Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

GrabKitchen to close Indonesian operations by December

Jakarta, Indonesia – GrabKitchen, the cloud kitchen arm of tech and superapp company Grab, will be closing its operations in Indonesia by December 19, resulting in layoffs amounting to around 10 to 20 people.

A report from Tech In Asia notes that GrabKitchen saw inconsistencies in its growth in the local market. In its four years of operations, GrabKitchen has seen its business move to an asset-light business model.

Mayang Schreiber, chief communications officer at Grab Indonesia, said, “This situation forced us to take a difficult decision, which is not to continue our GrabKitchen operations in Indonesia.”

Regarding the layoffs, Grab said that some of its laid-off employees will be transferred to other divisions under Grab’s operations. They will receive compensation and fulfilment of obligations in accordance with the country’s regulations.

At the moment, GrabKitchen has over 48 foot points across Indonesia.

The GrabKitchen shutdown and layoffs contradicts Grab’s recent statements, stating that they won’t be seeing large layoffs despite the weak market.

“Around mid-year, we did some kind of specific reorganisations, but I know other companies have been doing mass layoffs, so we don’t see ourselves in that category,” Alex Hungate, chief operating officer at Grab, told Reuters in September.

However, Hungate did note back then that they will be shutting down its ‘dark stores’ or storage facilities for its groceries, and slowing the growth of its cloud kitchens.

“The other area where we’ve really tightened our strategic intent is in financial services where we were growing payments, wallets and non-bank financial lending quite significantly off-platform and on our platform,” he added.

The layoffs brought by the GrabKitchen shutdown follow a slew of similar updates globally, including with Carsome, Shopee, Netflix, Snap, Oracle, and Hootsuite

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Mastercard, Grab launch new regional programme to scale small business growth

Singapore – Global financial services company Mastercard and superapp Grab have joined hands to launch the ‘Small Business, Big Dreams’ regional programme to digitally upskill gig economy workers and small businesses in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. This collaboration is part of Strive Community, a global philanthropic initiative developed by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Caribou Digital that aims to support the resilience and growth of five million small businesses around the world.

The new regional programme includes the launch of two online business courses for Grab’s driver and delivery-partners aspiring to start new businesses, and small business owners seeking to grow in a competitive digital economy. It aims to enable small businesses to reach their full potential by supporting them to digitise their operations, unlock their access to financial services, and more effectively participate in the digital economy.

The two new online courses, namely the ‘Driver Entrepreneurship Toolkit’ and the ‘Small Business Toolkit’, were created based on survey insights from over 34,000 driver-partners and 600 small businesses in the region. Although almost all small businesses surveyed use smartphones for their businesses, 42% still rely solely on paper and pen to manage their businesses.

“Many Southeast Asians working in the informal sector aspire for more, but the reality is that a lot of them do not have the means or the opportunity to access quality training programs. Through our partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, we hope to give gig workers and small businesses a boost to get started. Our ‘Small Business, Big Dreams’ programme will equip them with business knowledge and practical skills through a structured learning journey tailored to their needs and interest areas,” said Cheryl Goh, group head of marketing and sustainability at Grab.

Meanwhile, Payal Dalal, SVP of social impact, international markets, and centre for inclusive growth at Mastercard, commented that they are delighted to work with Grab on this initiative that will boost digital capacity and inclusion amongst aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses post-pandemic.

“Mastercard has globally committed to bringing a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. Today’s announcement follows the success of Mastercard Academy 2.0 in Indonesia, Business Cell in the Philippines, BSR’s HER Project Digital Wage in Cambodia, and Care Ignite in Vietnam, which have empowered millions of small businesses to access technology, training, mentorship, and financial services,” she said.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Deliveroo, foodpanda, Grab ally to form industry association

Singapore – The three major food delivery platform companies in Asia are setting aside their competition for now as they join forces to form an association that would become a watchdog for the industry and its stakeholders in Singapore.

Deliveroo, foodpanda, and Grab form the Digital Platforms Industry Association (DPIA) where they will be strengthening the frameworks, guidelines, and policies to support their delivery partners and merchants in Singapore.

“For platform companies, the well-being of our delivery partners and merchants across the marketplace is paramount. That’s why DPIA was established – to consolidate the deep industry expertise of platforms and shape the development and growth of the industry within Singapore’s national economy,” shared the three platforms. 

As an industry representative, DPIA will be tapping on the expertise and experience of its member platform companies to enhance industry best practices and support Singapore’s digital economy. In addition, DPIA said it will also be providing upskilling opportunities and strengthening existing health and safety standards for its members’ delivery partners and merchants. 

Since 2021, DPIA’s members have actively contributed to the consultation process with multiple government stakeholders, the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA), and industry stakeholders in the bid to better support delivery partners. They are also working with the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC) on guidelines for platforms and employers to boost road safety practices among delivery partners. 

In the coming months, DPIAl said it will be identifying areas of improvement and collaborating with the government and industry stakeholders such as the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF). 

It will be creating solutions that would “reflect the voices of its delivery partners and merchants”, both of whom are core to platform companies’ operations. In addition, DPIA intends to launch an industry code of practice to be adopted by its members. The code will incorporate industry best practices and principles relating to health and safety of its delivery partners and merchant development. 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Coca-Cola, Grab team up to drive growth, digitalisation in SEA

Singapore – Global beverage company Coca-cola and super-app Grab have teamed up to unlock growth opportunities in a booming digital consumer market within Southeast Asia. The partnership will bank on Coca-Cola’s extensive offline retail presence and Grab’s large online network.

Both companies will also collaborate on impact initiatives to accelerate digital skilling for merchants and promote convenience and an array of beverage choices for consumers.

The landmark partnership spans six Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. However, the partnership in Thailand covers all areas except GrabFood.

The partnership revolves around four objectives, namely growing with merchants through GrabFood and GrabMart, engaging consumers in refreshing ways through GrabAds, enhancing support for small, traditional merchants through digitalisation, and using both company’s combined scale to do good in Southeast Asia.

Sam Way, head of offline to online at Coca-Cola ASEAN & South Pacific, said, “At Coca-Cola, we are transforming our business model for the digital age. This new multi-market partnership extends our online reach and enables us to stay ahead of changing shopper trends as we drive customer value and growth through digital enablement.” 

He added, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with a forward-thinking company like Grab and we look forward to working closely to build new consumer connections and offer a new level of convenience to digital consumers in the region.”

Meanwhile, Saad Ahmed, regional head of merchant at Grab, commented, “We are very excited to be Coca-Cola’s preferred partner in Southeast Asia. This partnership also reflects our shared commitment to support merchants to further grow their business through digitalisation and financial services.” 

He added, “By enabling them to capture new and unmet consumer demand, we enable them to provide better services to our users. This in turn strengthens brand love for Grab and Coca-Cola.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab opens new HQ in Singapore, unveils ‘GrabMerchant Centre’ initiative for SMEs

Singapore – To drive inclusive growth in SEA, superapp Grab has announced the official opening of its new headquarters in Singapore. The newly-launched headquarters comes with the superapp’s new initiative called ‘GrabMerchant Centre’, which aims to help small businesses grow online.

The new headquarters in Singapore spans nine floors and more than 42,000 sqm, bringing about 3,000 Grabbers and an R&D Centre under one roof. Apart from the first GrabMerchant Centre, it will also be home to the digibank team. This new headquarters is one of two headquarters Grab has in the region. The dual headquarter is based in Jakarta, Indonesia, and serves as Grab’s regional innovation hub for small businesses.

Meanwhile, the ‘GrabMerchant Centre’ seeks to provide 1-on-1 business consultation services for Grab’s SME merchant-partners. It is a one-stop hub dedicated to helping small businesses optimise their online presence, maximise GrabFood, GrabMart, GrabFin, and GrabAds services for their businesses, and learn to use digital tools to grow.

Anthony Tan, Grab’s group CEO and co-founder, shared that as they celebrate Grab’s 10th anniversary this year, they hope that their announcements will help small businesses and their future workforce upskill and maximise their opportunities, even in this challenging macro environment. 

“Providing access to digital tools can be a powerful way to ensure all Southeast Asians can equally participate in – and benefit from – the rising digital economy, the same way 10 years ago when our driver-partners learned how to use their smartphones to earn incomes,” said Tan.

Aside from the new headquarters and the new SME initiative, Grab has also committed an annual US$1m from the GrabForGood Fund towards the ‘GrabScholar’ programme, which will provide university scholarships and educational bursaries across all countries Grab operates in SEA.

‘GrabScholar’ programme plans to award over 2,000 scholarships and bursaries annually. It will cover tuition and study-related expenses for underprivileged children to attend primary, secondary, or vocational schools, as well as universities. Internship opportunities will also be offered to tertiary students to develop their professional aptitude and prepare them for full-time roles when they graduate. It was launched in Indonesia last July in partnership with Yayasan Benih Baik Indonesia. This is in addition to existing scholarship and bursary initiatives that are offered to the children of Grab’s driver-, delivery- and merchant-partners in Singapore and Thailand.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

What do Singaporeans think of Grab’s shortened grace waiting period?

Singapore – Superapp Grab in Singapore was under fire in recent weeks following its decision to shorten the grace waiting period. In the new decision, users will be automatically charged a waiting fee of S$3 per five-minute waiting block if they keep the driver waiting for longer than three minutes. Meanwhile, a S$4 fee applies if a passenger cancels a booking more than three minutes after accepting one.

This decision has angered some consumers, leading to Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran questioned in Parliament on the Government’s supervision over ride-hailing platforms.

This was evident with the latest data from the latest YouGov BrandIndex that shows that Grab’s Buzz, Consideration and Customer Satisfaction scores among Singapore residents who say they are very to somewhat likely to use transport providers all significantly declined shortly after its new grace waiting period came into force.

In terms of media metrics, net Buzz scores, which measure whether consumers have heard more positive or negative things about a brand in the past two weeks, fell from 17.9 on 18 July to -2.6 by 1 August, indicating that more consumers heard negative than positive things about the brand.

Meanwhile, Grab’s Consideration scores, which track the percentage of Singapore residents who would consider using the platform in the next month, lost nearly 20 points from 47.1 on 18 July to 27.3 by 1 August, while the brand’s net Customer Satisfaction scores, which measure whether Grab’s current customers are generally satisfied or unsatisfied with the brand, dropped 14 points from 27.4 on 18 July to 13.0 by 1 August.

Lastly, data from YouGov BrandIndex shows that Grab’s Buzz, Consideration, Customer Satisfaction scores all started on an upward trajectory in the days after the parliamentary statement. Notably, net Buzz scores returned to positive territory of 1.4 by 4 August. However, the platform’s net Corporate Reputation scores, which improved from 2-3 August, declined again from 3-4 August.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab PH acquires motorcycle taxi firm MOVE IT

Manila, Philippines – Grab in the Philippines has announced recently the acquisition of MOVE IT, a local motorcycle taxi firm. Through the acquisition, Grab aims to create at least 6,000 meaningful income opportunities for more driver-partners within 3 months.

Grab Philippines will help MOVE IT further scale its existing motorcycle taxi fleet and improve the efficiency of its platform to help serve more commuters, as well as working with MOVE IT to further enhance its safety and service quality standards – to be at par with Grab’s motorcycle taxi services across Southeast Asia.

MOVE IT will be independently operated using the existing technology and app, and it will continue to comply with the standards set by the DOTr’s Motorcycle Taxi Pilot Program. Francis Juan will continue to lead MOVE IT in his capacity as chairman – leveraging his deep knowledge of the motorcycle taxi industry to better address market gaps and leverage untapped market opportunities.

Juan said, “We appreciate the support and trust that Grab has given us – it’s a testament to MOVE IT’s excellence in recent years. And in this new phase: we will serve more riders who have great difficulty commuting, we will provide more Filipinos with a livelihood, and we will provide our countrymen with a proudly Pinoy motorcycle taxi service that they can be proud of to our Southeast Asian neighbours.”

Meanwhile, Grace Vera Cruz, country head at Grab Philippines, said, “As we turn a new chapter for our country, Grab Philippines will continue to play an active role in bringing forward the spirit of bayanihan and value-creation – and this milestone that we humbly share with MOVE IT clearly expresses that.” 

She added, “As one of the first tech platforms that firmly believed in the potential and value of the Philippine market ten years ago, we’re doubling down on our commitment to outserving the needs of the Filipino people, and we are optimistic that through MOVE IT, we will create more livelihood opportunities, spur greater economic activity, and help improve every Filipino’s daily commute.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysian food delivery riders on ‘blackout’ to protest poor pay

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia is currently experiencing a nation-wide ‘blackout’ of food delivery services, as local reports have suggested that a large number of food delivery riders will be protesting starting this day amidst requests to improve payment across food delivery rider partners.

According to a report from the Free Malaysia Today, the protest had been planned two to three weeks ago, as shared by the organiser Zulhelmi Mansor of the Persatuan Penghantar P-Hailing Malaysia. The posters posted on social media were posted with Grab and foodpanda logos.

In response to the protests, Grab Malaysia has released a statement via The Star, clarifying that there was no reduction in base fares for their delivery services. Instead, it was due to a glitch in its system, where the rider noted a discrepancy in his earnings.

“We have since rectified the issue and have transferred the shortfall to all affected partners, and clarified the matter via our official communication channel to our partners on July 21. We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused for our partners and would like to encourage our partners to reach out to us,” they stated.

Grab Malaysia also added that in the past few months, they have introduced multiple efforts to support their delivery-partners, as well as releasing multiple promotions and campaigns to benefit their riders.

The recent updates in Malaysia’s food delivery space line up with the constant growth of food delivery companies in the country, with players including airasia ride and DeliverEat. Recently, airasia ride announced that its offering its gig riders full-time employment in a move to offer job stability and enhancement of income opportunities.

Strikes amongst food delivery riders have increased in the Southeast Asian region. For instance, foodpanda drivers in the Philippines have protested over poor pay conditions. As a result, the country’s National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) have recently ordered foodpanda to pay the seven dismissed riders around PHP2.2m who have participated in the protest.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab MY searches for everyday superhero in annual ‘Grab Lejen’ initiative

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – As the saying goes, not all superheroes wear capes, and this holds true for this year’s superhero search by Grab Malaysia. This annual initiative called ‘Grab Lejen’ looks to honour and reward exceptional driver and delivery partners who have gone above and beyond their call of duty to serve Malaysians. 

In conjunction with Grab’s 10-year anniversary, the initiative seeks to find an everyday superhero amongst its community of partners that will be entirely crowdsourced, which means that Grab users will be able to submit their heartwarming stories of choice as nominations.

Until 30 September 2022, Grab users will be able to submit their heartwarming stories of choice as nominations at They will then be able to vote for their favourite ‘lejens’ who won the hearts of Malaysians beginning 15 October until 15 November 2022.

Rashid Shukor, director of country operations and mobility at Grab Malaysia, shared that since its inauguration last year, they’ve seen incredible acts of kindness from their driver and delivery partners, and heartwarming and compassionate stories like these are a breath of fresh air and a true testament to the incredible selfless nature of their partners, who despite enduring hardships in their everyday lives, still find it in themselves to be unselfishly kind to those around them. 

“As a homegrown company striving for positive social impact, we are encouraged by our partners and want to continue to recognise and further enable these exemplary acts of service for many more years to come,” said Shukor.

Grab Lejen is part of Grab’s commitment to positive social impact. In addition to honouring exemplary partners who have shown extraordinary acts of service, Grab continuously finds ways to help all partners to save and grow through the platform with the GrabBenefits programme. GrabBenefits is a programme aimed at enriching the lives of Grab’s partners through three main categories; protection, savings, and academy. Together, these benefits such as petrol rebates, vehicle maintenance discounts, insurance coverage, and upskilling programmes allow them to save on everyday expenses, get the necessary protection and equip themselves with knowledge while they earn. 

Shukor added. “For the past 10 years, our community of partners has been the heart of everything Grab does and we are committed to continue supporting them as they persevere to earn on the Grab platform. GrabBenefits is one of our ways of supporting our dedicated partners and empowering them with resources to hopefully make their lives a little easier. And through Grab Lejen, we aim to honour the real-life superheroes that deserve recognition. We hope to continue building a healthy partner community that touches the lives of people around them, and by doing so, empower them to become an enabler of positive social impact. This is truly how legends are made.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Grab Indonesia, Asparindo launch programme to help accelerate digitalisation of MSMEs

Surakarta, Indonesia – Superapp Grab in Indonesia and the Indonesian Market Management Association (Asparindo) have confirmed a strategic partnership, in an aim to digitise traditional markets through the Pasar programme, an extension of GrabMart that brings local markets’ freshest produce, poultry, meat, and seafood to households.

Aside from Surakarta, the digitalisation program will also continue to traditional markets in and other cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Bogor, Bali, Palembang and Medan, targeting around 4,600 traditional market MSME players by the end of 2022.

The collaboration includes a number of initiatives like the ‘Digital Market Activation’, where MSME partners under Asparindo have the opportunity to join the Grab digital ecosystem as Grab merchants and take advantage of digital payment methods using OVO. It also includes ‘Training for MSMEs’, where Grab will be providing digital training programmes, webinars, and education for MSME players in order to improve digital market literacy and help empower digital businesses to increase the value of market competitiveness. 

Additionally, another initiative is ‘Event participation’, where Grab and Asparindo will be presenting various kinds of events held both offline and online.

Gibran Rakabuming Raka, mayor of Surakarta, said, “This collaboration is certainly in line with the mission that is being carried out by the Surakarta City Government in realizing the smart city program. I hope this program can provide education to business people that digitalization in every market is currently very necessary in order to encourage regional economic growth and create skilled and highly competitive resources.”

Meanwhile, Neneng Goenadi, country managing director of Grab Indonesia, conveyed the platform’s commitment to supporting the digitisation of market traders and MSME players in Indonesia. 

“We believe in the potential and superior competitiveness of Indonesian MSMEs. Therefore, we are excited to present the GrabMart Pasar program to facilitate market traders and MSMEs in adopting technology and entering the digital economy ecosystem. We hope that Grab’s support can help Indonesian MSMEs contribute to sustainable regional and national economic growth,” said Goenadi. 

Joko Setiyanto, chairman of the Indonesian Market Management Association (Asparindo), shared that the current pandemic has also encouraged a change in trends for people to shop and do business digitally, and the traditional market is one of the places of business for SMEs that must be maintained and its existence regulated. 

“Therefore, digital adoption is needed for traditional markets in order to adapt and improve services to meet the needs of the community. Through this collaboration with Grab Indonesia, it is hoped that it will accelerate the pace of digitalisation of traditional markets so that they can continue to exist and develop into modern traditional markets that are solid and globally competitive,” said Setiyanto.