Singapore-based ride-hailing, ride-sharing and logistics services company Grab is expanding its business to include grocery and news services. 

Nikkei has learned that Grab is widening its core business as part of a new open platform strategy that aims to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia. The expansion has led to the introduction of new services that focus on groceries and online news content. 

GrabFresh is Grab’s new on-demand grocery delivery service. It was made in partnership with one of the region’s largest grocery delivery providers called HappyFresh. Grab says the service is capable of delivering fresh and frozen produce to customers’ doorsteps in an hour or even at a pre-arranged time. 

The new grocery-centric venture is seen as Grab and HappyFresh’s way of responding to the strong demand for online grocery shopping in Southeast Asian households. HappyFresh CEO Guillem Segarra said this is “a huge opportunity” because around 70 percent of grocery delivery app users in the region shop for groceries online at least once a week. 

GrabFresh will first launch in Jakarta within this month. It will then be rolled out to Thailand and Malaysia by the end of 2018. Grab and HappyFresh are planning to introduce the service to other countries in the region, but they do not have a timeline for the releases yet. 

The Uber rival is also venturing into news content. Grab wants customers to obtain their daily dose of news updates from its app. This news venture is made possible through its partnership with media group Yahoo. 

Grab’s news service is already available to Malaysian and Filipino consumers. The company is planning to introduce it to other Southeast Asian markets as well, but it did not specify which countries they are. 

The two new services are part of Grab’s plan of providing more services to consumers. It recently launched GrabPlatform, which basically allows partners to access its technologies, such as the ones it is using in accepting payments, logistics and transport. 

"GrabPlatform is all about amplifying the economic value for its users, even more than what we could be for ourselves," Grab CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said. "Grab expands by partnerships. We believe in growing together with partners." Tan added that he wanted eventually to make GrabPlatform "open to the wider Southeast Asian system."

Grab Ride-hailing company Grab is expanding its business to include grocery and news services. Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring