Grab finds a match in Tinder

Grab finds a match in Tinder
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Ride hailing app Grab is revving up online dating in Southeast Asia, teaming up with Tinder in hopes it leads to more users swiping right.

The promotional campaign marks the dating platform's first partnership in the region and features top social media influencers, from models to YouTube stars.

"This is about us bringing new experiences to our customers," said Cheryl Goh, Vice President of Marketing for Grab. "Users have an opportunity to ride with somebody who will widen their world view. It makes the normal ride a bit more interesting."

The "Meet Your Match" campaign, launching across five Southeast Asian countries including Singapore and Vietnam, integrates Grab and Tinder's social platforms. Users can view the profiles of featured Tinder personalities in the dating app, and swipe right to share a Grab ride with them. If those influencers see love in the future after that first meet, passengers are treated to an all-day outing with their date, paid for by Tinder and Grab.

The limited promotion, is the latest marketing campaign for the Singapore-based ride-hailing company as it looks to cement its footprint in the region.

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Since launching in Malaysia five years ago, Grab has garnered 70 per cent market share with 36 million downloads, raising more than US$1.4 billion (S$1.96 billion) in funding.

But, the regional leader faces fierce competition from US rival Uber, as it aggressively moves in on a ridesharing market that's expected to grow to US$13 billion by 2025, according to a study co-authored by Google.

"I can't comment on our competitors, but I can say on our front that we're very blessed our users are sticking to us," CEO Anthony Tan said in an interview with CNBC. "They see how local, how relevant we've become. We create very localized products that matter to them."

The partnership with Grab gives Tinder an opportunity to raise its profile as it looks to increase its presence in the region. While the app already has more than 50 million users in nearly 200 countries including Singapore, it has looked to shed its reputation as a hookup app by introducing new concepts. Last year, it launched Tinder Social, a feature that pairs groups of friends for social events.

"Tinder is a platform for meeting new people," David Wyler, VP of Global Partnerships at Tinder, said in a statement. "We wanted to provide an opportunity for our users to connect with some of their favourite social media stars and still get to their next meeting on time."

The personalities featured in the campaign were selected by Grab and Tinder. They range from MMA fighter Peter Davis, who describes himself as "charismatic and talkative" on his profile, to Chinese Malaysian actress Sarah Lian, who counts "chocolate fudge ice cream and a great documentary" among her guilty pleasures.

The campaign has already launched in Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It will extend to Singapore and Indonesia next month.

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