Ride-hailing, also known as ride-sharing, has fast become a global phenomenon over the past decade, with many people favoring it over traditional taxi services. A typical ride-hailing company uses GPS tracking to match potential passengers with drivers through mobile apps or websites. Ride-hailing is preferred among many as it is often cheaper and has shorter waiting times than taxi services. Ride-hailing companies have the benefit of being able to escape normal licensing and regulatory requirements which taxi services must adhere to. Ride-hailing operates throughout the entire world, however, with increasing populations and business operations, the demand for effective mobility in the Asia-Pacific region is high. The online ride-hailing market has increased dramatically throughout recent years, with expectations its value will increase further in Southeast Asia.

Leading ride-hailing companies

Given the dramatic rise in ride-hailing usage and revenue, it does not seem too surprising that Asia is the largest ride-hailing market globally. Many Asia-Pacific companies have taken advantage of the surge in popularity of ride-hailing and have firmly established themselves within the ride-hailing market. The companies which dominate the ride-hailing market throughout the Asia-Pacific region are Grab, Gojek, Ola, Didi, and Uber. Uber operates in Australia, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong – with headquarters based in Singapore. Not only does Uber offer ride-hailing, but it has reached Super App status, also offering food delivery services. A direct competitor with Uber is Grab – a fellow Super App company based in Singapore. Similarly to Uber, Grab also exhibited steady progression through its increased revenue and operates food delivery and digital payment services in addition to its mobility segment. Moreover, Grab acquired Uber's Southeast Asian operations in 2018. Grab's biggest regional competitor is Indonesian company Gojek, which has displayed high numbers of monthly active users throughout Southeast Asia, solidifying its position within the region's ride-hailing and Super App market.

COVID-19 impacts and the future of ride-hailing

The unprecedented outbreak of the coronavirus had an adverse impact on many industries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. As such, the ride-hailing market faced austerity and many companies made significant employee cuts to account for the losses incurred during the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, consumer spending on ride-hailing in Singapore declined throughout the pandemic, as it did in many other Asia-Pacific countries. Despite the interruptions to the market which the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused, the ride-hailing industry is set to recover. Not only is recovery expected, but forecasts have shown that it will become cheaper to ride-share rather than own a car by 2027. Consumers have also begun to question the necessity of car ownership now that ride-hailing and ride-sharing services have become widely available and accessible. In this regard, it can indeed be inferred that ride-hailing will retain its popularity in the Asia-Pacific region within the years to come.


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