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Grab offers APIs to drive new services on app

Ride-sharing operator adds grocery delivery to its offerings and introduces GrabPlatform to allow other providers to integrate their services with its app, as it aims to become an "everyday superapp".

Grab has added grocery delivery to its offerings as well as introduced a suite of APIs (application programming interfaces) to allow other providers to integrate their services with its app.

Offered through its new GrabPlatform, the ride-sharing operator said Tuesday the move was part of its aim to build an "everyday superapp", from which consumers could access essential services they needed daily, including transport, food, logistics, messaging, mapping, and payments.

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Third-parties would be able to access components of Grab's technology such as logistics and payments to build and integrate their own service offerings.

Grab's group CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said: "GrabPlatform amplifies economic value for all of Southeast Asia--even more than what we could ever create by ourselves."

The company also planned to adda grocery delivery service, GrabFresh, to its offerings in Southeast Asia. Fulfilled through a partnership with HappyFresh, a regional grocery delivery services provider, Grab said customers would be able to choose from more than 100,000 grocery products from 50 supermarket chains and speciality grocery shops.

The grocery delivery service initially will be available this month as a beta service in Jakarta, before it is rolled out to Thailand and Malaysia by year-end, with other markets to follow, according to Grab.

It added that orders would be delivered, within an hour or at a pre-scheduled time, by its GrabExpress drivers and delivery partners.

"Grocery delivery is a huge opportunity in Southeast Asia," noted HappyFresh CEO Guillem Segarra. "From our research, 70 percent of grocery delivery app users shop at least once per week and they like to shop from the stores they are familiar with."

Its partnership with Grab would enable HappyFresh to improve delivery time and add more delivery time slots as well as add scale to its global operations.

On top of this new service, Indonesia mobile users also would be able to top up their prepaid phone credits through Grab's new Pulsa service.

In addition, the company signed a content agreement with Yahoo to provide news feeds to customers in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines starting this month. It added that more local news partnerships would be unveiled in other countries "soon".

According to Grab, its app clocked more than 100 million installs and the company expected to generate US$1 billion in revenues by end-2018. It operates a network of 7.1 million drivers, delivery partners, agents, and merchants, across eight Southeast Asian markets.

In Singapore, it bought out Uber's Southeast Asian operations in March, but last week was found to have impeded market competition in the city-state. The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore instructed Grab to implement a list of proposed remedies to rectify the situation, which, if found to be inadequate, could result in a reversal of the merger.

Grab had said it would appeal against the commission's decision.