Why did Uber not work in Southeast Asia?

Uber is a powerhouse with strong brokerage business model strategies in the sharing economy that has brought it to dominate the transportation industry with ride-hailing, peer-to-peer ride sharing, food delivery and bicycle-sharing system. So, why didn’t Uber work in Southeast Asia?

Uber has failed to adapt.

Uber disrupted the industry by causing a 10% fall in income among salaried drivers but a 50% rise in the number of self-employed drivers. It has created more jobs than it has destroyed as it created new financial opportunities such as flexible working hours. Unlike the infamous protests, Uber’s business model is improving the economy more than harming it.

Grab, one of Uber’s biggest competitors, launched GrabBike, which are motorcycle taxis that could weave through traffic, saving time. Uber only implemented the same thing 17 months later.

For years, Uber only accepted credit cards that has been linked to the app and for people who are not tech-savvy, that was a problem. In the Southeast Asian culture, cash was the way to go. Grab was established and ran from local grounds, they understood that that was what locals preferred and cash payment was what Grab started with and had greatly succeeded.

This shows that it is not only important to create a business model that is strong fundamentally, it needs to be easily adaptable in different cultures, especially multi-national companies. This is to ensure its success and longevity, entering and dominating a market with full understanding and ability to serve that market.

What else do think Uber should have done?

-E.

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