01 August 2017

TechCrunch: “Grab gets $2B from Didi and SoftBank to fuel bid to defeat Uber in Southeast Asia”

Essentially, both Didi and SoftBank are doubling down on the belief that Grab has what it takes to defeat Uber in Southeast Asia, the same way that Didi did in China when Uber agreed to sell its local business last August. That hope of defeating the U.S. firm was reignited this month when Uber agreed to sell its business in Russia to local rival Yandex.


Grab operates in 36 cities across seven countries in Southeast Asia, where it claims over 50 million downloads from users and 1.1 million drivers on its platform. Its services are primarily focused on licensed taxis and private cars, but Grab also offers motorbike taxis, shuttle bus services and carpooling in a selection of countries.

Jon Russell

Interesting dynamic in the ride-sharing market: after trying to hyperexpand and control the worldwide market, Uber is being forced into a series of tactical retreats across the board. After ceding China to Didi, Russia to Yandex, the latest news show rivals are challenging Uber in Southeast Asia and Didi is also investing in Taxify, an Eastern European startup. The Chinese company seems intent on challenging Uber on multiple fronts, now that their American rival is hampered by internal scandals, lost its CEO and is dealing with a complicated lawsuit brought on by Waymo.

I have long been skeptical about Uber’s ability to achieve the massive dominance they desired. As it stands, the ride-sharing landscape is heading towards a ‘Divide and Rule Game’, where big players settle into an uneasy truce, dividing the market among themselves by geographical regions. Uber will probably end up being the leading player in North America and (maybe) Western Europe, after the dust settles – as long as other, bigger rivals like Google don’t enter the game.

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