New ride-hailing player Kardi targets June 5 launch in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Another ride-hailing app is set to debut in Singapore, looking to occupy the turf left vacant by Uber's exit from South-east Asia.

Kardi, which will offer low-cost to luxury private-hire car services, will be launched on Tuesday (June 5), the company said.

The Singapore-based start-up is founded by 27-year-old entrepreneur Ashwin Selambram, who also owns a photography studio.

When contacted by The Straits Times, Mr Ashwin said more details of the app's offerings and features will be announced on Monday, a day before the launch.

He said that the firm aims to recruit 3,000 drivers before the launch and will be giving out discount codes to customers to use the app.

Kardi has been recruiting drivers through social media and is holding a recruitment drive at its A'Posh BizHub office in Yishun on Saturday. A beta website kardi.sg has also been put up.

Kardi is yet another contender in the private-hire chauffeur market, which has seen a flurry of local and foreign apps - such as Singapore's Filo Technologies and Ryde, and India's Jugnoo - entering the scene recently.

They are up against incumbent Grab, which had in March acquired rival Uber's South-east Asia business. The Uber app ceased operations in Singapore in May.

Competition, however, looks to get more intense, with Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek recently announcing its intention to enter Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in the next few months, to the tune of a US$500 million (S$670 million) international expansion plan.

Singapore-headquartered MVL (Mass Vehicle Ledger) Foundation has also said it will launch in the third quarter and will take no commission from drivers.

It uses blockchain technology to record data related to a vehicle's activity, such as driving, accidents, repairs and other mobility-related transactions.