Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing platform, appears poised to launch operations in Cambodia where it could face stiff competition from international giant Uber and several already entrenched local platforms.
The Singapore-based technology company held a recruitment event for prospective drivers in Phnom Penh yesterday and has listed Cambodia on its corporate website as one of eight countries where it has launched operations.
It also recently updated its smartphone application to include hundreds of named locations across the Cambodian capital, while screenshots taken earlier this week and posted on the internet showed the locations of nearly a dozen active drivers on a map of the city.
Despite these indicators, a spokesperson for Grab confirmed in an email yesterday that the company’s ride-hailing platform was not yet available for use in Cambodia.
“Grab hasn’t been launched in Cambodia yet since we are still studying the market and asking for advice from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport about local regulations and compliance requirements,” said Nattianan Vanichchanant, communications manager at Grab.
On Monday, country head of Grab in Thailand, Yee Wee Tang, met Transport Minister Sun Chanthol to discuss licensing procedures, according to a post on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
While the minister welcomed Grab’s entrance into the Cambodian market, he requested that the ride-hailing service “operate in strict accordance with the laws of the Kingdom” and urged the company to work with the ministry on licensing procedures, according to the post.
Grab will face an increasingly competitive market in Cambodia, competing not only against heavyweight rival Uber, which began trials of its smartphone app in Phnom Penh three months ago, but also local platforms such as Exnet Taxi Cambodia, iTsumo and PassApp that have crowded the Cambodian market with cheap transportation options.