Vietnamese startup wants motorbike taxis to fight back Uber, Grab

By VnExpress   January 15, 2017 | 10:37 pm PT
Its founder believes that foreign ride-hailing services help many locals, but also threaten so many others.

A new startup project is taking shape in Ho Chi Minh City promising to provide support to Vietnamese xe om motorbike taxi drivers who feel excluded or threatened by the rise of services such as Grab and Uber.

Vu Tuan Anh, who leads the yet-to-be named project, told the Saigon Times that the arrival of Grab and Uber has been generally welcomed by passengers and has created jobs for many people, particularly students and part-time workers.

But many xe om drivers, he said, have had their livelihoods threatened by these modern platforms.

“I started to wonder why IT engineers in Vietnam didn’t create something similar to help 'traditional' xe om drivers,” Anh said, adding that many drivers could not meet technical requirements to join Grab or Uber networks.

“These drivers are vulnerable members in our society,” he was quoted as saying. “They are even more vulnerable now due to Uber Bike and Grab Bike.”

Anh said his non-profit platform will function similarly to that of Grab and Uber but drivers will only be asked to pay a fixed monthly fee of between VND30,000-60,000, instead of 20-30 percent of their income.

It remains unclear if drivers joining his network will be given phones with internet access.

The project, still in the fund-raising phase, will be launched first in District 1 before expanding to other parts of the city. Anh said he will also add delivery and student transport services to help improve income for drivers.

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