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 Thailand welcomed the country’s very own GrabBaby this year?

Baby Bonus (the little one’s nickname) was born in the backseat of Grab driver Thanadet’s car, as he ferried the infant’s parents to a Bangkok hospital. Proud daddy Sopon Kampatee says, “On the way to the hospital, the traffic was terrible, and my wife could not hold the baby any longer. Mr Thanadet tried his best to calm us down; and when the time came, his help was beyond generous. We don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t work together to get my wife to deliver baby Bonus safely in that car.”

This family 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:

A nation of foodies

Now, in Thailand, Grab’s data show that Thais are a food-loving bunch.

For example, bubble tea is really popular – the drink has been ordered via GrabFood over 1 million times throughout 2018. Thai customers contributed to 1 in 5 bubble tea orders in the region!

And GrabFood is a choice delivery partner in getting Thai customers the food they desire. For instance, one of our customers ordered from us for lunch every day for a period of 3 months. What did university student Pitchayakit Tangthananitipat order? Stir-fried basil rice. “I like this menu because of the taste of this shop also I like Grabfood  as there are many restaurants in the app and using Grab Rewards, I can collect points to redeem items,” he says.


Thais are also a really friendly bunch. Over 85 million conversations have been exchanged by our drivers and riders in 2018. To be exact, that’s about 234,000 convos a day!

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.