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Grab expects to double revenue in 2019

Sales to hit US$2b next year as it integrates the acquisition of Uber's regional business and delves deeper into new areas from bike-sharing to digital payments

Ms Tan says Grab will make a big push in Indonesia, where revenue has tripled so far this year and it has a 65% share in the ride-hailing market.


SINGAPORE'S Grab outlined ambitious fundraising plans and predicted that sales will double next year, adding to evidence that South-east Asia's most valuable startup is expanding well beyond its roots as a ride-hailing app while intensifying a rivalry with Indonesia's Go-Jek.

Revenue will double to US$2 billion in 2019 as it integrates the acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc's regional business and delves deeper into new areas from bike-sharing to digital payments. It's on track to raise US$3 billion of funding before the end of this year, co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said at a Bloomberg event in Singapore. That includes US$1 billion from Toyota Motor Corp, the Japanese carmaker's biggest investment in ride-hailing to date.

Grab is expanding rapidly throughout South-east Asia, home to more than 600 million people, to become the region's largest transportation platform and leverage its size after the Uber deal. Its funding turns up the heat on Go-Jek, which has announced plans to expand beyond its home turf and enter Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Now, Grab is exploring forays into fields as diverse as grocery delivery and finance to healthcare, Ms Tan said. "There's more greenfield than in any other region in the world because technology hasn't been able to truly shape the lives of the South-east Asia region yet," she said. "The second big area is to increase our operational presence in Indonesia."

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Six-year-old Grab is moving fast against Jakarta-based Go-Jek, which started out as a motorbike taxi-booking service in 2015 before tacking on more than a dozen consumer services that let users pay bills, order food and buy movie tickets.

Ms Tan said Grab will make a big push in Indonesia, where revenue has tripled so far this year and it has a 65 per cent share in the ride-hailing market. Food delivery GrabFood, currently available in 30 cities, will be expanded to more than 130 cities by the end of this year, she added.

Backed by investors such as Japan's SoftBank Group Corp and China's Didi Chuxing, Singapore-based Grab is using its capital to expand both geographically and business-wise. The Uber deal cemented Grab's grip on ride-hailing in the region, especially in its home market. That has been accompanied by increasing complaints, with users bemoaning prices, delays and lapses in customer service.

Ms Tan said some of the issues revolve around integrating its biggest ever acquisition. "Hindsight is always 20/20. To be honest, we did make mistakes. We know that," she said. "As we were learning things, we were making changes on the go. We have and will be continuing to make investments to learn."

Since the Uber deal was announced in March, the company has launched a venture arm and opened its platform to fellow startups that can offer more services to its customers. In March, Grab launched GrabCycle, a marketplace for bike-sharing services, and e-scooter rental service Popscoot. Such fledgling endeavours will help the company hit US$1 billion revenue for the first time this year, it has said previously. BLOOMBERG

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