Keeping up with Grab Vietnam

“Change is coming to transportation, whether we’re ready for it or not.”

Deloitte University Press stated that strongly in their report regarding Digital Age Transportation: The Future of Urban Mobility in 2012. In the same year, Grab Holdings Inc., formerly known as MyTeksi and GrabTaxi, a Singapore based transportation network company established with a vision to be “Southeast Asia’s largest mobile technology company that connects millions of consumers to millions of driver, merchants and businesses.” (Grab, 2019). And in 2014, Grab landed its business in Vietnam and Indonesia (Dragan 2018).

Grab expanded to Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in 2013 and in Vietnam and Indonesia in 2014. Then they started expanding as it launched GrabBike, GrabCar, GrabHitch and GrabExpress. By May 2014 GrabTaxi had 1.2 million and in June 2017 it had over one million drivers registered in the network and the app was downloaded on more than 45 million devices across Southeast Asia.

For over the past few years, Grab has been growing strong and becoming a generic term people use to call the transportation service via mobile app in South East Asia. The Grab app was launched in 2012 by its founder Anthony Tan after receiving USD 25,000 from Harvard Business school. The company first started as a location-sharing system, assigning taxis nearby commuters through its app. One year later, Grab expanded its business to the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Adapting and innovating based on market demands in different locations, GrabBike, GrabCar, GrabHitch and GrabExpress were launched. By June 2017, it had over one million drivers registered in the network and the app was downloaded on more than 45 million devices across Southeast Asia (Dragan 2018). It is often to hear  “Let’s me take Grab to the event”, “I need it immediately. Can you please Grab it over?” (meaning Can you use Grab delivery service to send it over?). Grab has become an important part among Vietnamese daily transportation and slowly we accept it as the cheaper alternative of Taxi and “Xe om”.

Vietnam late 1990s and early 2000s, motorcycle became popular. Riding service “xe om” – an informal word that Vietnamese use to refer to “motor-taxi” grew to be a crucial part . It is cheaper, faster and it could carry more goods loads compare to “xich lo”. “Xe om” is so popular for people to get from place to place without having their own vehicle or a mobile phone.  You could find “Xe om” at the intersection of the streets, the market, the park, the mall or could be at the street food stalls. All you need is agree with the rider about the fee and pay by cash. How simple!



The only issue is you need to know how to bargain! Since there is no official price benchmark, the “xe om” rider could just tell you any amount of money comes to his mind. Besides, the safety issue is a major concern for young adults and women in the Asian countries A large amount of criminal news on national broadcast, radio, newspaper appearing non-stop could make everyone hesitate to sit on any transportation service except their own.

Coming from Harvard Business and strong Asian background, two Grab founders Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling started Grab taxi to solve Asian transportation issues such as safety ride and better working conditions for all riders and drivers. Those are the reason why the goal and the core of Grab business apply well in Vietnamese riding culture and daily life. After 5 years running Grab service running in Vietnam, Grab has been widening their business to not only Grab Taxi but also Grab Bike, Grab Express (Delivery), Grab Food, Grab Express and Grab for Business as well as a partnership with local digital payments vendor, Moca.

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Transportation Services

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Other transportation services

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Grab Food

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Moca Wallet

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Grab Express Delivery

The collaboration helped push Moca’s payments volume on Grab’s mobile app up by 150% in the first half of 2019, with monthly mobile active users increasing more than 70%, said Grab in a statement Wednesday (Yu, 2019).

Grab Food delivery service also reached a massive 400% climb in gross merchandise value in the first half of the year, ringing in 300,000 orders a day on average (Yu, 2019).

Based on its successful launched for the above services, Grab announced its plan for $500 million investment, which will go towards the introduction of new services and expansion of existing ones such as their main transport services and online payments. To span over five years, the funds injection will help the ride-sharing operator tap opportunities in technology, logistics, and local mobility (Yu, 2019).

Despite very good picture Grab showing us through their numbers, there are other local issues exist such as strong competitors on transportation services Go-Viet, Bee, Vato and also local delivery and online payment businesses. Consumer behaviour is also changing!

However, moving from a successful year in 2019, and reading from recent events above, I believed we sure hope to see a great growth of Grab Vietnam in the future.

Please leave a comment below to share your thought and any experience with Grab Vietnam or Grab services in other countries that you have.




Marketing Books that we should read this year, suggested 20.

I came across this title on LinkedIn today and found it pretty interesting. “20 Marketing Books You Should Read in 2018” by Alex Rynne.

To be honest, I wasn’t a big reader. What I had done was skimming and skipping through all of my university text books until I found a part that can be used in my assignment. Pick up little bit here and there. Some how I felt that these books are just written in such a wordy way and not necessary to be. Surprising, now I think differently. Event thought every writer has his own experience and his own way  to express their writing style, it was me who didn’t look at the big picture and jumped in conclusion so fast.

Despite my busy time searching for material for work and complaining how annoying that my work bring me troubles some times, now I read more than when I was at university. For today, let’s see what we have missed in the first 5 months of 2018 and let’s catch up this year in the dynamic marketing world by reviewing the below 20 books we should read, recommended by Alex Rynne – an award winning Global Content Creator and Millennial Marketer (so she is good in her field and I believe in her suggestions).

No. 1: Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit, by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

According to Alexandra, the authors of this book are “the foremost voices in content marketing”, well-known by their previous published in 2011 Managing Content Marketing. “Playing off the perception that marketing is primarily a cost center, the authors suggest sending this discipline out to pasture — at least the less strategic, less insight-driven, less innovative version they now see — and restructuring it”. In this book, Pulizzi and Rose aim to recognizing media and monetization trends then turning the department into a clear-cut profit center in order to answer the question: “What if we completely flipped the idea of the marketing function on its head?”

No. 2: Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting It Together & Making It Work, by Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum,‎ and Robert F. Lauterborn

“This book made a great impact on me early in my career. The author (and father of IMC) Don Schultz stresses that everything about a company can be copied (price, place, etc.) except for how we communicate as a company. I believe in this 100% and it was one of the reasons I was drawn to content marketing.” – Joe Pulizzi 

No.3: The Practice of Management, by Peter Drucker

“A classic and must-read for ANYONE in marketing and/or sales. The lessons that Drucker had for us 60 years ago are still as relevant today.” – Robert Rose

No.4: The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business, by Rita Gunther McGrath

“This book is what has convinced me that businesses (marketing or sales) don’t need to figure out what to adapt into. They just have to develop the skills to adapt.” – Robert Rose 

No. 5: The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life, by Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey

Drawing from deep backgrounds in the field of technology, Luckett and Casey offer a scientific look at the world of social media and explain how these networks mimic the rules and functions of biological life. There is actually a chapter called “Cracking the Memetic Code” (referring to memes), which is pretty awesome. By better understanding the deeply interconnected nature of social media, and what it tells us about the human condition, marketers can formulate plans more intelligently.

No. 6: AdCult USA, by James Twitchell

“During my time in college I studied the early technologies of the renaissance in creating a literate society and the mass distribution of ideas. When I started my career in the Internet and started seeking more and more theories and metaphors to understand the power of mass media and underlying themes, I stumbled upon a book by James Twitchell called AdCult USA. His analysis of the commercial distribution machines of the modern advertising world had a profound effect on me, and my perspective and fear of the power of saturating American society and culture with the cults of desire. I highly recommend this quirky find.” – Oliver Luckett 

No.7: Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim and‎ Renee Mauborgne

“I found the philosophy behind this book compelling, as it aligned with my view that businesses will grow in the decentralized, network-driven economics of the digital era through collaborative expansion rather than zero-sum approaches to market share.” – Michael J. Casey 

No. 8: Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy, by Anindya Ghose

We all know that mobile device ubiquity has completely transformed the fundamentals of commerce and consumer behavior. Yet, plenty of marketers are still trying to determine how best to alter their strategies for maximum impact in this smartphone-driven society. Last year, Ghose was recognized by Thinkers50 for his ability to “convert the digital language of the 0 and 1 into useful human insights,” and his translation skills shine through in this work. Complex subject matter is presented in a very digestible and comprehensible manner.

No. 9: Location is (Still) Everything: The Surprising Influence of the Real World on How We Search, Shop, and Sell in the Virtual One, by David Bell

“A great book on a fascinating topic. It provides an excellent framework by the name GRAVITY that helps firms think through how our offline locations drive our online behavior. It is based on years of academic research. And David is a master at storytelling.” – Anindya Ghose

No. 10: The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! 2.0, by Stoney DeGeyter

Want to organize your marketing efforts and ensure you’re leaving no stone unturned? deGeyter has updated his acclaimed handbook from 2014 to ensure it remains a comprehensive resource for today. This collection of checklists spans every facet of digital marketing and helps you avoid missed steps that could hurt down the line. Great for the self-sufficient, jack-of-all-trades marketer. In the 2.0 version, you’ll find traditional staples as well as new additions such as video and PDF optimization.

No. 11: The Unexpected: Breakthrough Strategies to Supercharge Your Business and Earn Loyal Customers for Life, by Howard Brodsky

“This created a fundamental shift in how we go about customer service. It’s not about meeting their needs, but giving them even more than they expect.” – Stoney deGeyter

No. 12: Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You, by John Hall

“So many of our judgments and decisions, from the strategic to the mundane, come down to the information we can call to our conscious minds in an instant,” argues Hall in the introduction to his book. “By ensuring that you are top of mind among the people in your networks making those important decisions, you are position yourself for success.” Top of Mind explores the latter imperative deeply. You’ll learn how customers have changed, what you can do to build trust, and why transparency, likability, and consistency are cornerstones for sticking in people’s brains.

No. 13: Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention, by John Rulin

No. 14: Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant

“Both are great books that change the mentality of a marketer to helping and being thoughtful. That’s a key differentiating factor for me in a successful marketer so I think both are amazing.” – John Hall 

No. 15: Powering Content: Building a Nonstop Content Marketing Machine, by Laura Busche

These days, content marketing isn’t the mystery it once was. Most business professionals have a solid understanding of what it is, and why it’s important. Yet, the strategic underpinning is still amiss in many organizations. A reputed branding expert, Busche dives into the nuts and bolts of effective content creation and management, offering examples and exercises to help you develop a sustainable marketing engine.

No. 16: Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy, by Delbert Hawkins and‎ David Mothersbaugh

“While I’ve read many impactful business books in my career, none has steered my perspective on marketing like Hawkins & Mothersbaugh’s Consumer Behavior textbook. We tend to go for short reads to understand emerging ideas in our field, but there is nothing like a comprehensive overview of the place where marketing and psychology intersect: consumer behavior. This book is loaded with great examples and visuals to welcome anyone to the fascinating world that is our mind when it interacts with advertising stimuli, environmental influences, and the personality traits that define us.” – Laura Busche 

No. 17: Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, by Melissa Agnes

In many cases, the things we’d least like to think about are the ones we ought to be thinking about most. In an age where marketers are increasingly wearing the hats of PR and crisis management, familiarity with the principles in this book is critical. Agnes doesn’t focus on reacting to negative events, but rather becoming proactive so your business can anticipate rising threats, then handle them as they inevitably arrive with resiliency and poise.

No. 18: Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact, by Phil M. Jones

“A powerful short read that helps you know exactly what to say, when it matters most. The “magic words” that Phil M. Jones shares within this book can be directly applied to marketing messages to increase influence, action, and conversion.” – Melissa Agnes 

No. 19: Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World, by Nick Westergaard

Branding is a different animal here in 2018 compared to even a decade ago. A heralded brand strategist, Westergaard shares his thoughts on what it takes to capture attention and keep it at a time where doing so is more difficult than ever. Among the elements scrutinized in his latest work: giving your brand meaning and purpose, reinforcing with the right touchpoints, cultivating a sense of community, and more.

No. 20: Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, by Seth Godin

“It’s hard to believe that this book is almost 20 years old! This classic from Seth Godin was one of the first books to recast the role of marketing in the digital age. Instead of using these new tools to blast even more messages at an even louder volume, Godin teaches us to offer value up front in exchange for permission. And with that permission, we can continue to build and deepen the relationship with our customers over time. I read this book early in my career, when I was working for an educational publishing company, leading the transition from direct mail to internet marketing. I couldn’t imagine navigating today’s media shifts without it. With more networks and more noise, the lessons are as relevant as ever.” – Nick Westergaard

And finally, don’t forget to “Replenish Your Reading Shelf”. If you have any thoughts, comments, don’t forget to put it down below here and share with me.