Can You Use Uber in Singapore?
Does Uber work in Singapore? The answer to this question is interestingly Yes and No. So sit back and please allow us explain the intricacies of this situation.
In 2018 Uber decided to sell its business in eight Southeast Asian countries to Grab. Grab is a company which offers services similar to Uber. It was founded in Malaysia in 2012. And ultimately it spread throughout the region, also establishing a presence in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and of course Singapore. In fact Grab’s central headquarters is housed in the Lion City as of 2014. And concerning its business proficiency, it actually developed into Uber’s main competitor in this part of the world.
So when the company bought Uber, on the surface, it definitely appeared as a major victory for Grab – the triumph of a local start-up over a global behemoth. But such wasn’t necessarily the case, especially in Singapore. For instance, the current CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, is now on the board of directors of Grab. Moreover Uber acquired a 27.5 percent stake in Grab. What this means is that in reality it now owns over a quarter of its former rival and in fact more shares in the company than any other singular entity.
And remember when we said this news is especially significant to Singapore? Well as recently as April of 2019, Uber established a new “hub” (i.e. office), with over 150 employees, in Singapore to manage the business’s operations in Pacific Asia. However, Uber does not plan to re-initiate service in countries, including Singapore, which it just left in 2018. Rather this move is intended to maintain the corporation’s presence in the region. But also it would logically allow them to keep a close eye on Grab, considering that they now own a big chunk of it.
So for all intents and purposes, a better way of describing the Uber/Grab situation in Singapore is as a merger. For the most part Uber sold itself to Grab. However, in the midst of doing so, it also re-established its presence in Singapore. Or another way of looking at it is that when you call a Grab in the Lion City, you’re also calling an Uber. In other words, you’re more likely to get an experience similar to hiring an Uber via Grab than you are with other ride-hailing service in the country. But in terms of officially operating by offering rides under its own name, Uber is no longer active in Singapore.