Grab Holdings Inc., commonly known as Grab, is a Singaporean multinational ride-hailing company headquartered in Queenstown, Singapore. In addition to transportation, the company offers food delivery and digital payments services via a mobile app.
It currently operates in the Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan. It is Southeast Asia's first "decacorn" (a startup with a valuation of over US$10 billion).
The idea of creating a taxi-booking mobile app for Southeast Asia, similar to those being pioneered in the US, first came from Anthony Tan while he was at Harvard Business School. Motivated to make taxi rides safer in Malaysia, Tan launched the "My Teksi" app in Malaysia in 2012 together with Tan Hooi Ling, another Harvard graduate. MyTeksi was started with an initial grant of US$25,000 from Harvard Business School and Anthony Tan's personal capital. In 2014, Grab moved its company headquarters from Malaysia to Singapore.
GrabTaxi expanded to the Philippines in August 2013, and to Singapore and Thailand in October of the same year. In 2014, Grab in partnership with HDT Holdings, introduced 100 BYD e6 electric taxis in Singapore to form the biggest e-taxi fleet in Southeast Asia. In 2014, GrabTaxi further continued its growth and expansion to new countries: first launching in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam in February, and Jakarta in Indonesia in June. In May 2014, the company launched GrabCar as an alternative form of transportation that uses personal cars instead of taxis through a licensed partner in an effort to overcome the lack of public transportation during peak hours. In November 2014, GrabTaxi launched its first GrabBike service in Ho Chi Minh City as a trial service. By 2015, GrabBike's motorcycle service rides had spread throughout Vietnam and Indonesia. GrabBike also provides medical insurance for their passengers and drivers. In February 2015, the company launched GrabCar+ (a service that provides a fleet of higher-end cars) in the Philippines.
Rebranding and expansion of transportation services
In January 2016, GrabTaxi was rebranded as "Grab", which encompasses all the company's products: GrabCar (personal cars), GrabBike (motorcycle taxis), GrabHitch (carpooling) and GrabExpress (last mile delivery) with a new, redesigned logo. In October 2016, Grab added an in-app instant messaging feature called "GrabChat" to allow simple communication between riders and drivers. GrabChat can even translate messages if the set languages of the driver and passenger are different. In December 2016, Grab introduced "GrabShare", which offers taxi and car-sharing services.
In February 2017, Grab launched the GrabCoach service for booking large passenger vehicles. In March 2017, Grab introduced GrabFamily for young children below 7 years old, to fulfill regulations where children under 1.35 metres must be placed on a child booster seat or child restraint. The LTA ruled that private hire cars under Uber or Grab, are not exempted from child seat requirement. GrabFamily vehicles offer child restraint seats. Additionally, children under 1.35 metres are not allowed into private hire cars, and thus can only use either GrabFamily or a taxi. Later that month, Grab launched a simplified flat-fare structure, JustGrab. Since 24 May 2017, a new multiple stop rule charged $5 extra for addition of a stop outside the original booking.
On 9 March 2017, LTA introduced a new regulation of private hire cars called Private Hire Car Vocational Licence (PDVL), with effect from 1 July 2017, and tagged to the route number. This is to ensure the quality of private hire car services, and to prevent route fraud.
In March 2018, Grab merged with Uber's Southeast Asian operations. As part of the acquisition, Grab took over Uber’s assets and operations, including UberEats, which led to Grab’s expansion of food delivery services. Uber holds a 28% stake in Grab. Grab also launched their eScooter rental service known as GrabWheels in March 2018. In April 2018, Grab introduced the new car service, GrabCar Plus, which offers a larger vehicle in exchange for a 20% premium fee. The existing GrabCar (Economy), will be slowly phased out.
Expanding beyond transportation
In November 2016, Grab launched GrabPay payment service as a digital payment service among third-party merchants, allowing users to use the app for purchases outside of ride-hailing. In December 2016, Grab launched GrabRewards rewards programme.
In April 2017, Grab confirmed the acquisition of Indonesian online payment startup Kudo. The Kudo platform was integrated with Grab’s payment system and was Grab’s initial step into expanding fintech services.
In May 2018, Grab launched GrabFood food delivery service. In October 2018, Grab launched GrabExpress courier service. In 2018, Grab also launched Grab Financial, a financial arm of the company which offers payment, insurance, and financing services. In November 2018, Grab invested in Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group's Ovo platform to compete against rival Go-Jek. Ovo is Indonesia's leading digital e-payment platform. In December 2018, Grab launched GrabClub subscription programme.
In December 2020, Grab was granted a digital bank license from Singapore together with Singtel as a consortium that would allow Grab-Singtel to expand their financial services offerings.
In January 2021, Grab Financial Group, the company's financial services unit, raised more than $300 million from South Korea's Hanwha Asset Management.
In January 2019, Grab announced that it will build a new Singapore headquarters in one-north as it expands its operations. It is expected to be ready in the fourth quarter of 2020. The US$135M facility will be developed and managed by Ascendas Reit (now under CapitaLand). Grab held its ground-breaking ceremony for its future headquarters on 29 March 2019, during which it announced a new function to plan journeys and pay for public transportation fares. The headquarters will support a total of 3,000 employees, consolidating its office space currently spread around four locations.
In February 2019, the company launched GrabPet in Singapore. Under the new service, passengers with pets will be allocated to Grab drivers who have received training in pet-handling, and welcome animals in their vehicles.
In March 2019, Grab announced that they would be implementing a S$4 penalty charge for users who cancel Singapore bookings 5 minutes after it is made. It would also apply if the driver waits at the pickup point for longer than 5 minutes. Supposed to be implemented on 11 March 2019, the implementation of this policy was delayed to 25 March 2019. In Malaysia, the cancellation fee ranges from RM3 to RM5.
In April 2019, Grab launched its first cloud kitchen (called GrabKitchen) in Indonesia under its food delivery service. 50 GrabKitchens were set up in six Southeast Asian countries within a year. Grab also launched their super app in April 2019 to consolidate its online services into one platform, as well as launching Hotels and Tickets.
In November 2019, Grab announced they had partnered with JapanTaxi and Careem, allowing selected users to book rides using the Grab app in Japan and the Middle East respectively.
A month later, Grab, co-branded with Mastercard, launched a numberless payment card (being the first in Asia).
In February 2020, Grab launched GrabCare for healthcare workers in Singapore, starting with 24-hour services to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and National Centre for Infectious Diseases. This came after reports of increased discrimination due to the COVID-19 situation, making it difficult for healthcare workers to get rides. The service will eventually be expanded to other Singapore hospitals. Grab also expanded its GrabMart (daily essentials delivery) and GrabAssistant (on-demand concierge) services to more cities and countries to meet increased demand for online food and grocery deliveries. To support its driver- and merchant-partners during the outbreak, Grab committed US$40 million to relief initiatives across Southeast Asia.
In December 2020, Grab is reportedly in talks with GoJek to combine their businesses in what would be the biggest Internet merger in Asia.
On December 4, 2020, it was announced a consortium of Grab and Singapore Telecommunications had been awarded a digital banking licence in Singapore.