Hey Southeast Asians, we’re all #SameSameButDifferent

It’s not every day that a baby is born in a car, but did you know that we’ve already had 3 Grab babies in Singapore?

Baby Isaiah, born to bank AVP Shawn Yeo and his wife in July, is the latest little one to meet the world while on a Grab ride to the hospital. “Our driver was very calm. He provided advice and comforted us throughout the journey, telling us that everything would be alright,” Shawn recalls. “We made a mess in his car but he was so understanding. We compensated him for the cleaning, of course.”

Shawn is just one of the many people in Southeast Asia whom we’ve had the privilege to serve this year. And from what we’ve noticed, our region is diverse but we’re also quite similar in our habits and way of life.  

For example, we all really love bubble tea, with a whopping 5 million bubble teas ordered via GrabFood in 2018. And that’s second only to our love of shopping – at any one time, 1 in 4 of us was on our way to or from a mall!

Here are other ways in which we are #SameSameButDifferent:

East vs West

Now, in Singapore, Grab’s data in 2018 shows some interesting trivia that tells a lot about the good-natured rivalry between Easties and Westies.

Did you know that Easties are more addicted to bubble tea than Westies? Based on GrabFood data, both groups tie as 15% of population that ordered bubble tea, but Easties ordered just a little more than Westies, with 2.87 drinks per Eastie versus 2.58 drinks per Westie.  

And just going by rides on Grab, Easties are more “atas” than Westies, with 13% of people who live in the East taking at least one Premium ride in the year versus 7% in the West.

But Westies actually travel more to the other side: 77% of Westies travel to the East versus 37% Easties travelling to the West.

Data for good

While it’s fun to look at some of these quirky comparisons from our data bank, the most important use of our data is for a range of improvements to our services and for wider societal impact.

One of the clearest uses of data is to refine and optimise our products for our users. Grab’s analysts study the data, find correlations, build and refine models, in order to make predictions and refinements to our model in each country.

Grab also uses in-house telematics software to monitor driving speeds and patterns. By collecting GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer data from our app during Grab trips, we are able to provide our driver-partners with weekly telematics reports on their driving patterns like speeding, acceleration and braking, so they know where they can do better.

And there has indeed been good results. Data shows that in July 2017, the average number of speeding moments was 0.7 per 100km. By July this year, the figure dropped by 64%. Similarly, the average number of harsh braking and heavy acceleration instances per kilometre decreased by 23% and 50% respectively year-on-year.

But more than using data ourselves, Grab collaborates with cities and governments to solve larger issues such as congestion. We provide our driver location data to the OpenTraffic platform, a collaboration with the World Bank to provide Southeast Asian governments (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines) access to real-time traffic information.

We are also now exploring how to use Grab’s data to help governments directly with transport planning, complement unmet demand in transport and map out how car growth affects cities.


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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.