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Singapore Imposes Antimonopoly Measures for Grab-Uber Deal

Singapore’s competition watchdog outlined a set of measures for the Grab –  Uber deal to ensure an open market environment on Friday.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said the measures include preventing Grab from taking over operational data from Uber to enhance its market position; adding that Uber would continue to operate in Singapore until May 7 to smoothen the transition.

The other measures stated are ensuring that drivers are not subject to exclusivity obligations, and keeping pre-merger pricing & driver commission rates.

Singapore’s decision will help Grab advance the service integration with Uber in Southeast Asia and will allow the Singapore-based company to increase its market share in the whole region.

Uber sold its entire Southeast Asian business to its local rival Grab, making the US company’s second retreat from an Asian market. Uber gets 27.5 percent stake or $6 billion in Grab.

Lim Kell Jay, Grab Singapore’s head said, “We trust the CCCS’ review takes into account a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving, highly competitive, and being disrupted by technology and new services.”

The commission also requires Grab to cease its exclusivity arrangements with all taxi fleets in Singapore, subject to the provisions. However, according to the CCCS, the Singapore-based company may receive personal data of drivers, riders, and merchants who choose to shift to Grab.

The CCCS added that the measures are important because the two companies are each other’s tight competitor and have a significant market share, adding that barriers to entry were likely to be high.

Close to Merging

Grab and Uber app in phone

Both Uber and Grab should also ensure that drivers who rent a vehicle from Uber’s car leasing company are free to drive for any other platforms.

The interim measures will be in place until the investigation is completed or concerns over the deal are resolved unless revoked by the agency.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday that the CCCS’ measures on the removal of exclusivity obligations and impediments to market contestability will further promote market competition in the point-to-point transportation sector. The LTA was in the process of reviewing the broader regulatory framework for the industry, including studying how to structure the sector and license private hire car booking service operators.

Singapore started the investigation a day after the merger deal was announced, and on March 30, it proposed the interim directions to preserve competition, saying the commission had reasonable grounds for suspecting that the merger is an infringement of the competition law.

Grab and Uber submitted a counterproposal to the commission on April 4 and agreed to extend Uber’s operations until April 15.

Uber ended its services on April 8 in six of the eight markets: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Authorities in the Philippines have yet to approve Uber’s exit.

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