Collaboration needed to drive real progress: Grab

Mr Sean Goh said for the Asean region to see real progress, improving or building physical infrastructure requires collaboration from partners.
Mr Sean Goh said for the Asean region to see real progress, improving or building physical infrastructure requires collaboration from partners.PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

The most valuable start-up in South-east Asia valued at RM12.84 billion (S$4.08 billion), Grab is a ride-hailing service that operates car, motorcycle and carpooling services in 65 cities in seven countries in Asean.

Founded by Mr Anthony Tan, 35, and Ms Tan Hooi Ling, 33, in 2012, it has about 2.5 million rides daily, making it the largest ride-hailing platform in this region.

Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh said the region was growing faster than even North Asia, according to reports by the International Monetary Fund. Yet, Mr Goh said for the Asean region to see real progress, improving or building physical infrastructure cannot be done on its own and requires collaboration from partners.

Grab faced new challenges in each city that it ventured into. For instance, the firm discovered that the people in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi spoke different variants of the Vietnamese language.

"To tackle this... the Grab app in both these cities displays different languages," he said.

In Malaysia, drivers were hesitant to adopt new technology, Mr Goh said. Grab tackled the problem by addressing safety concerns and improving the efficiency of the app.

Mr Goh added the firm also changed its approach in the Philippine and Indonesian markets that are plagued by heavy traffic. "We introduced GrabBike to meet consumer demand by providing another transport option," he said.

When asked what are the firm's plans in Asean for the next five years, Mr Goh said: "We are an active contributor to solving South-east Asia's fundamental issues - congestion, jobs, trust in and access to the digital economy.

"These issues affect South-east Asia's long-term economic growth and Grab is very much committed to investing in our region," he added .

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Collaboration needed to drive real progress: Grab'. Print Edition | Subscribe