Focus on mapping technology, lending and Southeast Asia • The Register



Singaporean super-app Grab has signaled plans to expand its digital banking segment and strengthen its mapping technology to improve its ridesharing services, after a disappointing start on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

In an interview on the sidelines of the US market opening yesterday, Grab CEO Anthony Tan said Nikkei Asia that creating better digital maps of the areas in which it operates is the number one technology that the superapp company will focus on over the next decade.

“We’re investing in mapping because it’s a very local technology: local technology on the driver’s side, the merchant side, and the consumer side gives us an edge over other peers,” Tan said. The company’s second priority is figuring out how to deliver errands more efficiently for partners and consumers – which is why the mapping effort will focus on finding places where drivers can stop.

Dr Jan Ondrus, researcher in business models and digital ecosystems at ESSEC Business School in Singapore, said The register better maps make sense to Grab, but he’s not sure if the business can improve on Google Maps.

Tan also said digital banking and financial services – especially the GrabPay e-wallet and the company’s lending services – will also benefit from an additional investment. Ondrus said Grab won’t be the only one chasing these markets, but could have a head start.

Tan said Grab’s new initiatives are “all … based on technology that can scale across countries.”

But for now, Tan has hinted that he thinks it’s best to stay focused on Southeast Asia. “We’re saying internally, ‘Why do we want to go out when everyone is trying to get into Southeast Asia? “”, He reflected.

Grab’s CEO explained his strategy in more detail:

The super app was launched in 2012 and now works in 465 cities in eight countries in Southeast Asia. Originally a taxi app, it rode the waves of COVID by adding services like food and grocery delivery, payments, insurance and even loans.

Yesterday it made its debut on the NASDAQ market. Readers who wish to become viewers may see an obviously angry Tan clapping loudly for the economics of concerts as it rings at 11:45 p.m. in this video:

Youtube video

The listing is the largest ever by a Southeast Asian company and has raised $ 4.5 billion.

The IPO has been watched closely due to Grab’s use of a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) to conduct a listing. List SPACS, then invest in a business – a path to public ownership that delivers the benefits without much of the scrutiny required to float independently.

The system, however, looks good enough for the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Tan said. Regarding local regulators in Southeast Asia, Tan said the company’s approach is to work in a very collaborative manner.

“We have helped the Malaysian government distribute the COVID relief money to the people,” he said.

Local relationships appear to have benefited Grab, as have local knowledge and a better understanding of the needs of the people. When Uber expanded to Southeast Asia, Grab was already well established. Uber eventually sold its entire regional effort to Grab, admitting it couldn’t beat home advantage.

Investors weren’t enthusiastic about Grab’s debut as a public entity. The stock closed at US $ 8.75 after its first day on the market – a twenty percent drop from opening prices. ®



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