On-demand app Grab, which operates across Southeast Asia, is moving into healthcare, through a joint venture with Ping An Good Doctor, a newly listed Chinese online healthcare provider.
Grab said today that it plans to provide a wide range of healthcare services, such as AI-assisted online medical consultations, medicine delivery and appointment bookings, through an online platform set to launch in “select countries” in Q1 2019. It envisions a platform that lets users pay for these medical transactions using GrabPay, Grab’s mobile wallet.
Just like in China, access to quality healthcare and medicine is still a problem in vast parts of Southeast Asia, and many startups have begun to address this – including Grab’s rival in Indonesia, Go-Jek, that owns a separate app called Halodoc, which provides pretty much the same services Ping An Good Doctor has to offer.
For Grab, this plan takes it one step further towards its goal of becoming a “super app”, partly by letting third parties integrate their services into an open platform the Singapore-based unicorn announced in July.
To fuel its super app ambition as well as to prep for a looming competition with Go-Jek, shortly after the open platform launch, Grab closed a US$2 billion funding round at a valuation that could exceed US$10 billion post-money. Ping An, the Chinese insurance firm that’s also Ping An Good Doctor’s parent company, was part of that funding round.
– The move shows how Grab thinks about its business diversification. Its platform serves as point of entry for other companies to Southeast Asian consumers.
– Ping An Good Doctor itself had gone public in Hong Kong earlier this year, however, its share price has been on a downward trend since. Ping An Good Doctor could be looking to Southeast Asia in search for growth and profitability.
– This is one of the few instances where a Chinese internet company is collaborating with Southeast Asian tech unicorn in the form of setting up a JV, versus investment. The other example, though not entirely the same, might be China’s Ant Financial JV with Emtek, which the parent company of Bukalapak, one of the two big C2C marketplaces in Indonesia.
Editor: Ben Jiang