File photo of Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-Founder of Grab.

File photo of Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-Founder of Grab.

Post the news on an impending merger between global cab-hailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, Anthony Tan, CEO of Southeast Asian cab-hailing company Grab, has vowed to make Uber lose in the region, in case it looks to “turn more attention and divert resources to our region [Referring to Southeast Asia].”

In an email communication to employees, which e27 has got access to, Tan also said the local champion that stays true to their beliefs and strength can prevail.

Didi is also an investor in Grab.

“With the deal in China, we expect Uber to turn more attention and divert resources to our region. But we have seen that the local champion stays true to their beliefs and strength, they will prevail. We see this happening in China, and it will be the same here. They’ve lost once, and we’ll make them lose again,” he said in the email.

The email comes in the wake of a report by Bloomberg that said Didi and Uber‘s business in China are set to merge in a deal valued at US$35 billion. As per this report, investors of Uber China chapter will stand to receive a 20 per cent stake in the merger. On Didi’s part, it will reportedly invest US$1 billion at a US$68 billion valuation.

This news emerges soon after Chinese regulators announced that ride-hailing services will be legalised by November. Bloomberg also reported two weeks ago that investors in China were pushing for a deal with Didi to curb searing losses; Uber has reportedly lost more than US$2 billion in the Chinese market despite the backing of Baidu, who led funding round of more than US$1.2 billion last year.

This merger — or acquisition of Uber China by Didi if you will — will finally allow Uber to divert resources away from a protracted battle for dominance in a huge Chinese market and set its sights on revving up expansions in other regions — possibly Southeast Asia.

The Grab CEO said in a diverse market, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. And localised solutions best solve local problems. “Like Didi in China, we make sure that the unique pain points of users in Singapore and Jakarta or Manila will get addressed because they are prioritised over the competing needs of users in New York, London or Istanbul,” he said.

Here is the full version of the mail.

Dear Grabbers,

There has been a development in the global ride-hailing space that I’d like to share with you.

Did Chuxing and Uber are rumoured to announce a deal very soon in China. After more than a year of intense competition, our investor and global partner Didi has effectively won the battle for market share dominance in China. Didi’s success reinforces what we have believed all along.

That we live in a very diverse world and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Localised solutions best solve local problems. Like Didi in China, we make sure that the unique pain points of users in Singapore and Jakarta or Manila will get addressed because they are prioritised over the competing needs of users in New York, London or Istanbul.

That a team that lives and breathes the markets it operates in makes a difference. Because our users are also people who we care about – our families, our neighbours, our friends. And not just some digits presented on a business dashboard at the other side of the world in a different time-zone.

That we are here for the masses and hence a broad selection of transport options are needed to serve their diverse needs- from businessmen arriving for a meeting on GrabCar+, to the students using GrabBike to beat congestion and reach classes on time, from drivers deepening solely on Grab to feed their families, to the car owners using GrabHitch to subsidise their driving costs and to make new friends. Because we know we are not here to only serve a privileged segment of users who can afford surge-pricing.

These beliefs have served us well. We are everywhere in our region, serving many many people in our cities everyday in our countries and communities. We are driven by the purpose to improve the lives of people in Southeast Asia. We have built a strong team that connects with our region, and team that firmly believes in “Your problem is my problem”.

With the deal in China, we expect Uber to turn more attention and divert resources to our region. But we have seen that the local champion stays true to their beliefs and strength, they will prevail. We see this happening in China, and it will be the same here. They’ve lost once, and we’ll make them lose again.

Let us seize this opportunity. More than ever before, we must continue to leverage on our own strengths. To listen and to put ourselves in the shoes of our users and partners. And ultimately deliver the best passenger transport solution that this region has ever had.

God speed
Anthony Tan