Grab's Q3 revenue near pre-pandemic level, says firm's president

Grab's food business now generates more than 50 per cent of revenue. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Ride-hailing and food-delivery firm Grab has logged in a Q3 group revenue that is more than 95 per cent of that of pre-Covid-19 levels, the Singapore-headquartered firm's president Ming Maa said in an e-mailed newsletter on Thursday (Oct 22).

Grab's food business, in particular, now generates more than 50 per cent of revenue, "reflecting increased consumer demand for food delivery in the new normal", he added. The company's other key verticals include ride-hailing and financial services.

The announcement comes months after Grab's ride-hailing business was disrupted by pandemic lockdown measures across South-east Asia. In June, the firm, which has yet to turn a profit, laid off about 360 employees, or close to 5 per cent of its headcount.

But it now has more than 270 openings across the region listed on its careers portal. The portal also shows that it is on the lookout for senior talent for digital banking in Singapore. There are about 20 job openings in this or related areas listed on the portal.

The senior positions for the digital bank include chief financial officer, chief risk officer, credit risk head for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and retail, head of compliance, head of deposits and head of cards and unsecured lending.

Other digital bank-related openings include roles in AML (anti-money laundering) operations, data science, quality-assurance engineering, data governance and legal counsel.

Grab is in the running for a digital banking licence in Singapore via a joint venture with Singtel. Back in April, the joint venture hired Charles Wong, Citigroup's former retail banking head in Singapore, to be the senior managing director of the digital bank as it starts up.

In the Thursday newsletter, Mr Maa said that Grab continues to receive strong support from investors. Last month, Grab clinched a US$200 million investment from South Korean private equity firm STIC Investments.

Grab will focus on growing its financial services and merchant services businesses for the rest of the year. It will also work with governments to help micro SMEs digitalise, especially in rural areas, he added. For instance, Grab last month expanded its ride-hailing, digital payments and delivery services to more rural areas in Malaysia. In Indonesia, it partnered over 30 regional and city governments to co-create digitalisation programmes for micro SMEs.

Between March and September, more than 350,000 SMEs and over 32,000 micro merchants, such as wet market stall owners, used Grab services to go online. These services include online-to-offline commerce service GrabKios, grocery delivery service GrabMart, food-delivery services GrabFood and on-demand grocery shopper service GrabAssistant.

Meanwhile, Grab's financial services arm is clocking strong growth, Mr Maa said. The insurance business has distributed over 20 million insurance policies since April 2019.

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