Hello Cab returns to market with new app, says market big enough for four

Local taxi operator Hello Cab is gearing up to compete in Yangon’s after upgrading its mobile app, managing director U Aung Win said.

‘’We are using an application which was created in 2013 and is no longer up to date. Now, we are drawing on new software to build the app and hope to finish by August 28. After that, we can market to riders again,” said U Aung Win.

The new Hello Cab app will enable riders to book taxis immediately, bringing it on par with Uber and Grab. Under its original app, riders had difficulties finding taxis in real time owing to lags in mobile connections and insufficient data.

‘’We took about two months to build the new app which incorporates software that accelerates the time take for riders to book their taxis. We believe that the technology behind our new app will enable us to compete effectively with Uber and Grab,” said U Aung Win.

First mover

Hello Cab is actually the first taxi provider to introduce on-demand metered taxi services in Yangon in 2015. It is backed by transport provider Yaung Ni Oo Co, telecommunications service provider Strategic Development International Holdings (SDI) and GAP VC, a Singapore venture capitalist.

Despite the slow Internet connection at the time, Hello Cab was well-received by commuters in Yangon, and now has 1,000 registered taxi drivers from just 500 last year.

However, competition has intensified since Uber and Grab entered the market this year with better options and services for riders and drivers. Since its debut in Yangon in March, the number of Grab drivers has risen to 5,000 from just 40 and most say they have seen a 30 percent improvement in average monthly income, data provided by Grab shows.

‘‘If Uber and Grab hadn’t entered the market, our app would still be OK, but compared with them, we are now to obsolete to compete. Actually, our software was also built by international technicians,” U Aung Win said.

Loyal riders

Despite all that, Hello Cab has not seen a decrease in the number of riders choosing to use its app. “Many of our existing customers are still using our service. The Yangon taxi market is big, so it is not possible for one operator to service all the riders. The market is big enough for four taxi operators. So, we don’t need to worry about competing with the others,” U Aung Win explained.

Unlike its competitors, Hello Cab also runs a large vehicle rental business. It’s fleet ranges from saloon cars, vans, high-end rides, SUVs, and their services include self-drive, long-distance rides and simple cab journeys.

The fourth app-based metered taxi provider is local operator Oway Ride, which is owned by the Oway Group. Besides taxi services, Oway Group also sells flight and bus tickets across the country.

Source: Myanmar Times