Li firmly believes that GrabTaxi‘s funding round, which was undisclosed, but rumoured to be US$10 million, will go a long way towards improving the taxi app marketplace, spurring development and ensuring consumers get a better product. “Congratulations to Grab Taxi! Easy Taxi is happy that more investment is being committed to the development of this market place, which will eventually benefit both drivers and consumers,” he said.
In a similar tone, last year, amid the launch of Easy Taxi in Philippines, Managing Director for Southeast Asia, Mario Berta shared that competitors help to educate consumers in an innovative industry.
“I believe that having up to three [competing] apps in one market is good, as it will educate the market (passengers, drivers and taxi companies),” Berta said, “Every Rocket Internet venture in this region has disrupt the market: we created entire ecosystems in countries that did not know the existence of e-commerce before, so for us having someone that educates before us is a good thing as will save us time and money.”
Meanwhile, Li said that EasyTaxi will be expanding to two more Southeast Asian countries soon. “As the world’s biggest taxi app and with the backing from Rocket Internet, Easy Taxi is focused on growth and customer service,” he noted, “As we speak, we are starting operations in two more countries in the Southeast Asia region, including a very big neighbour of Singapore. By end of this month, Easy Taxi will be present in 30 countries, including all the major markets in Southeast Asia.”
Interestingly, in a final note, Li seeks to emphasise the importance of fair play and healthy competition in the taxi app scene. “While we are growing aggressively, we make sure that we adhere to the highest level of integrity and ethical standards,” he said, “We have not engaged and will never engage in any anti-competitive activity. And we sincerely hope that all the players in the industry do the same.”
While it may seem tempting to dismiss the above as a warning or as an absolution, given that Easy Taxi has pushed ahead with moves to increase market share such as offering its service for free in Singapore, a sincere appeal to fairness and integrity looks to be more accurate. After all, the taxi booking app market is still in its infancy, with many countries in SEA like Indonesia yet to enjoy its benefits.