Uber Pulls Out of Southeast Asia, Employees Given 2 Hours to Run

Uber will leave Southeast Asia in two weeks, selling out to Singapore-based Grab for a 27.5% stake in that company. The Uber app will no longer function in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam. UberEATS will end shortly thereafter.

Uber and Grab share SoftBank as an investor and the move reduces competition. SoftBank is also an investor in Uber’s largest competitor in India and the move has fueled speculation of Uber pulling out of India if it can arrange a similar deal.

This is said to stop Uber’s financial hemorrhaging in the region ahead of an anticipated IPO next year. They’ve already bailed on China and Russia as well.

Uber employees in Singapore were given 2 hours to clear out the office (HT: David H.).

In my view Uber has been higher quality than Grab, from drivers and cars to app and wait times, but that’s purely anecdotal. The bottom line for travelers in that the Uber app will not work in the region, you’re more or less stuck downloading Grab or taking a taxi (please don’t tell me about this or that local alternative).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This sucks, I noticed Hong Kong is not on the list, I used Uber in the Philippines, much better than getting in a smelly cab or an overpriced Hotel car.

  2. I used Grab in Da Nang last week and it worked just fine. It also allows for payment by cash so you don’t need to add a credit card.

  3. Excuse me, what’s the point to pay cash after a ride? I thought a credit card in Uber/Gran/Lyft… is more convenient? Thanks

  4. In Thailand (Bangkok specifically) Grab works pretty well as its driver base is pulled from the current licensed taxis pool (the quality of said drivers, car conditions, driving safety practices is a whole separate issue) and the cash payment option is a nice alternative.
    I know some females who prefer Uber for personal safety issues, but as a male. I’ve found Uber and Grab to be fine… I won’t really miss Uber here.

  5. Dirt cheap in Vietnam when I used it last year. In fact better to take Uber than to try to cross intersections packed with scooters.

    Going to Singapore and Bali in June. Guess I will have to figure out Grab.

  6. Don’t forget that in Bali there is a true rival: Go-Jek. The ride sharing initiator in SEA (2011!) is going to expand to Metro Manila as an international breakthrough this year. Gojek’s expansion to KL is not considered as a success due to limitation and regulations. Btw, Go-Jek is Uber-engineer-backed, so the app resembles Uber

  7. We used Uber about 10-15 times in Malaysia last year; ever since, I’ve been getting texts from Uber Eats Malaysia. (Not enough to be a nuisance – they mostly just make me 1) hungry and 2) want to go back!)
    I guess this means the end of those texts…

  8. I used Grab in Singapore recently. I liked the cash option so I could unload my local currency. Flew to Yangon, Myanmar and opened the app. A cabbie approached me and said he would match the Grab rate, 8000 kyat. I took it. Interesting that I remembered the cab ride of 2 years ago, 10,000 kyat. And our return cab was also 8000 kyat, so Grab in effect reduced cab prices as well.

  9. Interesting, in Thailand last year, used the Lyft app and ended up with Grab car at twice the price of Grab. After that experience, just used Grab directly and paid cash. Grab in Thailand allows you to add cc info for payment, though not fully understood by drivers.

  10. Isn’t there one Grab app?

    So if you add a credit card in it, you can pay with cc anywhere where Grab is accepted?

  11. I spoke to a friend who worked in the Uber office in Singapore. They were given more than 2 hours to clear out – there were a couple calls in the morning about the subject, they had lunch, and had till 4 pm to leave.

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