The rumors have been flying around for a few months, but now we finally have confirmation. Uber is giving up on the Southeast Asian market and selling their entire business to ride-sharing rival Grab. No numbers have been disclosed yet, but what is confirmed is that Uber will now have a 27.5% stake in Grab and around 500 employees will make their transition to the latter. Both companies have already started sending out emails to riders and partners, telling them about the transition that will happen.
Similar to what happened to their China operations, Uber failed to adapt to how different the Southeast Asian market was compared to their operations in other territories. Grab dominated Southeast Asia with millions of users across eight countries in the region. Uber struggled in most of those countries and rumors of trouble in the ride-sharing paradise have been going around for the past few months.
Uber’s official statement is of course trying to spin it positively, saying they were able to grow the business after investing $700 million in the region. They stated that their stake is worth several billion dollars, and that includes their food delivery service, Uber Eats. The spin is that combining the two businesses is the “right thing to do” and they are acknowledging that their growth and success in Southeast Asia was because of the riders and partners.
Grab is of course happy that acquiring Uber will further solidify their strength in the region and that this puts them “in a better position to fulfill their promise to outserve” their customers. Uber meanwhile continues exiting markets, including the aforementioned China and also Russia.