Digital Transformation Ride-sharing Technology

How Singapore transport firm ComfortDelGro is planning to overtake Grab and Go-Jek


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

March 24, 2021 | 4 min read

Ride-sharing companies like Grab and Go-Jek have changed the face of transport in Singapore. The Drum finds out how bus and taxi firm ComfortDelGro is evolving amid a shifting market.

ComfortDelGro has been the dominant player in Singapore’s transport sector for decades. But the emergence of ride-hailing firms like Grab has severely impacted its business, which includes taxi, bus and private car services.

The number of cabs that ComfortDelGro, along with other taxi companies in Singapore, keeps on the road has dwindled to 18,000 in the face of fierce competition.

To fight this, ComfortDelGro hired its first group chief digital officer in 2020. Siew Yim Cheng, previously a global vice-president with Chinese energy start-up Envision Digital, has been made responsible for ComfortDelGro’s digital transformation.

The transport giant hopes to fight back with a new a ’mobile lifestyle’ app called Zig. While many app-based food delivery and e-commerce platforms drive users to online services, Zig focuses on mobility and transport by leveraging ComfortDelGro’s taxis and public transport assets.

Liew Wei Chee, the chief executive officer at Zig and formerly senior vice president at ComfortDelGro, says the app is key to the company’s digital transformation initiative.

“Our vision is to encourage and enable commuters to explore their physical environment, supporting brick and mortar retail merchants in this current climate which has been altered the global pandemic,” he explains.

The app brings together ComfortDelGro’s plan to compete with ride-hailing platforms, through its bus and taxi services that includes features to help consumers discover new spots for eating and entertainment in the city.

“With the accelerated pace of digitalization that the pandemic has brought about, we want to provide more avenues for commuters to interact digitally with retail merchants in an online to offline environment.”


Zig was built with the help of R/GA, with the goal of delivering a best-in-class, emotionally connected user experience across Singaporeans’ mobility and lifestyle needs. Through user research, R/GA identified customer pain points that the app could address.

“We started from the point of assessing ComfortDelGro’s strategic assets. They have had a long-running heritage and expertise in the mobility space, and it was wise to build upon that. Leveraging what they are known for, mobility, and moving into the space of a more seamless experience of bringing mobility and lifestyle together,” explains Dorothy Peng, the managing director at R/GA Singapore

“We wanted to start with a very clear point of view, who we’re catering to, why this fulfills an unmet need, what strategic assets a company can leverage to build upon. Getting the value proposition and purpose right for the intended audience and assessing the right tech stack to build.”

She adds: “In this connected age, customer experience is everything – and in order to build relevance, we need to understand user needs before defining the app solution.”


Zig was crafted from the ground up using Flutter, Google’s latest mobile technology platform. Built for both iOS and Android, R/GA engineered a modern tech stack, in conjunction with MGG Software, and data architecture, together with BasisAI.

“Zig has found a market gap in driving online to offline experiences. It is like a one-stop city concierge, combining reservations, lifestyle experiences, with mobility services,” says Peng.

“What is interesting too, is the ability to compare between taxi, bus and train in the journey planning function. And aiding discovery of what otherwise be overlooked experiences and eateries. The brand, design and experience is also very modern and easy to the eye.”

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