Malaysian e-hailing app GrabTaxi to expand into Jakarta

20 May 2015

GrabTaxi is an Uber-style motorbike hailing service operating in Southeast Asia, where two-wheeled vehicles are particularly popular. Already in 18 cities across six countries, the Malaysia-based company is now expanding into Jakarta, Indonesia – a city with a population of 10m.

Launched in 2011, GrabTaxi is now available to passengers in Malaysia, The Phillipines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, across cities that, because of severe traffic problems, suit motorcycle taxi services as the vehicles can weave their way through the congestion. With Jakarta’s large population and numerous transport challenges, the city seems tailor made for such a service.

“We definitely plan to service a larger area but wanted to focus on a specific area for this beta,” Cheryl Goh, GrabTaxi’s VP of marketing told TechCrunch.

Uber itself has been looking to expand into Asia, a potentially huge new market for the California-based company. Chinese e-hailing app Yidao Yongche just this week hinted at a new deal with Uber by posting an image to Chinese microblogging site Weibo featuring a heart connecting the two firm’s logos.

“It’s best to be together,” read the tweet when translated.

China has provided Uber with some problems in the past. In January, the country’s Ministry of Transport banned unlicensed vehicles from taking passengers for cash using ride-sharing apps. In response, Uber said it had not been banned in China, but would be adopting to the country’s regulations.

Jakarta image via Shutterstock

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic