InDrive, a global mobility and urban services platform, is moving aggressively in a bid to increase its market share in Thailand, with plans to offer a low service fee for drivers and expand its service coverage to more cities to capitalise on a market estimated to be worth US$1.3 billion in 2023.
Mr Varoontape, left, and Mr Ermoshin attend a press conference where it was announced that the platform had received formal accreditation from the Department of Land Transport to provide ride-hailing services in Thailand.
The platform plans to expand its presence to eight more Thai cities in addition to its existing operations in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya.
"We have a decent amount of employees in Thailand who are ready to develop our presence and provide support to our users. We believe in expanding our operations in Thailand as our business grows," Varoontape Tanlamai, inDrive's head of business development for Thailand, said.
Mr Varoontape said the platform was accredited by the Department of Land Transport (DLT) on Sept 1 to provide ride-hailing services in Thailand.
The dominant players in the local ride-hailing market are Grab, Line Man Taxi and AirAsia.
In June, Estonian super-app Bolt revealed it is investing 300 million baht to strengthen its ride-hailing footprint in Thailand as part of its Southeast Asian growth strategy.
Global data and intelligence business platform Statista estimated revenue for the Asean ride-hailing industry at US$8.15 billion this year, growing by 6% annually to exceed $10 billion by 2027.
Thailand is considered a huge market for the ride-hailing industry, with a revenue projection of $1.3 billion in 2023, he said.
Based on the figures, Mr Varoontape said there is still room for competition and growth in this segment and the inDrive platform aims to be among the top players in the country.
The inDrive platform offers car and motorcycle ride-hailing services. It allows passengers to choose their preferred driver and vice versa.
When passengers confirm their ride request, they will be presented with a list of available drivers. They can choose any driver that meets their preferences, such as the driver's rating, vehicle model and estimated arrival time.
Meanwhile, drivers can also freely choose the most appropriate rides. They will be notified of ride requests with details such as fare, pick-up point and destination.
Drivers can select any ride based on that information and can ignore requests if they deem them unsuitable without being penalised.
To ensure fairness, fares are determined based on the guidelines set by the DLT.
Currently, drivers can use inDrive to make money without facing the platform's service fee. The company will implement a low service fee of 9.99% for each ride in the near future, allowing drivers to earn more.
"We are now licensed and in compliance with the law, meaning all doors are open for us for further development in line with the government strategy and support," Roman Ermoshin, director of business development for APAC at inDrive, said.
The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California in the US with operations in over 40 countries. The app has been downloaded 175 million times and was the No.2 downloaded mobility app last year.
In addition to ride-hailing, inDrive provides an expanding list of urban services, including intercity transportation, freight delivery, task assistance, courier delivery and employment search.
Mr Varoontape said the current economic situation poses significant challenges, especially to tech firms, as consumers are more conscious about spending amid the rising cost of living.
The platform's lean business model and operations allow it to adapt to the challenges.