Grab waits on fintech licence

Grab waits on fintech licence

BoT approval needed for app's omni-usage

Grab Thailand's country head, Tarin Thaniyavarn, says the Grab vision for mobility is to enable a multi-modal future.
Grab Thailand's country head, Tarin Thaniyavarn, says the Grab vision for mobility is to enable a multi-modal future.

Grab Thailand aims for its single mobile app to handle transport, on-demand food delivery, logistics, cashless payment and financial service.

"Grab's vision is to be an everyday app for consumers," said Tarin Thaniyavarn, country head of Grab Thailand.

The mission, however, cannot be accomplished until the company acquires the missing piece of the puzzle: a microfinance licence from the Bank of Thailand.

"We are working with the [central bank] and waiting for the e-wallet licence to be approved," said Mr Tarin, who has overseen the company for three months.

In Thailand, Grab started in transport with GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabXL, GrabRent and GrabRodDaeng (in Chiang Mai), before expanding to delivery services with GrabBike.

The company yesterday officially launched GrabFood, an on-demand food delivery service. GrabFood aims to become one of Southeast Asia's largest and most popular food delivery services.

The service is available for food outlets within a 5km radius, with personalised recommendations for nearby restaurants within the app, real-time location traceability and GrabChat, an in-app chat feature for personalised orders.

Following its soft launch in December last year, GrabFood has some 4,000 merchant partners.

Daily orders in Thailand have grown by more than 440% during the first quarter of this year, Mr Tarin said, adding that merchant partners are seeing increases in revenue by tapping into Grab's large user base.

The service area for GrabFood will soon cover the entirety of Bangkok, he said.

Until the end of this month, food orders will have no delivery fees.

Grab services in Thailand are available in 16 provinces.

The company aims to reach 20 provinces by this year, with the service in Hua Hin (Prachuap Khiri Khan) to be launched on May 17.

"Our three businesses are transport solutions, delivery solutions and payments/financial solutions, all based on the core values of safety, accessibility for all, and community," Mr Tarin said.

He said Grab's vision for mobility is to enable a multi-modal future that serves people's first- and last-mile needs seamlessly. Soon consumers will be able to mix and match different transport options based on their travel preferences and budget.

By integrating public and private transport options in one platform, customers can choose to ride across and pay for multiple modes of transport in a single journey, all through the one Grab app.

A cashless society is facilitated, with Grab expanding the range of cashless payment offerings through GrabPay, the mobile wallet for consumers, merchants and drivers, Mr Tarin said.

"The application creates new economic opportunities for millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers, drivers and small businesses," he said.

More than 6 million micro-entrepreneurs across Southeast Asia have been enabled by Grab's platform to date, he said, adding that Grab aims to enable 100 million micro-entrepreneurs by 2020.

The new Grab app will be launched on May 21.

In October last year, Grab celebrated 1 billion rides across Southeast Asia, but Mr Tarin refused to disclose how many of the rides were in Thailand.

He said Grab surveyed consumers in the region last year and found that they wanted a one-stop everyday lifestyle app that complements their daily lives.

Grab has been in talks with the Thai government for three years and continues to work with the Transport Department to make ride-hailing services legal, Mr Tarin said, adding that several countries in the region have already legalised such services.

Mr Tarin refused to discuss Grab's recent regional acquisition of Uber, a move that positioned Grab as the dominant ride-hailing service in the market, but he added that everyone must become partners in the end.

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