Besides cars and motorbikes, the company that offers ride-hailing is encroaching on another form of transportation, bicycles.

Diversity of services

Last week, Grab announced it would soon introduce its ride-sharing app for its GrabCycle electric bike and motorcycle. The app is expected to launch in the first half of this year, first in Singapore. This is a project implemented by Grab Ventures, a subsidiary of Grab specializing in the investment of projects.

Until now, in Singapore, there are companies specializing in rental services of bicycles, electric motorcycles, and other personal mobility devices such as oBike, Gbikes, Anywheel, PopScoot. These companies also operate under the model of start-ups (start-ups), renting through mobile applications. However, each company has an application, customers sometimes feel confused when having to install too many applications on their phones.

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With GrabCycle, customers seem to have no more trouble. They just need to open the app and they can rent a car from any company. The other companies still provide a core service of car rental, GrabCycle simply gathers their customers together.

It is not difficult to understand Grab’s high status in the vehicle industry. Last September, Grab is said to have invested a sizable portion of the oBike’s $ 45 million fundraising round. In January 2018, Grab and oBike signed a strategic partnership agreement, which included the incorporation of the GrabPay payment platform into the oBike application.

Just launched in January 2017, the bike sharing app oBike has more than 1 million users in Singapore (20% of the country’s population) and has expanded to 24 countries and territories in both Asia and beyond. Europe such as Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, UK, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong.

In developed countries with public transport systems and limited private cars (by being very strict in distributing car registration rates to households) such as Singapore, people mainly take the subway and walk. Having public bicycles at cheap rental rates instead of walking seems to be very attractive to residents. On the other hand, 20% of bus routes in Singapore have a distance of 3 km or less, so people can replace buses with bikes.

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Grab also signed with entertainment island management company Sentosa to deploy 10 GrabCycle parking lots to avoid indiscriminate parking on the island. This is common in China, where many bike-sharing apps work.

“Grab wants to partner with all transport-sharing companies. With this partnership, we will study all the ways people move, build new bike paths and parking lots to suit their interests, ”said Ruben Lai, Head of Grab Ventures. Interview with local newspaper The Straits Times.

New land, no rivals

The company also signed a cooperation agreement with YCH, Singapore’s leading logistics, transportation and warehousing group. Obviously, these are steps closer to Grab’s vision of becoming a multimedia transportation platform.

Grab’s move with oBike as well as that of Didi Chuxing, the leading ride-hailing app in China, has merged ride-sharing app Ofo into its platform. This helps oBike to be more competitive in the context of Singapore, where oBike shows signs of inferiority to Chinese competitors Ofo and Mobike.

Currently, Grab’s core area is still sharing a slice of the pie from taxi companies, traditional motorbike taxi individuals and shipping companies through GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabExpress, GrabHitch, GrabShare, and GrabCoach. , GrabShuttle, GrabFood, GrabNow, JustGrab.

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Grab has a presence in eight Southeast Asian countries, with 86 million people downloading the ride-hailing app and 2.6 million contract drivers. However, Grab does not yet have a significant foothold in Indonesia, the region’s most populous country, where local company Go Jek operates effectively.

Many economic analysts believe that the acquisition of regional competitors will help Grab and Go Jek cut promotions, subsidies, and costs to build user habits and the market. These companies will focus on making more profit, meaning there will no longer be “cheap as giving” rides.

Trang Le / Nikkei
* Source: Investment bridge

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