Grab Extends E-wallet Service to Hawkers and Restaurants

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. hawker / ˈhɔ kər / (n) – a vendor who informally sells items in a public place

    The hawkers started to set up their stalls in preparation for the night market.

  2. waive / weɪv / (v) – to disregard a previous action or requirement

    We decided to waive the booking fee for the first fifty customers.

  3. bridge the gap / brɪdʒ ðə gæp / (idiom) – to connect two persons, things, or groups

    The local government is trying to bridge the gap between small shop owners and tourists.

  4. keep one’s head above water / kip hɛd əˈbʌv ˈwɔ tər, ˈwɒt ər / (idiom) – to be able to survive and continue what one is doing

    Mr. Choo is doing his best to keep his head above water despite the decline in his shop’s monthly sales.

  5. major player / ˈmeɪ dʒər ˈpleɪ ər / (n) – a company that is more important and successful than smaller ones in the same industry

    Our company rose to become one of the major players in the tech industry.


Read the text below.

Ride-hailing company Grab has launched its e-wallet service GrabPay in Singapore.

The company initially partnered with 25 hawker stalls and restaurants and is looking into collaborating with more merchants in Singapore’s commercial areas such as Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar, and Tiong Bahru. Grab aims to incorporate the service in 1,000 merchants by the end of the year and make it available to other places in Southeast Asia by 2018.

For the first six months, the merchants’ transaction fees will be waived. Grab will re-evaluate the cost after that time period but claimed that they will keep the fees low. On the other hand, consumers can continue using their existing GrabPay app for cashless transactions. For every GrabPay transaction, they can earn GrabRewards, a loyalty program where riders earn points for every service they use.

According to Grab, this initiative is a form of support for the move to make Singapore a cashless society. Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling also said that they want to bridge the gap between cash-based businesses and new customers by offering the former an affordable means of going cashless.

Singapore’s local hawkers have recently been struggling to keep their heads above water. In addition to rising operational costs and difficulty finding workers, many young Singaporeans are no longer interested in taking over the hawker business.

Aside from Grab, other companies have also offered their platform and service to local hawkers. Food delivery startups like WhyQ, Fastbee, and Yihawker focus on forging partnerships with hawkers, as opposed to major players such as Foodpanda and Deliveroo, which deliver meals from restaurants and cafes.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Grab’s new service will have a positive impact on small businesses (e.g. hawker stalls)? Explain.
• If Grab offered the same service in your country, do you think it will thrive? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think a lot of young Singaporeans are no longer interested in carrying on hawker businesses? Speculate.
• How do you think the Singaporean government can help revive the hawker industry?