KUALA LUMPUR: Ride-hailing drivers in Malaysia have mixed feeling over Grab’s acquisition of Uber operation in Southeast Asia.

Some expressed concerns over reduced income, while others felt most Uber drivers would be happy to switch to Grab.

Home grown ride-hailing operator Grab, yesterday, announced it had acquired Uber’s southeast Asia businesses.

Following the merger, Uber would emerge with 27.5 per cent shareholding in Grab. Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi will also join Grab’s board.

Grab had said it would integrate Uber’s ridesharing and food delivery business in the region into its existing multi-modal transportation and financial technology platform. 

A part-time Grab driver, Ameer Mustafa, said the acquisition may be beneficial for the ride-hailing company to expand its business regionally but it would be a huge loss for both drivers and passengers of Grab and Uber.

He said drivers’ earnings might be squeezed hard due to the absence of a major rival in ride-hailing landscape.

“Uber and Grab used to compete with each other by giving more incentives to drivers to forge loyalty with their drivers to operate in their e-hailing platforms,” he said.

“Grab used to give more incentives to drivers than Uber. Hence, it prompted more Uber drivers to move over to Grab.

“With the merger, there is no real competition anymore. Grab will be the dominant ride-hailing player here,” he said when contacted by the NSTP Business.

Media practitioner Suzy Zarei, who is also a part-time Grab driver, said most Uber drivers are likely to happily shift over to Grab as the business structure is more driver-friendly.

For example, the Uber application does not give destination information on where the passengers are going whenever drivers receive the requests.

“It only shows the location of the passengers but does not not show where the passengers are going to. Whereas, Grab shows everything in terms of drop-point, distance, fares and pick-up point,” she added.

She, however, thinks the merger would increase the income of Grab’s drivers, as the market is expected to expand vigorously in the region. “I’m sure Grab will gain more profits.”

In a recent statement, Grab group chief executive officer and co-founder Anthony Tan said, “we are humbled that a company born in SEA has built one of the largest platforms that millions of consumers use daily and provides income opportunities to over five million people.”

With Uber, he said, Grab is currently in an even better position to fulfil its promise in serving customers, while improving people’s lives through food, payments and financial services.

In the same statement, Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said the merger will create more value for its growing ecosystem of consumers, drivers, agents including merchants and delivery partners. 

Meanwhile, Uber’s Khosrowshahi said the deal is a testament to Uber’s exceptional growth across southeast Asia over the last five years. 

Grab Malaysia’s country head Sean Goh said the enlarged entity is on track to becoming the leading ride-hailing, financial technology and food delivery platform in southeast Asia.

 

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