Grab will invest $100M to tap Myanmar’s growing digital market

Grab plans to strengthen its presence in Yangon and work with local governments to launch ride-hailing services in other cities in Myanmar

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On-demand transportation and mobile payments platform, Grab, has committed to invest $100 million over the next three years in Myanmar. The company aims to deepen its presence and intends to expand to more cities across the country. Grab will also roll out other services like in-app digital payment feature GrabPay and claims to build a team of 200 professionals for managing the expansion efforts.

In March this year Grab entered the country with a beta launch in the Capital Yangon. Just months after Grab started operating in Myanmar, Uber entered the market in May with the licensed taxi service and was backed by the national government. Though it used the same model as Grab, the US based ride-hailing service was only going to extend its service with licensed taxi drivers. According to media reports, the government welcomed this move as it posed as an opportunity to accelerate digitization and not challenge the existing taxi service.

The Singapore based ride-sharing service claims that since its launch, it has become the leading ride-hailing provider and one of the city’s most popular transport options with 25,000 unique bookings on the platform every single day, the largest licensed taxi network in the industry, and has over 6,000 screened and licensed drivers across the city.

Anthony Tan, Co-founder and CEO, Grab, said, “Grab in Yangon has taken off at an incredible pace. This demonstrates the massive and immediate potential of this fast-growing market.”

“Our commitment to address transport challenges with locally-suited and innovative solutions that create more social and economic opportunity works well for both Grab and our local communities. This is already one of our fastest-growing markets, and we are very excited to deepen our commitment into Myanmar.”

Not too long ago the ride-hailing platform had announced an investment plan for Indonesia, where it had committed to invest a minimum of $100 million in startups and Indonesian entrepreneurial companies to develop an ecosystem of firms that align with its business.

In the coming months, Grab plans to strengthen its presence in Yangon and work with local governments to launch ride-hailing services in other cities in Myanmar. Grab will also expand its 24/7 call center capabilities to ensure that drivers and riders in Myanmar can rely on timely and effective support throughout their Grab experience.

The company will also be exploring opportunities in the corporate travel segment. In response to keen interest from corporates since launching in Yangon, Grab has recently started offering its corporate solution, Grab for Work. It states that more than 8,000 corporations in the region are already using Grab for Work to manage employees’ local and regional transport expenses.

There is no doubt that the Singapore based company has initiated these investment plans in the wake of its recent $2 billion funding raised from Didi Chuxing and SoftBank. Though it claims to hold a 95% market share of third party cab haling services and 71% in private vehicle hailing in the region, it seems that the company wants to get a competitive edge over its Western rival, Uber.

The company is also planning to make GrabPay, its in-app cashless payment feature, available to local passengers in the months ahead. It states that it wants to move more people in the country into the digital economy and drive the adoption of mobile payment across the country. The cab-hailing platform claims that its driver-partners have already started accepting cashless payment via GrabPay from international travelers.

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