Grab out to double revenue to $2.8b in 2019

Singapore-based Grab is using its capital to expand both geographically and business-wise. Co-founder Tan Hooi Ling says the company is on its way to raise US$3 billion (S$4 billion) in funding by the year end.
Singapore-based Grab is using its capital to expand both geographically and business-wise. Co-founder Tan Hooi Ling says the company is on its way to raise US$3 billion (S$4 billion) in funding by the year end.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Ride-hailing giant on track to make big push in Indonesia, delve into new business areas

Singapore's Grab outlined ambitious fund-raising plans and predicted that sales will double next year, adding to evidence that South-east Asia's most valuable start-up is expanding well beyond its roots as a ride-hailing app, while intensifying a rivalry with Indonesia's Go-Jek.

Revenue will double to US$2 billion (S$2.75 billion) next year as it integrates the acquisition of Uber Technologies' regional business and delves deeper into new areas from bike-sharing to digital payments.

Grab is on track to raise US$3 billion in funding before the end of this year, said co-founder Tan Hooi Ling at Bloomberg's Sooner Than You Think technology summit in Singapore yesterday. That includes US$1 billion from Toyota Motor, the Japanese carmaker's biggest investment in ride-hailing to date.

Grab is expanding rapidly throughout South-east Asia, home to more than 600 million people, to become the region's largest transportation platform and leverage its size after the Uber deal.

Its funding turns up the heat on Go-Jek, which has announced plans to expand beyond its home turf and enter Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Now, it is exploring forays into fields as diverse as grocery delivery, finance and healthcare, Ms Tan said.

"There's more greenfield than in any other region in the world because technology hasn't been able to truly shape the lives of the South-east Asia region yet," said Ms Tan. "The second big area is to increase our operational presence in Indonesia."

Grab is moving fast against Jakarta-based Go-Jek, which started out as a motorbike taxi-booking service in 2015 before tacking on more than a dozen consumer services that lets users pay bills, order food and buy movie tickets.

Ms Tan said that Grab will make a big push in Indonesia, where revenue has tripled so far this year and where it has a 65 per cent share in the ride-hailing market.

ON THE FAST TRACK

There's a huge opportunity right now. We can decide to invest, go big now, just so that we can reap the market that's ripe vis-a-vis growing organically and slower. We want to set up a multi-generation company.

GRAB CO-FOUNDER TAN HOOI LING, on the company's expansion plans.

Food delivery GrabFood, now in 30 cities, will also be expanded to more than 130 cities by the end of this year, Ms Tan said.

Backed by investors such as Japan's SoftBank and China's Didi Chuxing, Singapore-based Grab is using its capital to expand both geographically and business-wise.

The Uber deal cemented Grab's grip on ride-hailing in the region, especially in its home market. That has been accompanied by increasing complaints, with users bemoaning prices, delays and lapses in customer service.

Ms Tan said that some of the issues revolve around integrating its biggest-ever acquisition.

"Hindsight is always 20/20. To be honest, we did make mistakes. We know that," she said.

"As we were learning things, we were making changes on the go. We have and will be continuing to make investments to learn."

Since the Uber deal was announced in March, the company has launched a venture arm and opened its platform to fellow start-ups that can offer more services to its customers.

In March, Grab launched GrabCycle, a marketplace for bike-sharing services, and e-scooter rental service Popscoot.

"There's a huge opportunity right now. We can decide to invest, go big now, just so that we can reap the market that's ripe vis-a-vis growing organically and slower," she said.

"We want to set up a multi-generation company."

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2018, with the headline 'Grab out to double revenue to $2.8b in 2019'. Print Edition | Subscribe