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How a 'sea turtle' changed Southeast Asian transportation

Tan Hooi Ling, an engineering student-turned-entrepreneur, co-founded the ride-hailing startup Grab. (Photo by Keiichiro Asahara)

KUALA LUMPUR Four years ago, at a coffee shop just outside Kuala Lumpur, a young woman with a smartphone in her hand, looking a bit out of place, eagerly explained to local taxi drivers how to use a ride-hailing app.

This is how Tan Hooi Ling started her business. The 32-year-old is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Grab, the biggest ride-hailing mobile service provider in Southeast Asia, whose app has been downloaded more than 21 million times in six countries.

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