Saturday, 2024 April 20

KrASIA Weekly: Escalating race to become Southeast Asia’s super app

Hi there, it’s Robin from Singapore.

Grab began this week by making a bold claim: Given Grab’s current growth rates, the company is expecting to be four times bigger than its closest rival in Indonesia, as well as across the wider Southeast Asia region by the end of the year.

Expectedly, the stakes are only going to get higher.

Grab is targeting to secure another USD 2 billion in the form of both equity and debt by end-2019. This announcement came out just a few days after Bloomberg reported of Go-Jek being crowned as Indonesia’s first and Southeast Asia’s second decacorn – startups valued at over USD 10 billion – according to data from a US market intelligence report. Although Go-Jek may not actually have earned that title just yet.

For Grab, the race to become Southeast Asia’s super app was inspired by Tencent’s WeChat and the pursuit of Go-Jek. It will be interesting to see how this pans out right here in Southeast Asia as the rush to gather more capital is gaining even more momentum. In a more cynical view express by Bloomberg opinion columnist Tim Culpan, it’s a bonfire of vanities that’s turning incresingly toxic

In addition to Grab’s aspiration to raise more money, there were two more startups, right here in Singapore that have successfully secured more funding within the same week. Mobile marketplace Carousell raised USD 56 million from global tech investor Naspers, while ShopBack, an e-commerce platform, raked in USD 45 million from the likes of EV Growth and Rakuten.

Raking in millions to fuel growth has become a norm in China, the country that welcomed 97 unicorns – startups that have a valuation of at least USD 1 billion – in 2018 alone, according to the South China Morning Post citing a Hurun report.

Luckin Coffee, for instance, is doing just that, raising more money to expand to yet another 14 Chinese cities amidst burgeoning cash burns. There are also rumors of the company’s imminent public listing.

Read on to find out more interesting stories from last week, and feel free to tip us if you have news or you just want to talk with us, email us at and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

Here are some stories you shouldn’t miss.


Southeast Asia

Robin Boe of Fore Coffee, A buzz from your phone: Startup Stories

Gaming industry pioneer Nithinan Boonyawattanapisut: Gaming and retail are already converging

Indonesia to implement QR Code standards by second half of the year

Shopee starts charging commissions in Vietnam as part of monetization plan

Go-Viet launched food delivery service in Hanoi

AirAsia plans to enter the OTA business

New startup accelerator program powered by Seedstars to kick off in Cambodia next month

The next big thing in your country: Venture Voices

Putri Izzati of Simona Ventures on the importance of investing in women-led businesses: Women in Tech

Fully invested: Early Stage

Validus Capital steps into Indonesia its first Southeast Asian market beyond Singapore

Vietnamese ride-hailer FastGo launches helicopter rides for tourism

Neuron Mobility rides into its fifth major Southeast Asian city

Indonesia’s first online debt management solution expands to Malaysia

Indonesia’s Stock Exchange says Traveloka is most likely candidate for an IPO



Alibaba’s denies association with ‘creative’ ad in Shanghai school test paper

China’s largest courier firm now offers relocation services in Beijing

Former Baidu executives founded self-driving car startup WeRide seeks test riders

Tik Tok adds 188 million new users in Q1 2019 despite challenges

JD’s fintech arm acquires a peer-to-peer lending platform and grocery giant Yonghui plough USD 750 million into Thai fruits

Taobao app adds foodie channel to tap on China’s food e-commerce growth

Grindr owner Kunlun to invest USD 50 million in self-driving startup

China to crack down on illegal user data collection

Alipay’s mutual aid platform Xiang Hu Bao aims to cover 1/5 of China’s population in two years threatens to fire underperforming or overpaid employees in leaked email


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