Grab, Uber make inroads into Myanmar

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While taxi hailing apps Grab and Uber are struggling with the Thai government over their legal status and over licensing issues, both companies are making inroads into Thailand’s neighbour Myanmar at a time when municipalities there are improve a long-neglected public transport system.

Singapore-headquartered Grab, the main Southeast Asian rival of Uber, is in the pole position and launched services in Myanmar on March 21, expanding its operations to the seventh country in the region. Initially, Grab will be working with a small group of taxi drivers in a trial run in Yangon and would scale up gradually, the company said in a statement.

“As a start, we will focus on improving driver service and safety standards for taxis in Yangon,” Cheryl Goh, Grab’s group vice-president for marketing, said, adding that “we have deep experience in using data analytics to better match taxi drivers to passengers and have robust driver screening and training processes to ensure that our driver partners provide a safe and quality service.”

On the customer side, Grab is opening the service up to a limited number of ‘beta’ users in a bid to manage supply and demand.

Uber, which is currently unavailable in Yangon, said it will start its service “soon” in the country. Reportedly, company representatives have already met with government officials in January to clarify regulatory issues, and Uber has also posted job ads for executive personnel – a marketing manager and an operations and logistics manager – in Myanmar on its website. However, no date for a launch has been set yet.

Both companies do not expect much resistance from conventional taxi drivers in Myanmar since the country has no systematic taxi associa­tion, unlike others whose taxi associa­tions fiercely protested the taxi app systems, and the majority of taxi drivers in Myanmar is unregistered anyway.

Thus, services like Grab and Uber could be a welcome employment option for those driving unofficial taxis.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

While taxi hailing apps Grab and Uber are struggling with the Thai government over their legal status and over licensing issues, both companies are making inroads into Thailand’s neighbour Myanmar at a time when municipalities there are improve a long-neglected public transport system.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

While taxi hailing apps Grab and Uber are struggling with the Thai government over their legal status and over licensing issues, both companies are making inroads into Thailand’s neighbour Myanmar at a time when municipalities there are improve a long-neglected public transport system.

Singapore-headquartered Grab, the main Southeast Asian rival of Uber, is in the pole position and launched services in Myanmar on March 21, expanding its operations to the seventh country in the region. Initially, Grab will be working with a small group of taxi drivers in a trial run in Yangon and would scale up gradually, the company said in a statement.

“As a start, we will focus on improving driver service and safety standards for taxis in Yangon,” Cheryl Goh, Grab’s group vice-president for marketing, said, adding that “we have deep experience in using data analytics to better match taxi drivers to passengers and have robust driver screening and training processes to ensure that our driver partners provide a safe and quality service.”

On the customer side, Grab is opening the service up to a limited number of ‘beta’ users in a bid to manage supply and demand.

Uber, which is currently unavailable in Yangon, said it will start its service “soon” in the country. Reportedly, company representatives have already met with government officials in January to clarify regulatory issues, and Uber has also posted job ads for executive personnel – a marketing manager and an operations and logistics manager – in Myanmar on its website. However, no date for a launch has been set yet.

Both companies do not expect much resistance from conventional taxi drivers in Myanmar since the country has no systematic taxi associa­tion, unlike others whose taxi associa­tions fiercely protested the taxi app systems, and the majority of taxi drivers in Myanmar is unregistered anyway.

Thus, services like Grab and Uber could be a welcome employment option for those driving unofficial taxis.

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