Lessons to be learnt from Grab-Uber saga

I disagree with Mr Christopher Tan's view (Disallowing Grab-Uber deal will only dilute competition further; March 31) that the proposed alliance between Comfort DelGro and Uber is now somehow "irrelevant" and that we should just focus on the new market reality.

The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) is there to protect the interest of Singapore's travelling public.

It needs time to complete its deliberation and must not be swept up in Uber's anxiousness to exit its loss-making operations and to leave the market as it sees fit.

When deciding to sell off its entire South-east Asian business, Uber was well aware that the CCS had not yet completed its deliberations under Phase 2 of its review of the ComfortDelGro deal, and yet proceeded with the sale of its business anyway.

The CCS has acted properly in now applying brakes to this latest deal with Grab.

But, it remains to be seen how Uber will be able to comply with directives to maintain independent pricing, pricing policies and product options as they were before the sale, and to withhold confidential information from Grab when it has effectively closed its Singapore operations and Grab has announced it has acquired the business and presumably has seen such information.

There must be lessons to be learnt from this whole episode, not least that the livelihood of nearly 500 drivers is at stake - all in the name of competition.

Craig Tranter

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Lessons to be learnt from Grab-Uber saga'. Print Edition | Subscribe