uber leaves southeast asiaLiving 

Uber pulls out – of Thailand & Southeast Asia

That’s something one doesn’t hear often in Thailand. A foreigner pulling out. Global transportation communication heavy weight Uber however now decided on said move, making it the third time (after China and Russia) in history that big bad Uber is turning its back on a huge user base and leaving it to their immediate rival.

In Southeast Asia that means Uber is selling all its business to Singapore based rival Grab. They won’t receive any money for it, but a stake (around 27%) in the company. Which is probably a good deal. Grab has a more active user base all over Southeast Asia and Uber often was perceived, at least here in Thailand, as something ‘hiso’ (upper class). Nevertheless, with Taxis sucking (there’s no other way to phrase that) Uber was at least somewhat of an alternative and it seems doubtful that all Uber drivers will also be able to continue working with Grab (even though many obviously use both services anyways).

-> Will India be the next market where Uber pulls out? <-

As Uber drivers have faced lots of problems here the fact that Uber pulls out might even make things a bit easier for those as Grab seems to be somewhat more excepted by other Taxi drivers (as they work together with Taxi companies). Let’s see if that also applies for Grab Cars, and not only Grab Taxi.

From a pure business standpoint this move also makes sense simply because Softbank, a huge financial investor in both, Grab and Uber, obviously benefits from those two companies not taking away business from each other. Grab’s revenue in Southeast Asia will increase while Uber’s losses will shrink which obviously comes in handy close to a rumored IPO.

I’m still curious to see what will happen now in regards to ride sharing / hailing applications here in the region. Will less competition lead to complacency by Grab? Will Grab improve services with a bigger user base and hence force ‘normal’ taxis into adapting and improving as well? Or will we see more local apps pop up now that one of the big competitors is out?

As I’ve never been a big fan of Uber (thx to their ‘controversial’ CEO and business tactics) I won’t miss them too much but the move certainly is worth noticing and following. #UberOut.

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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