To build Southeast Asia’s superapp, Grab looks to China’s giants for inspiration

Co-Founder of Grab, Hooi Ling Tan, said they take a healthy amount of inspiration from China.
Money 20/20 Asia

Singapore-based Grab is building a superapp, and it looks to none other than China for inspiration, one of its co-founders revealed on Tuesday (March 19).

Speaking at the Money 2020 Asia conference in Singapore, Hooi Ling Tan said that the decacorn had lots to learn from China.

Pointing out similarities between Southeast Asian and Chinese phone users, Tan said that both sets of users dislike having too many applications on their phone.

Based on this observation, Tan said: “That’s where we take a healthy amount of inspiration from the Chinese players who led the way many years before us.”

An example of a large Chinese player is Alipay, a payment service in China used for services such as food and transport, similar to Grab and Grabfood in Southeast Asia.

Such applications reduce the need to download many different applications.

While there are similarities, there are also a number of differences between the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.

While China takes on what Tan called the “one government, one system” strategy, Southeast Asia has a large array of languages and cultures that each require their own set of localised customised customer preferences.

Tan said the cities Grab operates in often seem like “different municipalities”, whereas Chinese firms need only deal with one straightforward system.

At the same event, Grab also announced the launch of “Grow With Grab” plan, including three new different financial services to specially serve small business owners in Southeast Asia.

Read Also: