22:49 (GMT +7) - Tuesday 12/11/2019

Op-Eds

Grab Vietnam's route to the future

Released at: 09:30, 09/06/2019

Grab Vietnam's route to the future

Photo: VET Magazine

Mr. Jerry Lim, Country Head of Grab Vietnam, tells VET about the company's vision in Southeast Asia and contributions to the future of Vietnam's digital economy.

How would you comment on the potential for the development of the digital economy in Vietnam?

We believe the Vietnamese Government is committed to driving Industry 4.0 and leveraging the economic potential of Southeast Asia’s internet economy. Projected to be valued at $240 billion by 2025, this is largely driven by ride-hailing, food delivery, e-commerce, and online businesses, in which Grab is providing services as an everyday super app. 

Grab is committed to playing a bigger role in unlocking the potential of the digital economy in Vietnam and helping create greater economic and social value as a digital platform. We have also opened up our GrabPlatform to enable other Southeast Asian firms to build on our digital ecosystem and grow in the region. Companies can integrate their services with Grab’s open platform and leverage its extensive user base, distribution channels, and technology for their business. Consumers also benefit from a wider variety of services on a single platform. 

We have also started Grab Ventures, aimed at discovering and growing Southeast Asia’s next generation of tech leaders and promoting innovation and digitization. Grab will partner or invest in growth-stage startups who want to solve mobility, food, logistics, fintech, and other O2O challenges. We look forward to bringing these programs to Vietnam and playing our part in nurturing the tech ecosystem and talented startups in Vietnam. 

 As Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company, what are Grab’s strengths in the development of Vietnam’s digital economy?

Today, Vietnam’s ride-hailing industry is thriving and vibrant, with more than ten players in the market, contributing to the development of the digital economy. We believe that the seeds we sowed five years ago when we entered Vietnam have paved the way for today’s dynamic, vibrant and competitive ride-hailing landscape. 

 Grab is here to help drive Vietnam forward for the long term. To bring about greater economic and social benefits, we have moved beyond e-hailing to become Southeast Asia’s leading everyday super app. This enables us to not only serve the essential daily needs of the Vietnamese people but also help Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) grow and scale their business faster. The high added value we are bringing to the people of Vietnam through technology is endless - from on-demand transportation, food delivery, and logistics to cashless payments.

Our unique differentiator lies in the rich, interconnected ecosystem we have built to bring about the greatest convenience for our consumers as an everyday super app, and the huge income and revenue opportunities to our driver, delivery and merchant-partners.

 What barriers have challenged Grab in Vietnam amid the country’s fast-growing ride-hailing, delivery, and e-payment market?

The current challenge digital players face is the immense pressure that traditional players are applying on tech companies and talent who truly want to improve people’s lives using technological innovation. They are impeded from scaling their digital business widely, even though it serves Vietnam’s digital economy and Industry 4.0 ambitions well in the long run. For instance, the industry should not succumb to protectionist policies advocated by the taxi industry and compromise the benefits to the Vietnamese people. The benefits for Vietnam’s 93 million people should come first. 

The entire transportation industry should take a big leap of faith and level up together using technology to solve meaningful challenges such as traffic congestion, transportation safety, and the integration of public and private transportation modes, which is what technology players like Grab want to spur on to improve people’s lives.

 As Vietnam is aiming to move towards a digital economy in the future, what policies would you recommend the government adopt in order to facilitate tech firms like Grab to boost the development of the digital economy?

 As Southeast Asia’s homegrown tech company, Grab is committed to contributing to this growth as the No.1 everyday super app.

There is still a lot more that technology can do to drive Southeast Asia forward, and stronger collaboration between the private and public sectors plays an increasing role in unlocking the true value of the digital economy. To ensure regulations keep up with the pace of innovation, governments need to work closely with technology companies to develop supportive regulations for innovation and take an inclusive and light touch approach in dealing with new technology platforms like ride-hailing.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2018, countries that impose fewer restrictions on technology companies enable new innovative models and synergies to be explored. We believe the Vietnamese Government is committed to driving Industry 4.0 and leveraging the economic potential of Southeast Asia’s internet economy. We sincerely hope that the government can take this into consideration when setting e-hailing regulations. We have submitted our proposal to the Prime Minister and relevant agencies, with recommendations on business conditions for ride-hailing players, with the goal of best benefitting the Vietnamese people, giving our partners access to better income-earning opportunities, and helping businesses/cooperatives in Vietnam earn higher business revenue.

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