Grab profitability imminent
Unit aiming to be in the black next year
Grab Thailand is aiming to attain profitability next year, which marks a decade of operations in the country, driven by its ride-hailing services and online grocery shopping.
"We are steering towards profitability in 2023, when we mark the 10-year anniversary of operations," Worachat Luxkanalode, executive director of Grab Thailand, said at the firm's GrabNEXT conference on Wednesday.
He said the company will reduce operational costs through the use of technology while the map used for its services will be further optimised.
The company expects to see a rising number of ride-hailing users due to the return of foreign tourists following the country's reopening, Mr Worachat said. The firm's transportation services now cover 66 provinces.
Mr Worachat said online food delivery service GrabFood is still generating a good deal of traffic, particularly during lunchtime and on the weekend driven by family orders. Demand for the online grocery delivery service GrabMart is strong as customers are looking for ways to reduce their fuel costs.
Grab has become a super app platform, which plays an important role in society and contributes to the sustainable digital economy, he said.
The platform is helpful to increase income for eateries while enticing many people who want to open food shops only to sell online, he said. It also benefits food delivery drivers, particularly during the lockdown and people who wish to stay at home.
According to Mr Worachat, Grab has hundreds of thousands of driver partners, 71% of whom have earnings from the platform as extra income.
"We serve the gig economy where drivers can enjoy freedom and inclusiveness as people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and seniors can join the platform," he said.
Among Grab's driver partners, 1.5% are boomers, 26% are from Gen X, 48.5% are from Gen Y and 24% are classified as Gen Z.
The platform has more than 3,700 drivers aged over 60 and the number of them is expected to double this year.
Grab also offers a loan of up to 100,000 baht with a low interest rate for these drivers.
The platform also aims to offer 3 billion baht in loans for 18,000 food vendors while striving to get senior food merchants on board by providing some digital learning courses for them.
As one third of the Thai population will become senior citizens by 2040, "this is an interesting opportunity for us", said Mr Worachat.
Speaking at the event, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin said the cabinet has pushed through a bill aimed at facilitating informal workers and freelancers.
The bill is now being vetted by the Council of State and is expected to be enforced within this administration, he said.
A special fund would be established under the legislation that would provide loans for independent workers with initial funding of 100 million baht, he said.
He said another law is being initiated to force firms to put funds equivalent to 5% of their salary expense into a fund that can be used to pay staff that are laid off.