By Khine Kyaw
Toh said in an interview with The Nation that the Singapore-based ride-hailing giant feels extremely positive about its business outlook for 2020 and beyond, having the largest number of rides in the market.
“We are investing in Myanmar for the long term and have put the building blocks in place to bring positive impact to different communities,” she said.
The firm has enjoyed an average 30 per cent increase in daily bookings since June last year, said Toh.
“This is extremely encouraging, because Grab users are also adopting cashless payments with a 10 per cent increase in the use of GrabPay over the same time period.”
To date, nearly 2 million people in Myanmar have downloaded the application, suggesting that users have embraced Grab’s safety features and the convenience of upfront, fixed fares.
“While we have taken strides in Myanmar since our launch in 2017, we believe the journey here is just the beginning,” she said.
In Myanmar, Grab is now in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan, and will be expanding its ride-hailing services later this year. It will soon introduce the web-booking service for hotels and multi-site offices to efficiently book more rides through an online portal, and will offer hourly and daily car bookings in Mandalay. Available packages include tour options and oneway trips to Pyin Oo Lwin, Sagaing and Innwa.
“Our expansion plans are always influenced by the needs of residents in each city. Grab users are always encouraged to try beta versions of our new services,” she said.
“In Yangon, we have the largest driver-partner base among all ride-hailing providers. On average, we register several hundred new driver-partners each month.”
In Mandalay, the GrabThoneBane driver base has increased by 50 per cent since January this year. GrabBike and GrabTaxi are also service options found in Mandalay, and the firm is also working with more than 50 drivers in Bagan to serve foreign and domestic visitors.
As the commercial hub of Myanmar, Yangon continues to mainly drive the firm’s business, accounting for 90 per cent of Grab passengers. The passenger and driver base in Mandalay and Bagan is also on the rise, said Toh.
She stressed the importance of caring for the needs of thousands of driver-partners in Myanmar. She lauded the efforts of the Partner Care team whose members work behind the scenes to assist drivers – from inspections of vehicle safety conditions, registrations and licensing, to the education of customer service best practices and trouble-shooting the software.
Through its partnership with locally-owned CB Bank, the firm has brought thousands of driver-partners into the digital banking ecosystem. The partnership results in the safe-keeping of drivers’ earnings, ensuring easy cashout at the bank’s automated teller machines at any time.
“Our goal is always to deliver the best possible experience for drivers and passengers. We believe we are best placed to help transform Myanmar’s transportation sector further,” she said.
“This can happen by making strategic investments in product and technology development, quality driver recruitment, and a focused commitment to out-serving all users on our platform.”
As more and more passengers and driver-partners enjoy the safety, comfort and convenience of Grab services, the firm gets a bit closer to its primary goal of improving lives and providing value-added services to Myanmar and its people, said Toh.
In 2017, the firm announced its plan to invest US$100 million (Bt3.1 billion) in Myanmar over three years. Toh said the firm stressed the importance of investing in local talents and building an independent local operation, as it can better position them to understand local issues and deliver real solutions to local needs.
The firm now has more than 100 employees, with 99 per cent of them local talents, including leadership comprised of repats and young professionals across Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan who have a passion to see their motherland be fruitful.
“We will continue to scale up our workforce according to our operational needs and the rollout of new services in the months to come,” she said.
“Rooting ourselves in Myanmar means we can accelerate digital literฌacy and the adoption of technology services when users need it most.”
Toh takes pride in the increasing number of business rides with Grab, with more than 100 companies in Myanmar having adopted Grab for Business services for corporate travel. They include private, public and multinational companies from various industries operating in Yangon and Mandalay.
“Our mission will expand beyond transport services. As a technology platform, our team is constantly workฌing on other solutions for Myanmar companies in order to drive efficiency, help retailers gain more market exposure, and provide safer solutions for the general public,” she said.