Grab: Looks like the inevitable might actually happen

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Head of Grab Singapore, Lim Kell Jay
 

Obbana Rajah

Grab aims to “evolve from just a taxi app to become a provider of services”, said Head of Grab Singapore, Lim Kell Jay told the media yesterday.

This was before he unveiled the new services that Grab will be offering, that include GrabAssist – for those with disabilities, GrabCar Plus – a premium economy service and Grab Family – for those with children aged one to three.

The above are in addition to GrabFood, GrabCycle, Grab Financial (their loan and money-lending service) and their cashless GrabPay mobile payment service.

It seems that Grab just wants to do it all, and hold an irreplaceable position in the market.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) may now have a new set of problems on its hands.

Where previously Grab was on its warpath to dominate the ride-hailing market had regulatory restrictions to prevent it from monopolising the industry, it now offers so many services that it appears to be way ahead of any firm of its kind.

How will the CCCS intervene then?

With Grab’s scale of operation and its rate of growth, how will the other players in the ride-hailing market fare?

With Uber ceasing to operate as of Monday, Uber drivers do not seem to have too many options left.

According to Kell Jay, 80% of active Uber drivers have already moved to Grab. When asked about the remaining 20%, “Hopefully the rest by the end of today”, he told the media.

So yes, Grab is very much aware of the huge position they hold in the market.

This could also be why there is a huge decrease in the incentives available for drivers. “We monitor [the drivers’] income very closely. We make sure the fares they earn continue to grow, giving them as many jobs as possible within the same amount of time”, Kell Jay said, justifying the decrease in incentives for drivers. This is because drivers’ incomes are made up of the revenue from fares and the incentives they get.

Grab is growing, and growing fast. Because of this alone, it would be difficult for other ride-hailing or taxi firms to keep up, likely leading to an eventual monopoly.

The inevitable might actually happen.


obbana@theindependent.sg