Vietnam’s antitrust regulator considers formal investigation into Grab-Uber deal

A GrabTaxi logo is seen on a car neck pillow in a taxi in Hanoi, Vietnam September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Kham

In yet another speed-breaker for Grab, Vietnam’s antitrust regulator has said that the Singapore-based ride-hailing major appears to have a monopoly in the country following its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations in March.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Department (CCPD) has stated that Grab’s market share in Vietnam, after the deal, is over 50 per cent, in violation of the economic concentration prescribed by Law on Competition 2004.

According to the authority, a company that acquires a combined market share of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent without informing the competition authority will be fined 10 per cent of its preceding fiscal year’s total revenue. If the market share is over 50 per cent, the transaction could also be banned.

The CCPD is now considering a formal investigation by the Vietnam Competition Authority.

Grab Vietnam had earlier submitted a letter to the Competition and Consumer Protection Department (CCPD) to explain its acquisition of rival Uber’s operations in Vietnam.

In the letter, Grab had claimed that the combined market share of Grab and Uber in Vietnam market was lower than 30 per cent. It, therefore, “does not have to inform the competition authority before proceeding and completing transactions in Vietnam.”

This response, however, has not satisfied the CCPD. The authority indicated that Grab has not provided adequate evidence to prove that it hasn’t formed a monopoly in Vietnam.

It, therefore, asked Grab Vietnam to provide evidence and evaluate the combined market share of Grab and Uber in the market to ensure the rules of competition before proceeding.

The Grab-Uber deal is currently facing challenges in other countries such as the Philippines and Singapore. The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the country’s antitrust watchdog, launched a review of Grab‘s takeover of its main rival Uber in the country even as Grab has reportedly claimed that the deal does not need the PCC’s approval.

Meanwhile, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) said it has reasonable grounds to suspect that Grab’s acquisition of rival Uber’s Southeast Asia operations could infringe competition laws.

Also Read:  

Ride-hailing major Grab launches food delivery platform in Vietnam 

Vietnam’s antitrust regulator tells Grab to prove Uber deal will not create monopoly 

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.