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Opinion
Andy Mukherjee

Singapore’s Grab Can’t Afford to Fail Finance Test

The ride-hailing firm wants to be a regional super-app offering everything from food to insurance. So does Indonesia’s Go-Jek.

Would you like some insurance or a pizza with that?

Would you like some insurance or a pizza with that?

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

After sending rival Uber Technologies Inc. packing from Singapore and other Southeast Asian markets, homegrown ride-hailing firm Grab Pte. has set itself a stiffer target. It wants to be a regional super-app.

Think of it as a digital conglomerate that hooks customers for one thing, only to promise them value for several others, sort of like a Netflix Inc. subscription that also tracks your blood pressure and orders a pizza as you watch “Scarface.” Thanks to the path set by China’s wildly successful Alipay and WeChat Pay, getting the consumer finance angle right has become a must for Asia’s wannabe super-apps.