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Grab-Uber deal on hold in Singapore as watchdog orders measures to keep market ‘open, contestable’

SINGAPORE, April 13 — Grab’s acquisition of Uber remains unsettled in Singapore, as the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) ordered for a set of interim measures to take immediate effect today to keep the ride-hailing…


Singapore’s competition watchdog on Grab-Uber deal issues interim measures

SINGAPORE, April 13 — Issuing a third statement on the Grab-Uber merger today, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore said a series of interim measures to keep the ride-hailing market “open and contestable” will come into…


AmBank out to ‘Uberise’ banking

KUALA LUMPUR: AMMB Holdings Bhd’s (AmBank Group) digitalisation push will not only see the group possibly come up with new revenue streams by “Uberising” banking, but also help it maintain its physical presence by reducing the number of people needed to man its branches.

AMMB group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir told SunBiz in an interview that digitalisation will by year-end help it reduce manpower at its branches from an average of seven to eight staff to two to three staff. It has 174 branches now, compared with bigger banks that have 400-500 branches.

“We can reshape the branch by virtue that a lot of processes are automated so our number of branches may remain, but the form of the branches may change. We’re prototyping some locations (to reduce the manpower). A lot of forms are not required anymore, so long as we’ve done proper verification and KYC (know-your-customer), we can do everything seamlessly,” said Sulaiman.

On new revenue streams, group COO Datuk Iswaraan Suppiah, who was also at the interview, said the bank is working with a digital company to explore opportunities for “adjacent business models” to generate new services, such as data-backed algorithm risk scoring for lending to the unbanked, and partnered lifestyle propositions for more personalised products for customers.

“We’re embarking on a study over the next 10 weeks with a digital company and we will nail down a strategy within the next two months on adjacent business and whether we want to come out ‘Uberising’ the bank,” he said, referring to Uber’s use of technology to increase accessibility and convenience.

“We still want to do banking-related (adjacent business) because that’s where we’re good at. One thing that digital has not stolen is trust that people have in banks. That trust is our biggest IP (intellectual property) and we want to exploit that further.”

In lending for example, Iswaraan said there are ways of evaluating a customer’s credit risk profile based on digital means, such as by looking at their spend patterns and online activities, which have led other markets to offer the unbanked (adults who do not use banks or banking institutions in any capacity) loans and financing, in the absence of financial statements, records and documents. About 8% of the Malaysian population is reported to be unbanked in 2017.

This digital push will see AmBank continue to invest in honing its skills in technologies like big data analytics, artificial intelligence, mobile and blockchain. Iswaraan said the bank’s digital thrust covers retail consumers, SME and corporates, and focused on dramatically improving the customer experience.

He said its revamped online portal AmOnline to be relaunched today, will soon push personalised recommendations and products to individual customers using advanced analytics, serving customers based on their financial profiles. It also plans to partner financial technology and other ecosystem players in onboarding more customers quickly.

These efforts are expected to help it double the number of registered users to one million by year-end, from half a million now.

Currently 90% of customer transactions with AmBank are carried out via electronic means, including AmOnline, web, teller tablets as well as automated teller machines.

Iswaraan said AMMB has invested RM300 million in its core banking system and getting its digital platforms in place, and will be spending RM50 million more on AmOnline as it rolls out new functions every three months. It will also allocate 10% of its information technology budget of RM180 million annually for cybersecurity over a three-year programme.

“Banks are not necessary, but banking is. How can banks become a banking partner of individuals? Digitalisation provides that quantum leap kind of change in the way we do things,” said Sulaiman.


Uber drivers seek to join taxi firms, as tide turns after merger with Grab

SINGAPORE, April 12 — In the latest twist to the topsy-turvy point-to-point transport sector, traditional taxi operators — which had suffered an exodus of drivers to ride-hailing firms — are now reporting a jump in the number of Uber drivers…


MyCC assessing impact of Uber-Grab merger

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) is assessing the “post-merger impact” of the two ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber to safeguard the public interest.

“The merger is not under our jurisdiction. But we take note of this because it involves the public interest. We have had discussions with Grab, we're monitoring the whole process,” MyCC member Dr. Saadiah Mohamad said at a press conference after a forum on “Strengthening Competition Through Market Review” here today.

She highlighted that the commission is monitoring closely any issues of pricing and anti-competitive behaviour arising from the merger.

Last month, Uber announced the disposal of its Southeast Asian business to Grab.


Uber agrees to buys electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 — Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc said today it has agreed to buy electric bicycle service JUMP Bikes, allowing Uber to offer US passengers an alternative to cars and further consolidating the crowded…


Grab’s Uber deal still has some obstacles to navigate

SINGAPORE, April 9 — Regulatory scrutiny could complicate ride-hailing company Grab’s takeover of Uber Technologies’ South-east Asian business, but there is little the authorities can do to stop Uber from simply exiting the region, lawyers and…


Philippines regulator orders pushback in Uber’s shutdown amid ongoing review

MANILA, April 7 — The Philippines’ anti-trust agency said today it has ordered Uber Technologies Inc to continue domestic operations as it reviews the ride hailing firm’s deal to sell its money-losing Southeast Asian business to rival Grab….


Shutdown of Uber app in Singapore extended for a week as watchdog investigates deal

SINGAPORE, April 6 — Local users of the Uber app can continue using it until April 15, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said today as it continued its investigation into the merger between the US ride-hailing pioneer…


Silicon Valley, Wall Street taking notes on Spotify debut

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EW YORK (April 2): Spotify Technology SA’s unusual route to becoming a public company is a test case for other multibillion-dollar tech companies that are looking to sell their shares but are not in need of cash. On Tuesday, investors will be able to buy and sell shares in the Swedish music streaming service in the New York Stock Exchange’s first-ever direct floor listing. This is without Spotify having hired investment banks as underwriters and undertaking an investor road show as is typical in a traditional initial public offering (IPO).Read More