The ride-hailing start-ups in emerging markets are entering new areas.
Companies like Grab and Go-Jek in Southeast Asia or Careem in the Middle East are taking drastic steps into areas other than shipping, hoping to make both consumers and businesses dependent depending on their application.
Careem wants to “provide you with a platform that meets all your daily needs,” CEO Mudassir Sheikha said in an interview with. CNN Money.
His company has launched a food delivery service in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Saudi Arabia, Qatar and will expand the payment service in the next few months. Sheikha said Careem has 25 million users and claims to be the largest Middle East Internet service company based on the number of employees.
The majority of people in 14 countries where Careem operates do not have a credit card, and only a small portion of transactions are made online. But that is changing. Market research group Research and Market predicts that online shopping in the Middle East will double by 2020. Careem wants part of that “pie”. Sheikha hopes businesses will include their services in Careem’s app and consumers will use Careem’s Wallet to pay for those services.
Sheikha thinks that Careem’s advantage is the data and information it has provided customers over the past six years. Because many places in the Middle East do not have a clear address, Carrem has developed its own mapping service based on Google Maps to make it easier for drivers and customers to find each other.
The company also created a messaging platform capable of sending notifications to users in every country it operates in, a function that took years to achieve because of the messy rules about messaging. in every country.
According to Sheikha, a platform that makes it possible for people to access these services is extremely valuable to companies looking to bring their businesses online.
Towards a “super application”
Careem’s expansion plan is similar to Grab’s goal of becoming a “super application”, a Singapore-based ride-start startup.
Grab, which has been very prominent recently due to its acquisition of all Uber operations in eight Southeast Asian countries, has also provided mobile payment and food delivery services.
Grab announced it will publish the source code for outside developers and add a food delivery service to the app’s set of services. The new application will include news update services and content such as restaurant reviews, short films and video games. Like Careem, Grab’s goal is to make people use Grab for as many jobs as possible.
“With just one app, people can make reservations on transportation services, order food, schedule food deliveries, find out their financial situation and find out how to save money. for my education, ”Tan Hooi Ling, Grab’s co-founder, told reporters at a technology forum recently held in Hong Kong.
Movie tickets and makeup
Also in Southeast Asia, Grab’s rival Go-Jek is also making similar efforts.
Go-Jek, a company based in Jakarta, Indonesia, wants to be “an lifestyle app that people find,” Nadiem Makarim, CEO and founder of Go-Jek, stated in his speech. Representing Go-Jek’s expansion into new areas.
In addition to the ride-hailing app, Go-Jek users can also buy movie tickets, connect to pharmacies and order customized hair and makeup services. The startup also said it would add an online video service through a subscription subscription.
Grab and Go-Jek are able to move into other services because users already have the habit of accessing these applications several times a day, according to Xiaofeng Wang, a Singapore-based researcher who is currently working. for Forrester Research Group.
It is important that the ride-hailing app also provides payment services. “Once you have an online payment platform, you can build anything based on it,” said Kitty Fok, an analyst at IDC Group based in Beijing.
“Super applications” have developed similarly in China. Tencent’s WeChat, originally a messaging app, gradually became a platform where users could pay bills, share updates and photos with friends, make payments. right at the store, call a car and even make an appointment with a doctor.
In the US and Europe, by contrast, consumers are accustomed to accessing different applications to perform different tasks – using Instagram and Snapchat to share updates with friends, Venmo or Paypal to Pay online, Uber or Lyft to book a car.
Uber has started providing food delivery services with Uber Eats, but so far has not shown its ambition to expand into areas such as Grab or Go-Jek.
Startups in emerging markets have an advantage: they won’t be overly supervised about data sharing and protecting users’ personal information.
For developed markets, according to Fok, “Facebook and Google have data, but they will have to be very careful about sharing data, even with business partners.”
Minh Quang / CNN Money
* Source: Partner