Grab takes another big step toward becoming a Super App in SEA

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

In a bid to cement its Super App status, Grab took a big step again this week toward Super App status, again through linking up with an important regional player. On Thursday, November 8, the ride-hailing company announced its partnership with Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank), for its new e-wallet, payment app GrabPay by KBank.

This would make GrabPay available in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia—six out of the ten ASEAN countries.

By the beginning of next year, GrabPay by KBank will be made available in Thailand for users to pay for rides and deliveries, facilitate fund transfers, buy services and items online, as well as do QR-code payments in establishments.

PromptPay, an e-payment system available throughout the country, three million establishments can receive payments via GrabPay by KBank.

The bank has made a sizable investment of S $69 million to the ride-hailing company, joining other funders such as Hyundai, Toyota, and Microsoft in a current fundraising round.

Read related: Grab announces major partnerships just before Go-Jek launches in Singapore

At the launch of GrabPay by KBank, senior managing director of Grab Financial Reuben Lai remarked that Grab’s goal is for people to be able to do transactions across South East Asia through just one app, and is going through the partnership route to make this happen.

Companies that aspire for a Super App status, such as Singapore’s Grab and Indonesia’s Go-Jek, have focused on creating a digital wallet that can be used throughout the region, becoming a one-stop-shop.

A director at Strategy&, the strategy consulting arm of the PwC network, Shrish Jain, said, “Typically, a category-specific app such as say, ride-share, ventures into payments offerings as a launch-pad to become a Super App. Having a broad and open payments capability is vital for those with Super App aspirations; it allows them to capture customer behaviour outside the app.”

“If these Super Apps possess sufficient data, they can predict with a great deal of accuracy what customers may be looking for, be it price or product. This cross-selling function is extremely powerful because it not only allows Super Apps to monetise their products, even more, it also creates a tighter ecosystem around the app, forming a virtuous cycle.”

Another reason as to why companies like Grab and Go-Jek want to become the go-to app for all transactions is that it allows them to collect a lot of information about consumers. Go-Jek has Go-Pay, which allows consumers to facilitate payments for food, deliveries, beauty services, and housecleaning, not only in Indonesia but also in Thailand and Vietnam.

But perhaps the biggest competition is not even between Grab and Go-Jek but with cold, hard cash. Nine out of every ten transactions is still made in cash, and therefore different sectors must work hand in hand to bring more people into a cashless way of life.

Read related: Singapore’s Grab is losing drivers to Indonesia’s Go-Jek