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向微信和美团看齐,网约车平台Grab的“Super APP”野心

互联网经济国际资讯

向微信和美团看齐,网约车平台Grab的“Super APP”野心

近年,成立于2012年的 O2O 公司 Grab 在东南亚网约车市场名声大噪,不过,这家新加坡公司的野心远不止于此。公司强调,其终极目标是打造功能多样的“生活类 Super APP”。

在上个月举行的新闻发布会上,公司 CEO 陈炳耀(Anthony Tan)和产品负责人 Jerald Singh 明确表示,Grab 已不再将自己定位为纯粹的出行公司。

成立之初的 Grab 是个出租车预约 APP,主要为马来西亚吉隆坡用户提供方便、安全的出租车预约服务。

随后几年里,它相继进入新加坡、菲律宾、泰国等市场,并不断推出新功能。如今,用户可通过Grab 的 APP 叫外卖,预约私家车、摩托车、自行车,还可使用其电子钱包服务(支持线上和线下操作)。此外,公司还成立了风投分支。

在发布会上,Grab 上线了两款新产品。一个是开放平台 GrabPlatform,第三方可通过平台提供的 API 和 SDK 利用 Grab 的现成资源;另一个是食品杂货购买平台、同时也提供即时配送服务 的 GrabFresh。

Grab 在东南亚的地位无人能敌,尤其是在其收购直接竞争对手 Uber 之后(尽管新加坡监管机构认为,此次收购具有反竞争性质)。Grab 透露,其手机 APP 下载量已超过 1亿,业务扩张至8个国家的225座城市,累计促成出行订单超过20亿笔。

近期,Grab 公布了其打造“生活类 Super APP”的计划,希望向微信和美团看齐,成为一个跨领域、渗透日常生活的全能型服务商。“我们的目标是,为东南亚市场打造一个日常生活服务类 APP,在用户需要时提供服务,甚至在用户使用之前就要布局好服务,”Singh 说。

“Super APP”在东南亚的可行性

局外人或许会把东南亚看作一个整体,东盟也一直在朝着这个方向努力,然而,事实却并非如此。

在新加坡、马来西亚、印度尼西亚、菲律宾、越南等东南亚国家,人们说不同的语言、读不同的媒体、有着不同的出行方式。即使在印尼国内,市场也高度分化。

尽管如此,仍有几家公司在整个东南亚地区都收获了人气。Facebook 就是其中之一。印尼是Facebook 全球范围内的第四大市场,在当地,来自不同教育和社会经济背景的人都是其用户。我们认为,Grab 未来也会加入这一阵营。目前,Grab 已成为东南亚一线城市无所不在的存在。不仅如此,由于在不同地区推出了不同功能,Grab 的产品更接地气,在公司看来,这是它与国内外竞争对手相比,所具备的独特优势。

通过 Grab 的开放平台,小型商户能够更好地利用 Grab 庞大的用户群,Grab 也能通过与第三方分成创收。此外,由于第三方会提供更多的高频日常服务,用户粘性也将有所提升。

“无论合作方是谁,我们都会思考,能否给对方创造价值,”陈炳耀说,并表示已与电商平台 Shopee 和印尼电子支付平台 Ovo 达成合作。

愿取“中国经”

当有记者问到,公司是否会向地区外扩张,继而进军大中华区时,陈炳耀说:“公司在北京设立了一个很大的工程中心,而且,公司的愿景是要推动东南亚的发展。”

接着,他又指出 Grab 的使命是把大家联系起来,拉近彼此之间的距离。并补充说,公司已经向很多中小企业和创业者伸出援手,这也是他本人希望全力做好的事。他不无感怀地说到,虽然 Grab 在中国有些产业,但是公司不能对东南亚地区庞大的贫困人口坐视不理,需要帮助他们改善经济状况。

在36氪国际站 KrASIA 提及公司是否会对标微信、美团等巨头打造 Super APP 时,陈炳耀回答说:“那是自然。我们当然会向中国取经。”他说:“放眼全球,我们不仅向美国取经,也向印度取经。我觉得妙处就在,现在大家都彼此联系,我为人人师,人人为我师。”

他说:“我正好在美国待过一段时间,也曾在一个会上向大家分享自己的想法。很多美国公司在场,不时发出赞叹。”并补充道,很多他接触过的美国公司都还没有“Super APP”的概念。

可以肯定的是,一旦 Super APP 的想法付诸实践,Grab 就会将众多信息和洞见联系起来,从而创造更多收入。

为了说明了他的看法,陈炳耀举例到:如果用户饿了,既可以用 GrabFood 从麦当劳点餐,也可以通过 Grab 打车到最近的一家麦当劳,不然还可以走路过去,用 GrabPay 付钱。并补充说,利用 Grab 旗下的 GrabFresh,用户甚至知道汉堡包的配方。在这三种情形下,Grab 对用户的了解都更为深入,达到 Facebook 等非本地化应用无法企及的一个层次。

勇者生而不惧战

“Grab 已经是久经沙场的老手了。”在被问及进入已有企业分食的在线零售市场时,陈炳耀如是说。“老实讲,我们喜欢竞争。竞争让公司的创新速度更快。”

回想2012年,Grab 还处于初期阶段,新闻发布会都是在一些不起眼的场所或者咖啡厅举行。如今,公司在新加坡有四处办公地点。2014年,Grab 获得 Vertex Ventures 投资的一千万美元注资。彼时,由 Rocket Internet 支持的打车软件 Easy Taxi 以及 Uber 都还是其竞争对手。

2016年,Easy Taxi 退出东南亚市场,早已淡出公众视野。今年三月,Grab 宣布并购 Uber 业务,有效遏制了 Uber 在东南亚的扩张。不过,新加坡反垄断机构竞争与消费者委员会(CCCS)认为,这次交易削弱了竞争,威胁科以重罚,否决此并购案。

陈炳耀表示:“其实,市场仍然极具竞争性,我们还有很多对手”。他说:“很多竞争对手都已经宣布准备进场,甚至已经进场。我认为,出行这一块的竞争仍然十分激烈。老实说,我们希望竞争再激烈一些,从而可以不断创新,以吸引客户。”

陈炳耀提到的竞争对手可能包括:印尼的 Go-Jek、印度的 Ola、以及新加坡后起之秀 Ryde 等。

政府关系

陈炳耀说:“我们的一言一行向来严守法规,而且会继续保持,这一点毋庸置疑。对我们来说,继续配合政府工作非常重要。”

自始至终,Grab 都与陆路交通管理局、旅游局等各类政府部门积极配合。

发出正确的信号

迄今为止,Grab 已经从滴滴出行、软银、纪源资本、Vertex Ventures 投资等赫赫有名的风投企业筹资51亿美元以上。并购后,Uber 成为 Grab 董事会成员之一。

不过,用陈炳耀的话来说,正是此前丰田对 Grab 高达10亿美元的投资才“产生了巨大的动力”。他认为,日本汽车龙头对 Grab 的信任无疑对其他投资人和企业释放出正确的信号。他拒绝对 Grab 目前的估值发表评论。

问及将来的 IPO 规划,陈炳耀称并无立即上市的必要。不过,他们正尽力做好每一步,稳扎稳打,步步为营。这样,万一什么时候萌发了 IPO 的打算,也可以从容展开。

Founded in 2012, Singapore-based online-to-offline mobile app company Grab might have made its name within the e-hailing space in Southeast Asia, but it has loftier ambitions than that, driving home the message of its ‘everyday super app’ vision with new features aplenty.

Speaking to partners and reporters at a press conference today, Grab CEO Anthony Tan and Jerald Singh, the Head of Product at the firm, made it abundantly clear that the company no longer sees itself as merely a company within the transport category.

The company started off as a taxi-booking app service in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, enabling customers to book taxis safely and conveniently.

In the following years, it entered Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and other markets, and rolled out various features from providing users with the ability to book private cars, motorcycles and bicycles, to an e-wallet that works virtually and physically, as well as a food delivery service, a venture capital arm, among others.

Today, it also launched GrabPlatform, an open platform that allows third partypartners to tap on its resources through a suite of APIs and SDKs, and GrabFresh,a way for Grab users to buy groceries and get them delivered quickly.

Its position in Southeast Asia is unrivalled, especially after completing its merger with direct competitor Uber, which has now been deemed “anti-competitive” by a Singaporean watchdog. In a release, Grab noted that it has surpassed over 100 million mobile downloads, gained a presence in 225 cities and eight countries, and helped process over two billion rides.

Grab recently announced its “everyday super app’ vision, referring to its plan to become versatile and commonplace across sectors, akin to becoming the region’s WeChat and Meituan. “Our goal is for one Southeast Asian app to offer all the daily essentials you need, anytime you need it, and even before you know you need it,” said Singh.

Why would it work in Southeast Asia?

While some outsiders might think of Southeast Asia as one unified region, despite perpetual efforts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), this is hardly the case.

Among most Southeast Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, people speak different languages, consume different types of media, and commute differently. Even within Indonesia, the market is deeply fragmented.

However, there are a few outliers that have somehow succeeded in being popular across the region. One, for example, is Facebook. With Indonesia being home to its fourth biggest community in the world, it becomes a service used by people of varying educational and socio-economic backgrounds across the region. Another, we argue, would be Grab. Not only because it’s a ubiquitous service found in all first-tier cities in Southeast Asia, its features change according to the location, allowing for further localisation, a strategy claimed by the company to be one of its unique advantages while competing with its rivals, be them from home or abroad.

By allowing third-party partners to get on board its platform, small merchants benefit by gaining an increased reach to Grab’s massive audiences, and Grab, too, benefits, both financially through a revenue-share model and toward higher user retainment since users would be able to use Grab for varied activities, all of which occurring almost every day.

“Whoever we partner, do we offer value to them?” posed Tan, naming examples like Shopee and Ovo as partners that they have onboard.

The Chinese inspiration

“For us, we have an engineering centre in Beijing, and [it’s] a large one, again as you can see, our vision is to drive Southeast Asia forward,” said Tan, when asked by a Hong Kong-based reporter if the firm would ever expand outside of the region and into Greater China.

He continued that Grab’s mission is to connect people and bring them closer. He added that the firm has helped numerous small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs, and that’s something he wants to focus on. While there is poverty in China, he shared empathetically, Grab needs to help Southeast Asia with its tremendous poverty and bring it to another economic reality.

“Of course, do we take inspiration from China? We do,” he said in response to KrASIA’s question on whether the company looks to giants like WeChat and Meituan’s super app vision. “We take inspiration from the US, globally, from India. I think the beauty is that now everyone is so connected, so everyone’s learning from each other.”

“I was just in the States and I was sharing in a conference as well. A lot of the US companies are seeing and they’re saying, “Wow!” he noted, adding that many of the companies he met had not thought of the ‘super app’ idea.

Of course, with its super app vision being implemented, Grab will come into contact with a treasure trove of information and insights, all of which it could use to generate more revenue.

Tan illustrated his point: for example, users who are hungry might use GrabFood to order some food from popular fast food establishment McDonalds, or take a Grab ride to the nearest McDonalds, or walk there but pay with GrabPay. With GrabFresh, Grab could even let you know what items are needed to make a burger, added Tan. In all three cases, Grab gets to understand the user on a deeper level, a level even an app like Facebook, which has not been as localised, wouldn’t be able to reach.

Competition is why it exists

“Grab is never new to competition,” shared Tan in response to a question asking about entering the online grocery market when there are existing players. “In fact we love it. That makes us innovate faster.”

Back in 2012, Grab was still an early-stage company. Its press conferences were held in small establishments and cafes, unlike today with four offices across the country. The fact that it raised $10 million from a company like Vertex Ventures in 2014 wowed everyone in Singapore. This was back when Rocket Internet-backed taxi hailing company Easy Taxi was still a competitor, alongside Uber.

In 2016, Easy Taxi, a long forgotten name in the region, exited Southeast Asia. In March, Grab announced its merger with Uber, effectively resulting in the latter’s halt in operations in this part of the world. The deal was seen as anti-competitiveby anti-trust agency Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) which threatened it with potential fines and a reversal of the merger.

“The truth is, it is very competitive. There are many competitors out there,” said Tan today. “Many of our competitors have announced that they’re coming in or they have already come in. I think the space of mobility will continue to have tremendous competition. In fact, we want more. So that we keep innovating for the customers.”

Some of these competitors that Tan referred might include Indonesia-based Go-Jek and India-based Jugnoo and Ola, aside from local newcomers like Ryde.

Government relationship

“One thing we’re sure is that we have complied with the law every bit through the way and we continue to do that. For us it’s very important that we continue to work with the government,” he said.

Previously and also concurrently, Grab is working with the government’s many agencies, from the Land Transport Authority to the country’s Tourism board.

Tan did express that he is confident that things will work out fine with regard to CCCS’ response that the deal was anti-competitive.

Sending the right signal

To date, Grab has raised more than $5.1 billion from big names like Didi Chuxing, Softbank, GGV Capital, Vertex Ventures and more. Post-merger, Uber also joined Grab as a board member.

But it is Toyota’s recent $1 billion investment in Grab that has “created tremendous momentum”, said Tan as he believes the Japanese automotive giant’s faith in Grab sends the right signal to other investors and firms. He declined to comment on Grab’s current valuation.

When asked on future IPO plans, Tan said that there’s no immediate need for that, but they are doing everything they can to make sure things are done with the right checks and balances. In that case, if they ever wish to go for an IPO, they can always do so without fussing too much.


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