SINGAPORE: Although international ride-sharing giant Uber’s Southeast Asia operations have been acquired by regional rival Grab, the battle between Asia’s home-grown ride-sharing brands seems set to continue.

Grab, the Malaysia-founded ride-share company, has seen extraordinary growth in Southeast Asian markets where its localised offerings have found favour with consumers across the region.

According to Tobias Wilson, CEO of APD Singapore, Grab has succeeded from the very beginning in being seen as the local option by tapping into cultural nuances and leveraging those in each of the markets around the region, Marketing Interactive reported.

“Because of this strategy, no matter where you were, people thought Grab was from that country and I think that allowed them to gain huge amounts of mental traction versus their big bad American competitor,” he said.

For more on how Grab turned itself into a household name in Asia, read WARC’s in-depth report: From start-up to Asian super-brand – Grab’s tips for marketing success.

As part of its acquisition of Uber, Grab will integrate Uber’s ride-sharing and food delivery business in the region into its own transport and fintech platforms.

Meanwhile, Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab’s board.

But with Indonesian market leader Go-Jek, the country’s first billion dollar tech start-up, reported to be making expansion plans, Grab’s dominance in the market may face some new competition, according a recent report by Reuters.

The two companies represent a new wave of homegrown Asian super-brands which are out-manoeuvring their international rivals in Southeast Asia’s notoriously challenging and fast-changing markets. And with backers including Alphabet’s Google and China’s Tencent Holdings, Go-Jek has reason to feel bullish.

“Whenever two large brands merge there are always a number of consumers that want more competition in the market. Some people will view the Uber and Grab merger with a level of scepticism,” said Nick Foley, president of Southeast Asia Pacific and Japan at Landor, the brand consultancy.

“Go-Jek feel genuinely from Southeast Asia. Grab could find itself depositioned quite easily as Go-Jek seeks to expand its geographic footprint within the region,” he added.

Sourced from Marketing Interactive, Reuters; additional content by WARC staff