Battle for the
Cheapest Fare in SEA

Who Wins the ultimate Uber, Grab
and Taxi comparison?

The stakes are high for ride-hailing market in Southeast Asia. Two big competitors, predominantly Grab and Uber, are competing to gain majority market share as the sector is expected to become a $13 billion industry by 2025.

Since its inception 4 years ago, Grab has created a strong foothold in Southeast Asia with funding support of $750 million by Softbank in September 2016 and has great plans to advance further in the region. On the other hand, Uber’s recent move of selling off its China unit to DiDi in August 2016 is a clear indication that they are focusing their expansion efforts in Southeast Asia as well. This is apparent as Uber has been doubling down on resources, staffing and technology. While this sounds great for consumers, the ride-hailing industry is getting intensively competitive in Southeast Asia.

As the Malaysian cabinet has given its approval to legalize ride sharing services in the country, the transportation sector in the country is slated to see further developments. Ride sharing apps in most countries in SEA remains illegal and Malaysia is among the few who has decided to embrace the new transportation service.

This study was conducted to compare and identify the cheapest mode of transportation between the two ride-hailing giants with local taxies in each major Southeast Asian country. Our research in Southeast Asia takes in account on price differences by Grab, Uber and Taxies based on various price components and price points.

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The average Malaysian traffic is moderately congested during regular hours at city centers and would take on average 16 minutes to travel 5 kilometers (KM). There is little difference in total fare with Grab being the cheapest at RM8 and Uber at RM8.40. However it is clear that Malaysians would prefer ride hailing service as conventional taxies costs on average of RM10.20 for the same ride.

However, Uber is more cost efficient when travelling at longer distances. Putting 20KM as the benchmark it would cost on average of RM22.70 for Uber as compared to Grab at RM28.90 and conventional taxies at RM27.10. Though taxies may cost lesser at longer distances, a number of Malaysian cab drivers has been charging customers based on their own rates which is more expensive. Though this issue has reduced over the years, customers still often complain of drivers who were rude, refusal to drive them to certain locations and other problems that is encouraging others to adopt the ride hailing service.