Connect with us

Thailand

AirAsia to launch ride-hailing platform in Thailand, expand digital services in Asean

Jay Shine

Published

 on 

A group of female drivers for AirAsia Grab's new LadiesONLY service in Malaysia. Credit: AirAsia

Bangkok ride-hailers can grab a new option next month. AirAsia’s parent holding company Capital A plans to launch its ride-hailing platform in the Thai capital in April, as it continues an aggressive foray into non-aviation businesses after the Malaysian airline suffered significant pandemic-era losses.

The new service, dubbed AirAsia Ride, will begin with some 5,000 taxis in Bangkok, before expanding to private drivers and other key cities, according to the company’s regional CEO Lim Chiew Shan.

AirAsia Ride first launched in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur last August. It currently covers all of Malaysia’s major cities, with monthly bookings in the six digits for its 30,000 registered drivers, all of whom are fully-vaccinated for Covid.

The platform’s total rides increased on average more than 60% each month since launch in 2021, recording more than 700,000 rides to date. Notably, drivers take 85% of the net fares, excluding toll fees, which the company claims is more than any other “e-hailing” platform on the market.

‘Grab’-ing hold of the market

In a post-pandemic world, the company plans to conquer the road as much as the skies. In Southeast Asia, that means snatching ground from the market’s biggest player — Grab.

Since Uber’s exit from Malaysian in 2018, Grab has been the country’s dominant e-hailing player. According to the Singaporean company’s initial public offering documents, it controlled more than 70% of the local market in 2021.

It’s a similar picture here in Thailand, where Grab controls the lion’s share of the e-hailing market and is also a main platform for food delivery. Grab has some 1,339,154 users in Thailand, with more than 60 percent of customers being women between the ages of 18 and 34, according to Start.io.

In a bid to attract more female drivers, AirAsia Ride launched its LadiesONLY community earlier this month, giving female passengers in Malaysia the option of booking cabs for women only. It may be a sign of how the new e-hailing platform hopes to shake up the market in Thailand.

When the new e-hailing platform launched in Malaysia last August, Amanda Woo, CEO of airasia Super App, emphasized budget mindedness and expanding northward into Thailand…

“Airasia Ride inherits the DNA of running a low cost model which enables savings to be passed on to guests and strives to offer the lowest fares on the road, introducing great value to the highly competitive e-hailing ecosystem. This is part of our continuous digital transformation journey to become Asean’s top super app through our regional expansion into Thailand and potentially Indonesia very soon.”

AirAsia to launch ride-hailing platform in Thailand, expand digital services in Asean | News by Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Demographic insights of Grab users in Thailand. Credit: Start.io

Desperate times, diversified measures

In July last year, AirAsia announced that AirAsia Digital had acquired the Thailand operations of Indonesian tech company Gojek. The all-share deal worth US$50 million gave Gojek a mere 5% stake in AirAsia Digital, and laid the groundwork for logistical platforms like AirAsia Ride to eventually expand into the Thai market this year.

At the time, the digital business division of AirAsia was valued at US$1 billion, earning it the coveted venture status of “unicorn.” But it wasn’t enough to make up for the airline’s billions of dollars in losses during two consecutive years of pandemic.

As the company looked to digital businesses for additional revenue, it became much more than just an airline. And it needed a name change to reflect its new identity. Tony Fernandes, founder of budget carrier AirAsia, rebranded the airline’s parent holding company as Capital A in January this year, saying…

“Over the past two years we have spent the downturn in flying building a solid foundation for a viable and successful future, which is not solely reliant on airfares alone. Capital A signals an exciting new era for our airlines and all of our other portfolio businesses within the Group as we embark on a significant new growth phase.”

Fernandes began expanding full-throttle into non-airline businesses two years ago, when the pandemic started stymying air travel in spring 2020. AirAsia Ride is just one of the resulting non-aviation subsidiaries under the company’s wide umbrella…

“While the airline will always underpin the AirAsia brand, it has long been my firm intention, well before Covid hit, to leverage the strong data we have built up over 20 years and incorporate industry-leading new technologies to offer a broad range of products and services, over and above selling just airfares. The pandemic has allowed us to accelerate that strategy. “

Fernandes initially branched out into online travel agency and cargo logistics businesses, before building an diversified digital business empire encompassing food, groceries, restaurants, parcel delivery, insurance, micro-lending and, of course, e-hailing services. A total of 16 such services are available though the airasia Super App…

“We are already one of the top three online travel agents (OTAs) in Asean and our super app is on track to become the leading lifestyle app in the region very soon. All of our portfolio businesses are well on the way to becoming industry leaders in their respective fields across Southeast Asia, including BigPay, our aircraft engineering division Asia Digital Engineering (ADE) and logistics venture Teleport.”

Weathering the storm

But it hasn’t been a smooth transition for the aviation tycoon. Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions saw the company’s revenue decrease from 11.9 billion ringgit in 2019 to 3.1 billion ringgit in 2020.

Worst of all, the company has wracked up staggering net losses of 5.1 billion ringgit and 3.1 billion ringgit in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

In January, Capital A was put on watch by the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange, which ordered the rebranded company to undergo a financial restructuring within one year or be automatically delisted, according to a report by Nikkei Asia.

Meanwhile, AirAsia (the airline) plans to reopen flights between Malaysia and Thailand in the coming months, as the two countries ease Covid-19 travel restrictions and reopen their shared border.

Time will tell if Fernandes’ pandemic-era restructuring will keep his company afloat in a post-pandemic Southeast Asia. Flight bookings — and ride hailing — will be a part of the equation.

The company aims for it digital businesses to provide half of its total revenue in the medium term — if it can get there. Fernandes is optimistic…

“Importantly, the best is yet to come. We have pivoted, we have transformed and we have a five year plan in place which will see non airline revenues contributing around 50 percent of overall Group revenue by 2026. Once the airlines return to pre-Covid levels in the near future all of our other lines of business will benefit significantly and will all soar to new heights in tandem with one another.”

Thailand News Today | More competition for thai taxis!

SOURCES: Nikkei Asia | Bangkok Post | AirAsia | Start.io

AirAsia to launch ride-hailing platform in Thailand, expand digital services in Asean | News by Thaiger

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Looking for your next home in Thailand? Let us match you with a local expert in minutes!

Thank you for your interest!

One of our agents will
reach out to you soon.

I want to:
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • United States+1
  • United Kingdom+44
  • Australia+61
  • Afghanistan (‫افغانستان‬‎)+93
  • Albania (Shqipëri)+355
  • Algeria (‫الجزائر‬‎)+213
  • American Samoa+1684
  • Andorra+376
  • Angola+244
  • Anguilla+1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda+1268
  • Argentina+54
  • Armenia (Հայաստան)+374
  • Aruba+297
  • Australia+61
  • Austria (Österreich)+43
  • Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan)+994
  • Bahamas+1242
  • Bahrain (‫البحرين‬‎)+973
  • Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)+880
  • Barbados+1246
  • Belarus (Беларусь)+375
  • Belgium (België)+32
  • Belize+501
  • Benin (Bénin)+229
  • Bermuda+1441
  • Bhutan (འབྲུག)+975
  • Bolivia+591
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Босна и Херцеговина)+387
  • Botswana+267
  • Brazil (Brasil)+55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory+246
  • British Virgin Islands+1284
  • Brunei+673
  • Bulgaria (България)+359
  • Burkina Faso+226
  • Burundi (Uburundi)+257
  • Cambodia (កម្ពុជា)+855
  • Cameroon (Cameroun)+237
  • Canada+1
  • Cape Verde (Kabu Verdi)+238
  • Caribbean Netherlands+599
  • Cayman Islands+1345
  • Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)+236
  • Chad (Tchad)+235
  • Chile+56
  • China (中国)+86
  • Christmas Island+61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands+61
  • Colombia+57
  • Comoros (‫جزر القمر‬‎)+269
  • Congo (DRC) (Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo)+243
  • Congo (Republic) (Congo-Brazzaville)+242
  • Cook Islands+682
  • Costa Rica+506
  • Côte d’Ivoire+225
  • Croatia (Hrvatska)+385
  • Cuba+53
  • Curaçao+599
  • Cyprus (Κύπρος)+357
  • Czech Republic (Česká republika)+420
  • Denmark (Danmark)+45
  • Djibouti+253
  • Dominica+1767
  • Dominican Republic (República Dominicana)+1
  • Ecuador+593
  • Egypt (‫مصر‬‎)+20
  • El Salvador+503
  • Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial)+240
  • Eritrea+291
  • Estonia (Eesti)+372
  • Ethiopia+251
  • Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)+500
  • Faroe Islands (Føroyar)+298
  • Fiji+679
  • Finland (Suomi)+358
  • France+33
  • French Guiana (Guyane française)+594
  • French Polynesia (Polynésie française)+689
  • Gabon+241
  • Gambia+220
  • Georgia (საქართველო)+995
  • Germany (Deutschland)+49
  • Ghana (Gaana)+233
  • Gibraltar+350
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)+30
  • Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)+299
  • Grenada+1473
  • Guadeloupe+590
  • Guam+1671
  • Guatemala+502
  • Guernsey+44
  • Guinea (Guinée)+224
  • Guinea-Bissau (Guiné Bissau)+245
  • Guyana+592
  • Haiti+509
  • Honduras+504
  • Hong Kong (香港)+852
  • Hungary (Magyarország)+36
  • Iceland (Ísland)+354
  • India (भारत)+91
  • Indonesia+62
  • Iran (‫ایران‬‎)+98
  • Iraq (‫العراق‬‎)+964
  • Ireland+353
  • Isle of Man+44
  • Israel (‫ישראל‬‎)+972
  • Italy (Italia)+39
  • Jamaica+1
  • Japan (日本)+81
  • Jersey+44
  • Jordan (‫الأردن‬‎)+962
  • Kazakhstan (Казахстан)+7
  • Kenya+254
  • Kiribati+686
  • Kosovo+383
  • Kuwait (‫الكويت‬‎)+965
  • Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан)+996
  • Laos (ລາວ)+856
  • Latvia (Latvija)+371
  • Lebanon (‫لبنان‬‎)+961
  • Lesotho+266
  • Liberia+231
  • Libya (‫ليبيا‬‎)+218
  • Liechtenstein+423
  • Lithuania (Lietuva)+370
  • Luxembourg+352
  • Macau (澳門)+853
  • Macedonia (FYROM) (Македонија)+389
  • Madagascar (Madagasikara)+261
  • Malawi+265
  • Malaysia+60
  • Maldives+960
  • Mali+223
  • Malta+356
  • Marshall Islands+692
  • Martinique+596
  • Mauritania (‫موريتانيا‬‎)+222
  • Mauritius (Moris)+230
  • Mayotte+262
  • Mexico (México)+52
  • Micronesia+691
  • Moldova (Republica Moldova)+373
  • Monaco+377
  • Mongolia (Монгол)+976
  • Montenegro (Crna Gora)+382
  • Montserrat+1664
  • Morocco (‫المغرب‬‎)+212
  • Mozambique (Moçambique)+258
  • Myanmar (Burma) (မြန်မာ)+95
  • Namibia (Namibië)+264
  • Nauru+674
  • Nepal (नेपाल)+977
  • Netherlands (Nederland)+31
  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)+687
  • New Zealand+64
  • Nicaragua+505
  • Niger (Nijar)+227
  • Nigeria+234
  • Niue+683
  • Norfolk Island+672
  • North Korea (조선 민주주의 인민 공화국)+850
  • Northern Mariana Islands+1670
  • Norway (Norge)+47
  • Oman (‫عُمان‬‎)+968
  • Pakistan (‫پاکستان‬‎)+92
  • Palau+680
  • Palestine (‫فلسطين‬‎)+970
  • Panama (Panamá)+507
  • Papua New Guinea+675
  • Paraguay+595
  • Peru (Perú)+51
  • Philippines+63
  • Poland (Polska)+48
  • Portugal+351
  • Puerto Rico+1
  • Qatar (‫قطر‬‎)+974
  • Réunion (La Réunion)+262
  • Romania (România)+40
  • Russia (Россия)+7
  • Rwanda+250
  • Saint Barthélemy+590
  • Saint Helena+290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis+1869
  • Saint Lucia+1758
  • Saint Martin (Saint-Martin (partie française))+590
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)+508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1784
  • Samoa+685
  • San Marino+378
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé e Príncipe)+239
  • Saudi Arabia (‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎)+966
  • Senegal (Sénégal)+221
  • Serbia (Србија)+381
  • Seychelles+248
  • Sierra Leone+232
  • Singapore+65
  • Sint Maarten+1721
  • Slovakia (Slovensko)+421
  • Slovenia (Slovenija)+386
  • Solomon Islands+677
  • Somalia (Soomaaliya)+252
  • South Africa+27
  • South Korea (대한민국)+82
  • South Sudan (‫جنوب السودان‬‎)+211
  • Spain (España)+34
  • Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව)+94
  • Sudan (‫السودان‬‎)+249
  • Suriname+597
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen+47
  • Swaziland+268
  • Sweden (Sverige)+46
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)+41
  • Syria (‫سوريا‬‎)+963
  • Taiwan (台灣)+886
  • Tajikistan+992
  • Tanzania+255
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • Timor-Leste+670
  • Togo+228
  • Tokelau+690
  • Tonga+676
  • Trinidad and Tobago+1868
  • Tunisia (‫تونس‬‎)+216
  • Turkey (Türkiye)+90
  • Turkmenistan+993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands+1649
  • Tuvalu+688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands+1340
  • Uganda+256
  • Ukraine (Україна)+380
  • United Arab Emirates (‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎)+971
  • United Kingdom+44
  • United States+1
  • Uruguay+598
  • Uzbekistan (Oʻzbekiston)+998
  • Vanuatu+678
  • Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)+39
  • Venezuela+58
  • Vietnam (Việt Nam)+84
  • Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)+681
  • Western Sahara (‫الصحراء الغربية‬‎)+212
  • Yemen (‫اليمن‬‎)+967
  • Zambia+260
  • Zimbabwe+263
  • Åland Islands+358

    image

    Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

    Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

    Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

    A longtime expat in Asia with a degree in journalism and creative writing. Highlights include writing for Condé Nast Traveller and Apple Music. In his spare time, Jay enjoys writing poetry, brewing traditional Chinese tea and lounging with his calico soi cat, Almond.

    image

    Follow Thaiger by email:

    Guides4 hours ago

    Take a workation at these 5 best places in Koh Samui

    Thailand4 hours ago

    Thailand’s monkeys are starving due to fear of monkeypox

    Events4 hours ago

    Deep Week in Phuket – The world’s largest open freediving festival

    Sponsored13 hours ago

    Make your dream vacation at these 5 grandest luxury villas in Phuket

    image
    Thailand4 hours ago

    Thailand News Today | Thai Govt announces “zero road deaths” policy

    Economy5 hours ago

    Saudi deal to inject ‘billions’ into Thai economy

    Phuket5 hours ago

    Phuket looks for new groundwater sources to cope with acute water shortages

    image
    Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
    Chon Buri5 hours ago

    Chon Buri garage owner found dead after alleged misunderstanding over bike

    Bangkok5 hours ago

    Taxi’s brakes fail causing 10 vehicle accident in Bangkok

    Travel5 hours ago

    Where to buy electronics in Thailand 2022

    Economy6 hours ago

    Thai PM suggest people only drive for “essential journeys”

    Crime7 hours ago

    Road rage incident leaves truck driver traumatised

    Chon Buri7 hours ago

    Mayor says more changes to come at Pattaya’s Jomtien beach

    Road deaths7 hours ago

    UPDATE: French woman dies riding bicycle in central Thailand

    Crime8 hours ago

    Man arrested for smuggling durian trees valued at 1 million baht to Laos

    Politics8 hours ago

    UPDATE: Thai political activists left to rot in jail

    Thailand8 months ago

    Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

    Tourism1 year ago

    Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

    Phuket1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

    Tourism1 year ago

    Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

    Tourism1 year ago

    In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

    Trending