Southeast Asia’s ride hailing success story Grab has unveiled plans to become a platform for all everyday uses, so people don’t need to carry money again.
The business announced it was opening its platform up to partners, which would allow it to surface a range of lifestyle needs and content to users, becoming a one-stop-shop for everyday needs and information.
GrabPlatform will now open up its users, data, technology and logistical infrastructure to third parties. Speaking at a press conference at Rise in Hong Kong, Tan Hooi Ling, co-founder of Grab, said this was the fastest way for its platform to grow. She added that businesses would be able to partner in three ways; ‘Build’ into the Grab app in the same way HappyFresh has, using Grab technology (for example payments) to ‘Empower’ own properties and thirdly, using the Grab platform to ‘Engage’ with users and promote their business (using the Rewards service).
Grab has now hit two billion rides, just nine months after it hit its one billion landmark, showing that the business is potentially already seeing dividends from its acquisition of rival Uber this year.
The acquisition helped Grab expand its on demand food service, as well as its ride sharing domination, which has paved the way for its new mission.
“There are many, many areas that are adjacent to transportation but very different and we have now refined what we think the future of Grab needs to be. We are here to serve communities. People will need food, they will need payments and financial services, and so do merchants and businesses. We are here to bring them to things that matter the most to them. It is an all encompassing mission but it’s meant to be tailored and personalised to what different people in Southeast Asia need,” she said.
“How are we going to do this? We are going to do this leveraging the essence we have built over the years. We have the power of over 7.1m micro entrepreneurs, that is by far the largest offline distribution network of drivers, merchants and agents that Southeast Asia has ever seen. In the middle, you will also see that we have the widest coverage of Southeast Asian users and consumers, that ties back to the 100 million downloads we have. The third part is the technology and architecture, which we’ll be opening up to partners of Grab so they can leverage all the essence we have built,” she explained.
The first major new service to be launched, alongside a total refresh of the app, is grocery delivery, via a partnership with HappyFresh.
Guillem Segarra, CEO of HappyFresh, said: “Grocery delivery is a huge opportunity in Southeast Asia. From our research, 70% of grocery delivery app users shop at least once per week, and they like to shop from the stores that they are familiar with. What they want is for their preferred items to be available and ready, when they want it. GrabFresh already has the widest selection of products compared to other grocery delivery services.”
Alongside HappyFresh, Yahoo and Oath were also announced as a launch partners, powering news content on the app in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.
"Yahoo is delighted to partner with Grab across Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia as they re-imagine their home screen experience for these markets. With a deep understanding of users in the region, Grab has consistently innovated to give customers exactly what they want," said Rico Chan, Managing Director, Oath INSEA, Hong Kong and Japan.