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Business deals

Grab-Uber merger makes patchy debut in SE Asia

Homegrown, digital-driven 'regional champion' faces bumpy ride

Grab and Uber helmets on sale at a used-helmet shop in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 2, 2018.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Uber Technologies on late Sunday simultaneously ceased its ride-hailing operations in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and other regional markets. The serial shut down of Uber's operations in Southeast Asia -- apart from Singapore and the Philippines -- follows the recent merger deal with its former arch-rival, Grab, which makes the Singapore-based company the dominant player in the region. As it consolidates the merger, Grab is gearing up to be a pan-regional, digital lifestyle platform. But tough challenges are already looming.

In their merger announcement on March 26, Grab and Uber said their services would be integrated just as Grab by April 8 in the eight Southeast Asia markets where they previously competed against each other.

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