Q2 2021: A Sustainable Digital Economy For All

Good afternoon!

We hope this finds you safe and well. Our thoughts continue to be with many of the entrepreneurs and their families who’ve been impacted by further waves of Covid-19 across the region. While it has not been easy to cope with the ups and downs of the pandemic, we remain optimistic that Southeast Asia will rise, and emerge more resilient from this crisis.

Over the second quarter of 2021, we worked with partners to understand the impact of digitalisation on Southeast Asia, particularly in the context of the pandemic, and launched initiatives to support the region. We would like to share with you some key highlights:

Last month, we collaborated with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to host an initial conversation on the gig economy in Southeast Asia. This was the start of an effort to understand the diverse perspectives on the future of work, and explore areas of subsequent engagements to help shape a sustainable gig economy for all stakeholders.

In Malaysia, we coordinated with the social security agency and internal stakeholders to register over 80,000 of our delivery partners to the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme. This was done at no cost to the partners via the government-funded SPS Lindung programme, and provides more extensive support coverage in addition to the existing GrabInsure 24/7 insurance protection under GrabBenefits.

After a year of battling Covid-19, our Group President Ming Maa penned an op-ed for the Asian Development Bank about what Grab has learnt thus far from being at the frontlines of the pandemic, while working with governments across the region.

To wrap up the quarter, we highlighted our commitment to Southeast Asia with the release of Grab’s first annual Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) report, which included new initiatives to offset carbon footprints. A GrabForGood Fund with an initial funding of US$275 million in cash and Grab shares was also launched to support programs that will have lasting impact on the quality of life for our driver-, delivery- and merchant-partners, and the broader community of Southeast Asia. If you do have any ideas on areas of partnerships, feel free to reach out to us!

Thank you for reading and we hope you have a fantastic day ahead.

Grab Public Affairs


Digitalising rural businesses 

  • In Vietnam, Grab supported lychee farmers in Bac Giang province to sell their produce as their supply chains were impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. By harnessing the capabilities of our tech, and partnerships with stakeholders involved, we were able to quickly connect multiple parties at scale, and enable a viable cost distribution model. This initiative made it possible for consumers to buy directly from farmers at a discounted delivery fee. In just under 5 days from launch, over 100 tons of lychees were pre-ordered through the platform! 

  • Grab has also partnered with Vietnam’s Department of Enterprise Development, Department of Agricultural Products and Market Development; and the Trade and Investment Centre, to support agricultural producers in areas hit by Covid-19 with digital tools. 

Banking the unbanked

  • In an exclusive interview with KrAsia, Grab Financial Group (GFG)’s Senior Managing Director Reuben Lai shared on the evolution of GFG – how it started with helping driver-partners open bank accounts and being their entry point into the formal banking system, to offering a myriad of financial services today, including lending, insurance, investments, and more. In another article, Reuben also shared how Grab has been able to grow and scale the organisation to serve the region, from Singapore

Supporting the EV goals of Southeast Asia governments

  • Together with Hyundai Motor Group, Grab is doubling down on initiatives to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the region through an expanded strategic partnership scope announced in June 2021. It includes the exploration of launching new EV business models such as battery-as-a-service, and EV financing to drive greater EV adoption. “Successful EV adoption is a multi-stakeholder effort, particularly in Southeast Asia, and we’ll continue to leverage our technology and operational leadership to build a fleet for the future”, Russell Cohen, Group Managing Director of Operations, Grab.

Drop a note to medha.basu@grab.com to sign up for updates from Grab’s public affairs team.

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

COVID-19 has dealt an unprecedented blow to the tourism industry, affecting the livelihoods of millions of workers. One of them was Komsan, an assistant chef in a luxury hotel based in the Srinakarin area.

As the number of tourists at the hotel plunged, he decided to sign up as a GrabFood delivery-partner to earn an alternative income. Soon after, the hotel ceased operations.

Komsan has viewed this change through an optimistic lens, calling it the perfect opportunity for him to embark on a fresh journey after his previous job. Aside from GrabFood deliveries, he now also picks up GrabExpress jobs. It can get tiring, having to shuttle between different locations, but Komsan finds it exciting. And mostly, he’s glad to get his income back on track.