Grab eyes grocery delivery market

GrabFresh to launch in Jakarta this month; users can order groceries from within app

(From far left) HappyFresh CEO Guillem Segarra, Grab CEO Anthony Tan and Grab product head Jerald Singh. The two firms are partners in GrabFresh.
(From far left) HappyFresh CEO Guillem Segarra, Grab CEO Anthony Tan and Grab product head Jerald Singh. The two firms are partners in GrabFresh. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Singapore-based firm Grab yesterday announced that it is moving into yet another area - grocery deliveries.

The service, called GrabFresh, is a collaboration with regional grocery delivery firm HappyFresh and allows users to order groceries from within the Grab app.

GrabFresh will be available in Jakarta later this month, and is expected to be offered in Thailand and Malaysia by the year end.

HappyFresh chief executive Guillem Segarra said: "Grab is the best possible partner we could have. The large number of couriers they have allows us to add more delivery slots and improve delivery time."

It is not clear, however, when the service might be launched in Singapore, and Grab product head Jerald Singh noted that it could be offered in partnership with another firm when introduced here.

The new service heats up the competition between ride-hailing company Grab and rival Go-Jek, which currently offers grocery shopping and other concierge services in Indonesia.

In May, Go-Jek announced that it would expand beyond its Indonesian base to four other countries in the region - Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines - by the year end.

Grab yesterday also announced a new service called GrabPlatform, a set of application programming interfaces that allows other companies to partner Grab and gain access to its technology and expertise in areas such as payment and transport. This will allow firms to easily incorporate mobile wallet GrabPay into their apps or websites for electronic payments, for example.

Grab group chief executive Anthony Tan said the new platform would allow both Grab and its partners to "grow most efficiently and quickly".

The Grab app will also feature a news feed, featuring content such as games, restaurant reviews and short films. The firm has also partnered Yahoo to provide news in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines through its app.

Separately, Mr Tan confirmed that Grab will submit a written representation on July 26, appealing against the Singapore consumer watchdog's decision on its acquisition of Uber's business here.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore said last week that the deal between the two ride-hailing services - first announced in March - had "substantially lessened" competition in the point-to-point transportation sector and was anti-competitive.

The commission proposed several measures to ensure market contestability, including imposing financial penalties on both Grab and Uber for proceeding with the acquisition, and the removal of exclusivity clauses between Grab and cab companies.

Mr Tan said Grab had complied with the law in its acquisition of Uber, and he was confident of Grab's chances with its appeal.

He noted that, in spite of Grab's acquisition of Uber's business, there was still "tremendous competition" in the transportation sector, pointing to taxi operators such as ComfortDelGro, which has not partnered Grab.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline Grab eyes grocery delivery market. Subscribe