GrabTaxi and Easy Taxi need to stop bickering


Two third-party taxi apps in Southeast Asia, GrabTaxi and Easy Taxi “talked” it out in a Twitter conversation earlier this week


It is unclear when the fight started. No one knows who threw the first punch. But the constant bickering between taxi apps GrabTaxi and Easy Taxi needs to stop now.

Let us recap with the latest incident. On August 4, 2014, GrabTaxi tweeted: “Epic fail by competitors trying to put up fake store reviews LOL!” Along with the tweet was a screen capture of a one-star review left by a “Easy Taxi Cebu”. Here is the screen capture:


The thing is, anyone can leave such a review with “Easy Taxi Cebu” as their nickname. The app developer or owner, on the other hand, will not be able to verify whether the comment was really left by Easy Taxi Cebu or even other competitors. Sharing such a review without any proof might not have been the best way to address this issue.

Later, an account belonging to a “Mario Berta” replied:

Is this the same Mario Berta, Regional CEO at Easy Taxi, as of February 2014? While there was nothing about Easy Taxi in his account description, various tweets made by that same handle were enough to pinpoint his identity, regardless of whether it was really the Easy Taxi executive’s account.

The fight continued with Cheryl Goh, Regional Marketing Head, GrabTaxi replying,

Goh’s tweet came with a screen capture of a conversation taking place between a “Izuddin Helmi” and Easy Taxi Malaysia.


It was impossible to watch. Paul Malicki, Global CMO, Easy Taxi, then replied:

The attacks from either side ended with this tweet from the official Easy Taxi Philippines account:

Is this the sort of dialogue we want to see between seeming rivals? The perennial strife between Easy Taxi and GrabTaxi even reminded this author of the relationship between taxi apps Uber and Lyft in the US. Both are wasting time and resources wanting to win in a bitter, caustic and juvenile manner.

Not the first but what about the last?
This isn’t the first time we have seen or heard about rivalry between the two leading third-party taxi apps in Southeast Asia.

In January 2014, MyPaper published an article about how Easy Taxi has alleged that GrabTaxi was being anti-competitive by displaying misleading images that might sway cab drivers to delete the former’s app. The latter then clarified that “nothing sinister was intended”, according to the same report.

Then, in February 2014, e27 wrote about Anthony Tan, CEO, GrabTaxi and his humble entrepreneurial beginnings, which resulted in a rather feisty conversation in the comments section. While the veracity of each commenter’s identity cannot be determined, it was clear that it wasn’t friendly between the two companies. In that comment thread, there were allegations that GrabTaxi has poached two sales teams from its competition over a period of three months, amongst other claims.

Also Read: How communities help shape companies

Two months later, when GrabTaxi announced raising an eight-figure sum investment, Easy Taxi was the first competitor to publicly congratulate the Singapore- and Malaysia-based firm. Whether it was a sincere move is another point of contention.

So yes, this isn’t the first time we have seen or heard about such a thing happening between the two. While some might say that competition brings innovation and a better experience for customers, this just does not seem like it. In a sense, having a calm and private conversation about unfair strategies is one thing, but calling a competitor out for posting a fake review is another.

After all, to be fair, these two companies are not bad firms; they provide customers with the convenience of knowing that there is a cab out there, and a safe way of commuting via taxi cabs. Instead of helping the category grow, GrabTaxi and Easy Taxi are investing their time in bickering over petty issues. Furthermore, such an incident can really diminish the image of a company, rendering it labelled as ‘spiteful’ and ‘calculative’.

Take the high road here. Let this go, and hopefully, this will be the last of Easy Taxi and GrabTaxi’s public fights.

Featured Image Credit: alpin78 / Shutterstock

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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  • Joash Wee

    But doesn’t this bickering help both sides in generating publicity? Good or bad, it’s still publicity. Reminds me of the days of Xiaxue vs Dawn Yang. Not sure how much it helped in their rise, but it sure gave them a lot of publicity as the fight even spilled over to their followers. Then there’s the Nuffnang vs Gushcloud bickering now. Popcorn time.

  • Elaine Huang

    I guess it’s what these two companies want to be known for — dedication to customers or endless bickering. On one hand, Xiaxue/Dawn Yang etc can involve themselves in such things, but for a company to stoop to that level is just … eh.

  • Surender Dhaleta

    Both GrabTaxi and Easy Taxi need two things:
    1. Social Media Managers
    2. Better PR Managers who will then help the damage done
    3. Scout for an advertising agency

    Whosoever, under what guise, authentic or not, the damage is done — the cat-fights are not dignified and are in bad taste and harm the brand imagery of both the companies.

    Look it from another point of view. The market is in a stage where the job done by both the players is commendable. They are both helping the category grow — investing not only in infrastructure, but education too: educating the drivers not only about the usefulness of the app/s, but also how to use it in the first place, particularly in markets, where smartphone penetration is low.

    My only fear is that, a larger player (no points for guessing) is watching them and having a laugh. Letting both invest in the market and do the dirty work of education and investment in infrastructure. It will soon announce its arrival (it is already here in some regions BTW), give free rides, and will kill at least one of them.

    There’s still a lot to be done. The market has space for both the apps. Instead of fighting like ruffians, they should fight over services and the best — through advertising.

    The least the Management can do at both the companies is ban officers from both the companies to make comments in the social media space. Doesn’t go well down neither for the brand, nor for their individual respect. Now, hire better PR Managers to control the bad publicity both are getting.

    For now, at least one of the brands will have to grow up and take a backseat and maintain a dignified silence. And fight it out on services. Don’t forget in the entire process that the consumer is not a fool. They are no loyalists. So better win them over with better services.

  • Joash Wee

    It’s whether you bicker with class or not. Samsung vs Apple wars, pretty classy. And it’s fun for consumers to watch these 2 duke it out with creative advertising.

  • Elaine Huang

    Agreed. Even Nokia’s tweets targeted at Apple were funny ( , except that one time when it was trashy about it ( Thin line. Very thin line.

  • Elaine Huang

    Agreed. Even Nokia’s tweets to Apple were funny.

    But anyway, my point is that this was pretty tasteless. Could have been a lot better.

  • Maxim Titov

    Ok, after reading this, I really need to go Grab Easy Taxi

  • Will

    It does help in publicity! I found out about GrabTaxi because of the high-profile investment funding they got. And now because of this bickering, I found out about Easy Taxi.

  • Sergio Mello

    Yes Joash it’s very funny because consumers don’t realise that they are ultimately paying for the show. Is it fair? I don’t know. But I’d rather pick a product from a company that invests more in R&D and less in marketing (including billion dollar lawsuits and ATL advertising).

  • Joash Wee

    Sergio, I think you are seriously underestimating the power of proper marketing. Without good marketing, De Beers and the rest of the diamond industry would not have been able to cause men so much pain. Proper marketing is as equally essential as a strong product. Take Blackberry 10 for example – really great platform and device, but really bad marketing.