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Grab, Ping An form JV to deliver online healthcare services in South-east Asia

GRAB said on Thursday that it has formed a joint venture (JV) with Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company (or Ping An Good Doctor) to deliver "transformative online healthcare services in South-east Asia."

Ping An - one of China's largest healthcare services platforms - is a recent investor in Grab. It participated in the ridehailing company's US$2 billion funding round led by Toyota that was announced in early August.

The JV is said to be the first of its kind to operate regionally. It will provide integrated medical services such as artificial intelligence-assisted online medical consultations, medicine delivery and appointment bookings through an online platform.

The JV will work with governments, hospitals, doctors and other key stakeholders, and will utilise GrabPay, Grab's digital wallet, to complete transactions. The service will launch in select countries in the first-quarter of 2019, said Grab.

With this JV, Ping An becomes the latest partner to join GrabPlatform. Launched in July, GrabPlatform is a suite of technologies that enables partners to access components of Grab’s technology (including transport, logistics and payments) and leverage Grab’s user base and distribution network to create products or services for South-east Asia.

Jakarta-based HappyFresh is the first partner of GrabPlatform. Together, they have created on-demand grocery delivery service, GrabFresh, which was made available as a beta service in Jakarta from July, and will be available in Thailand and Malaysia by the end of 2018.

On Thursday, Grab said that by 2030, South-east Asia will become the world’s fourth-largest economy with rapidly-growing healthcare needs. "The region faces critical healthcare challenges, such as a lack of adequate medical infrastructure in some countries, a rural-urban divide when it comes to the accessibility of doctors and inefficiencies on the consumer end when needing to see the doctor."

Grab added that in Indonesia for instance, there is only one physician for nearly 5,000 people, a ratio that is significantly lower than high-income countries with up to three or four physicians per 1,000 people. "Efficient and timely healthcare solutions delivered digitally have the potential to transform the industry and improve medical outcomes," Grab said.