Grab, the Southeast Asian multipurpose app, has partnered with the Chinese online healthcare services provider Ping An Good Doctor to form a joint venture company.
Grab is a Singapore-based technology company that offers the only ride-hailing, ride sharing, and logistics services through its app in Singapore and neighbouring Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. It has since expanded to include food delivery and payment services so that this year it is expected to be the first mobile technology start-up in Southeast Asia to earn US$1 billion in revenue. Ping An Good Doctor is an online medical platform with over 200 million users in China, that delivers healthcare solutions using AI technology to guide online medical consultations.
Grab CEO Anthony Tan has big aspirations for the platform which he hopes will bring “accessible and affordable services to the masses in Southeast Asia, be it in transport, payments, food delivery or groceries.” By forming a joint venture with Ping An Good Doctor the app is aiming to address the burgeoning healthcare needs of Southeast Asia, which struggles with a lack of adequate medical infrastructure and a stark rural-urban divide in healthcare accessibility.
Grab’s geographic footprint coupled with Ping An Good Doctor’s services gives the venture great potential to make inroads into South East Asia’s huge market of 600 million people. Will this venture help solve some of the region’s healthcare challenges? Does it provide an opportunity for China to exert some soft-power influence in the region? Is this further evidence of the rise of “superapps” that cater to our every need and if so, what influence might they exert over their customers and society?