Grab is likely to move into Cambodia and fight against Uber, bringing competition in ride-hailing services to a new ASEAN country. After EXNET Taxi Cambodia (EXNET) was the first and leading ride-hailing app in Cambodia, Uber moved officially into the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, last week, after delaying by several months the start of its services.
According to Uber, Cambodia is the first country in Asia to implement a dedicated ride-sharing framework even before the company’s services were launched.
Cambodia is now the 78th country in the world where Uber is available, the service for now being only available in the capital Phnom Penh.
“When there is more demand in other provinces, we will expand,” declared Uber’s Asia Pacific chief business officer, Brooks Entwistle.
Talking to media, Mr Entwistle said that Uber was working closely with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport on regulations to ensure “riders were kept safe and secure”.
Pheng Sovicheano, secretary of state of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, confirmed that the ministry had been working with Uber for the past six months to develop “a safe, reliable, and modern transport system”.
Uber will however only enjoy for a short time its position. According to newspapers, Uber rivals Grab met a few days ago with Cambodia’s minister of public works and transport to discuss licensing requirements and other issues Grab need to address before entering the market.
Following the meeting, Grab’s Thailand country director, Yee Wee Tang expressed his commitment to working with experts from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport on licensing procedures, and said that the company would strictly adhere to Cambodian law.
According to a press release, Grab will officially launch in Cambodia “once the endorsement from the Ministry [of Public Works and Transport] has been granted”.
The multiplication of ride-hailing services is likely to have a negative impact on tuk tuk drivers, who are until now the main mean of transportation for locals in Phnom Penh.
According to a 2016 Google report, Southeast Asia’s ride-sharing and taxi on-demand service could hit $13 billion by 2025 with 29 million monthly riders – up from an estimated 7.3 million now – growing at 18 percent per year.