Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Uber sells Southeast Asia assets to rival Grab

Uber sells Southeast Asia assets to rival Grab

Transport Minister Sun Chanthol stands next to a Grab car at the company's Phnom Penh launch event in December.
Transport Minister Sun Chanthol stands next to a Grab car at the company's Phnom Penh launch event in December. Hong Menea

Uber sells Southeast Asia assets to rival Grab

Updated: 6:41am, Tuesday March 27, 2018

Ride-hailing platform Grab announced on Monday that it had acquired the Southeast Asia operations of its US-based rival Uber, including the company’s ride-hailing services in Cambodia, just three months after it officially launched in the Kingdom.

In exchange, Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab and its CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, will join Grab’s board of directors as part of the deal, according to a press release from Singapore-based Grab.

Wee Tang Yee, Grab’s country head in Cambodia, said that Uber’s services in the Kingdom will continue for a two-week transitional period as Grab seeks to transfer employees and drivers onto its own platform.

“Grab and Uber are working together to promptly migrate Uber drivers and riders, merchant partners and delivery partners to the Grab platform,” he said in an email. “The Uber app will continue to operate for two weeks to ensure stability for Uber drivers, who can find out how to sign-up to drive with Grab online.”

Founded in Malaysia in 2012, Grab now operates in eight Southeast Asian countries. It launched services in Phnom Penh in December, three months after Uber became the first international ride-hailing platform to begin operations in Cambodia.

Grab’s acquisition of Uber had been rumoured for several months, and its entry into Cambodia was largely viewed as more successful than Uber’s, despite the US firm’s three-month head start.

Since its launch in December, Grab has added a motorbike taxi service and launched a preliminary tuk-tuk service in the capital, while also racking up several agreements with government and development agencies. Uber remained relatively static during the same period.

Multiple Uber regional representatives – including Krittiyawadee Pongpanich, Uber’s Thailand-based head of communications, and Chris Brummitt, Uber’s Asia-Pacific head of corporate and product communications – declined to comment on Monday.

Pascal Ly, who was hired as the general manager for Uber in Cambodia in January, said in an email on Monday that he was no longer able to speak on behalf of Uber or Grab, and would “prioritize my focus on the team to know what will be the next step for them”.

That next step could be working for their one-time rival.

“All Uber employees, including ones in Cambodia, will receive offers to join Grab,” Yee said on Monday. “As we onboard Uber passengers and drivers onto the Grab platform, there will be more passengers using Grab, which will mean more jobs, less waiting time, and ultimately more earnings for our driver-partners.”

Yee predicted that the acquisition of Uber’s operations would gradually lower fares for riders, which could mean increased competition with local ride-hailing platforms.

Homegrown ride-hailing startups, such as PassApp and ExNet, have so far been able to offer lower prices than Uber and Grab, but they could face increased pressure as Grab’s prices fall.

Food delivery, another industry that’s currently dominated by local businesses, could also feel the squeeze from Grab in the near future. Grab’s Monday announcement said the company plans to expand its food delivery services to all Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, in the next few months.

“We will rapidly and efficiently expand GrabFood into all major SEA countries in the next quarter,” Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling says in the release. “GrabFood will also be another great use case to drive the continued adoption of GrabPay mobile wallet and support our growing financial services platform.”

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors