Grab’s acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia drives into problems | TechCrunch

The regulatory body in Singapore, where Grab is registered, has been the most active.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) pushed the deadline for the removal of Uber’s app back to May 7 — one month later than originally scheduled — so it could examine the deal. The commission also ordered Grab and Uber to “maintain pre-transaction independent pricing, pricing policies and product options” while it pored over the details.

The CCCS thinks it has “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the deal may run afoul of section 54 of Singapore’s Competition Act regulating against overly dominant monopolies.

These extensions in both Singapore and the Philippines mean additional expenses for Grab, which is paying for costs and helping manage the continuation of Uber’s app in Southeast Asia. Uber has shrugged off any responsibility.

“Uber exited eight markets, including the Philippines, as of Monday. Now, I look after 10 markets, instead of 18. Our funding is gone. Our people are gone. We don’t intend to come back to these markets,” Brooks Entwistle, head of Uber’s Asia-Pacific, told the anti-competition commission in the Philippines earlier this month, according to Rappler.

“Drivers tend to feel like pawns when these rideshare giants merge. A lot of drivers have bought into driving for Uber and are comfortable with their experience so the idea of migrating to a new platform can be daunting,” Harry Campbell, who writes about ride-hailing experiences for drivers at The Ride Sharing Guy blog, told TechCrunch.

“One of the nice things about competition, is that it keeps these companies in check when it comes to fighting for drivers and treating them well. There’s a reason why many drivers opted for Uber in the first place,” added Campbell, who recently moderated a Q&A between U.S. drivers and Uber CEO Khosrowshahi.

That’s the opinion of one Uber driver in Singapore, who wrote on his blog that many drivers concerned with earning less with Grab still hope for a “miracle” that sees Uber remain. Added to that concern, TechCrunch reported this week that Go-Jek has held talks with Singapore’s largest taxi operator, ComfortDelGro, with the aim of becoming the firm’s ride-hailing partner. Comfort had previously inked an agreement with Uber.

Finally, customers themselves are having to get used to Grab instead of Uber. Many have been vocal with issues that range from subjective claims, such as a perceived inferior experience on Grab, and also more quantifiable concerns that include higher pricing and longer waits for a ride.

On that note, Grab explained that it operates a different pricing model. Rather than Uber’s approach of a lower distance-based fare with more emphasis on surge pricing, Grab said it “always maintained a competitive per KM fare with 2.0 surge max.” Uber’s surge could reach 4X, Grab said.

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Grab’s acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia drives into problems | TechCrunch.