News: A report showed that Grab’s app surpassed Uber’s in first-quarter downloads.
Grab, a ride-hailing startup, has witnessed fast growth in Southeast Asia, posing challenges to the established player Uber Technologies.
Compared to Uber, the startup has presence in more cities in the region, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a study by mobile-app analytics firm App Annie.
The ride-hailing market in Southeast Asia is expected to grow over five times to $13.1bn by 2025 from $2.5bn last year, accroding to a recent report on Southeast Asia’s internet economy conducted by Alphabet’s Google and Singapore state-investment firm Temasek Holdings.
Launched in 2012, Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings provides services such as motorcycle taxis, package deliveries and cash payment, which are tailored to fit the local needs in the region.
The company is also experimenting with a carpooling service in southern Malaysia, enabling people to share rides.
Grab’s valuation reached $1.6bn in its last round of funding in 2015 and it currently operates in 30 cities in Southeast Asia, employing 1,600 peoples.
However, competing with Uber is a not an easy task for Grab, as the former has massive resources to expand globally. Uber has raised funds worth $14bn in debt and equity.
In June, Bloomberg reported that Uber was planning to raise as much as $2bn through leveraged loans.
An Uber spokesman was quoted by the publication as saying that the company is "part of everyday life for millions across Southeast Asia."
Grab has attracted funds from some of the major global investors such as US hedge fund Coatue Management LLC and Tiger Global Management. It has also raised funds from Didi Chuxing Technology, which is Uber’s biggest competitor in China.
The startup has also become a member of a global alliance of Uber rivals which include Didi, ANI Technologies’ Ola in India and San Francisco startup Lyft.
Grab’s co-founder and chief executive Anthony Tan said: "We don’t think only about transport."
Tan’s vision to expand the company beyond rides to offer other services such as digital payment.
He said that the startup is making profits in some cities but declined to estimate the year when it will become profitable overall.
Grab recently introduced motorbike taxis in cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta to help commuters to overcome traffic problems. Uber also launched such services later.
The company also has a package-delivery service aimed at assisting online retailers in the region.
According to App Annie, Grab’s app surpassed Uber’s in first-quarter downloads for both Android and Apple smartphones in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.