"Monopoly" concerns from possible Grab's foodpanda acquisition

KUALA LUMPUR: News of Grab Holdings Ltd's potential acquisition of foodpanda have raised concerns among Netizens about monopoly by the Singapore-based tech company of the local p-hailing market.

Foodpanda is the second largest food delivery company in Southeast Asia, controlling 30-40 per cent of the market in each country it is operating.

Grab, meanwhile, besides operating as a ride-hailing company, also gains income from its food delivery services, although it has been under pressure to turn a profit due to slower spending by customers.

Users on social media underscored the monopoly issue and named other businesses that could be foodpanda's new owner.

A Facebook user suggested local companies to buy foodpanda and rebuild the business.

"We should not let Grab monopolise everything," commented the user.

Another user commented that there is nothing wrong for businesses of all sizes to make more profit.

"Nothing wrong for a small businessman or tycoon to want to make more money. That's the core of entrepreneurship. However, monopolies are bad for consumers."

Some suggested Shopee or AirAsia to buy foodpanda instead as they also have food delivery service.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research economist Dr Shankaran Nambiar said a sale to Grab is a matter for Malaysia Competition Commission's (MyCC) consideration.

He noted that there is a possible danger that Grab would acquire excessive monopoly through such acquisition.

"However, if Grab does not in any way reduce competition, increase entry barriers and raise prices, then Grab cannot be held responsible for abusing its position. We do have a competition policy and competition laws.  If there is anything to be done, it would be to empower MyCC further," he said when contacted.

Business Times on Thursday reported that the potential sale of foodpanda business in Malaysia might be edging closer.

Sources said Frankfurt-listed Delivery Hero might seal the deal to dispose of its foodpanda operation here by December this year.

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