab? Why not Uber? This exit may suggest that Uber is depending on its success in North America markets and would not put up similar fights outside its local base. He still continues to be on the company's board but was succeeded in August 2017 by Dara Khosrowshahi-who had been Expedia's CEO.

Uber staff The Straits Times spoke to said that at 10am, hundreds of them were told to pack up their belongings and leave the premises by 12.30pm. The US firm has taken 5.89 per cent stake in Didi.

  • Ronnie Bowen