While earning an MBA at Harvard Business School, Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling hatched the concept for Grab, a ride-hailing firm. Grab was originally envisioned as a student project and had won US$25,000 in prize money from the school’s pitch competition.
The pair, born in Malaysia, was well aware of the chaotic and disorganized state of Southeast Asia’s transportation sector. Furthermore, launching a ride-hailing business in the region would offer them a competitive advantage. With the winning money from the pitch contest, the two began writing a business strategy and developing the application.
After many long nights and discussion sessions, Anthony and Tan started GrabTaxi in Malaysia in 2012, barely a year before Uber debuted its ride-hailing service in Singapore and two years after Go-Jek launched in Indonesia.
In just seven years, Grab has seen exponential development of its mobile-based ride-hailing business throughout eight SEA nations. Last year, Grab made headlines when it purchased Uber’s entire ride-hailing operation in the region. Grab, dubbed the “super app model,” has expanded into a variety of consumer service industries, including hotel booking, on-demand video platforms, ticket purchase, restaurant ordering, and grocery shopping, in addition to financial services. What are some of the factors that have contributed to Grab’s amazing success?
Grab perfected its app
The first element is so-called ‘super apps,’ one-stop apps that provide a variety of daily functions. For Grab, this covers services like transportation, bill payment, meal ordering, and even hotel booking. This is a major reason for the success of Go-Jek and Grab.
Grab, like other similar super-apps, offers enough perks and functionality to keep users from ever having to quit the app. It can cover anything at any moment and at any phase. Users in Vietnam may now use the Grab app to pay bills, book hotels, buy food, and send packages.
Closely observe, but don’t follow competitors
Says CEO Anthony Tan, “I always tell my team [the bible verse] “Iron sharpens iron”. We respect our competition and are proud that global giants are fighting tooth and nail with us to win the hearts and minds of our customers. But we should not let them dictate our destination. If we do that, we will fail.”
Grab’s emphasis must be on its consumers and how it can maintain its right to serve them and deliver a world-class, frictionless service.
Grab provides the most comprehensive services in Southeast Asia, including cars, motorcycles, taxis, buses, and even trikes. This multimodal experience is a big benefit. It has aided in both user growth and retention, putting Grab in a strong position to continue seizing new chances.
Catering to local tastes and preferences
Consider how Grab has mastered the mobility demands of each Southeast Asian market: GrabBike in Vietnam, GrabBajay (three-wheeled motorized vehicles) in Indonesia, ThoneBane in Myanmar, Tuk Tuks in Thailand, and Remorque in Cambodia.
According to Russell Cohen, Grab’s head of regional operations, the company’s approach has always been to focus on Grab’s services in a nation, its clients, and offering what it believes and aspires to be an exceptional customer experience.
Grab is certainly one of the world’s largest technology firms, and they clearly recognize the potential of ABCD Technology. These advantages provided Grab with significant data insight into its consumers and drivers on its network, resulting in the promotion of conventional forms of transportation in numerous countries. Real-time unified data may be leveraged to unleash automation functions and completely grasp client market demands.
As Southeast Asia’s Internet economy continues growing, expected to surpass USD$240 billion by 2025, this is just the beginning for Grab, and it will be fascinating to watch how far it will expand from ride-hailing to the everyday super app.