GRAB Grab Holdings Limited

Filed: 13 Apr 21, 8:09am

Exhibit 99.9

The Grab Way

Why did we start Grab?

Back in business school where we met, we both took a class called Business at the Base of the Pyramid (BBOP) and were greatly inspired by the story of Lapdesk, a for-profit social enterprise (FOPSE) dedicated to eradicating the shortage of classroom desks at public schools. This case study and BBOP made us realise that businesses can create double bottom lines—i.e. deliver profits and social impact at the same time—and sparked a dream of building a company that would be a force for good for Southeast Asia (SEA), the place we call home.

This dream led to the founding of MyTeksi in 2012.

Back then, you wouldn’t have felt great about your mother, sister, wife, or child taking a taxi alone in Malaysia. The simple act of going somewhere was a risk. When Hooi Ling took taxis home after a late night at work, she would pretend to be on the phone with her mother to deter drivers from robbing or attacking her.

Mobility is freedom, and we wanted to make it safe for anyone to travel in Malaysia. But as we worked with the community of drivers, we learned something that changed our viewpoint entirely.

We saw a group of everyday entrepreneurs simply trying to make an honest living with the skills and resources they had. They had hopes and dreams like you and I, but often didn’t have access to other job opportunities or just didn’t know how to get themselves from where they were to where they wanted to be.

As we equipped them with smartphones (for many of them, their first), brought them online with data plans, and served them a platform that made their job safer and more efficient, their response was tremendous.


Rudianto, a former construction worker, shared how he didn’t have a bank account until he signed up to drive with Grab, and how earning with Grab enabled him to buy a house for his family. Joey, who works at a bakery in Malaysia has been hearing impaired since she was born, told us that driving for Grab part-time enabled her to earn a living and be independent, which she feels is a rare achievement in the hearing impaired community. Siti, a single mother, told us how being a GrabCar driver enabled her to support her daughter through college and even pay for her wedding. Roszana, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, had given up on finding a job until she learnt about delivering with Grab. Mark, who has now graduated from college, drove GrabBike part-time to fund his education. And many others shared how our platform not only increased their earnings, but enabled them to earn a living in a way that better supported their life choices and aspirations, be it to spend more time with family, to be their own boss so they can control their own destiny, or to give them the flexibility to pursue multiple interests.

This is more than just making an income. This is economic empowerment—when people feel like they can make choices, feel ownership and not feel trapped. When people have the opportunity to participate in our broader economy in the way that they choose, it drives progress and personal fulfilment not only for themselves, but also for their loved ones and those they employ.

When we opened our eyes to see them, everyday entrepreneurs were all around. They are the tuk tuk driver in Phnom Penh, the wet market fishmonger, and the Chinatown chicken rice seller we’ve known for the past 20 years. With more than 70 million SMEs in SEA, employing over 140 million people and accounting for 99% of all businesses in the region, everyday entrepreneurs are the bedrock of our economy.

While we’ve already had an impact on this community, we still have a long way to go.

First, while we’ve made some progress helping segments of everyday entrepreneurs find a gainful living, the reality is that many earn enough for basic necessities, with little room to save or build up any financial cushion to absorb economic shocks which are bound to come.

Second, advances in technology are accelerating the pace of innovation, and large segments of everyday entrepreneurs are struggling to keep up. Without help, technology that could have been used to empower this community will marginalise them instead.

Both of these translate to a large portion of the region’s population left exposed and vulnerable to macroeconomic factors, and history has shown us how that story plays out. During the Asian Financial Crisis when incomes were displaced, we saw street riots, mass looting, and unspeakable violence. Left unchecked, these trends foretell a challenging future for our region.


But if we can enable the everyday entrepreneurs of SEA to continue to have a space in the economy, and equip them with the tools and skills to continue being the growth engine of our region, we can play a role in preventing history from repeating itself, and instead enable shared progress for not only them, but for everyone within their ecosystem.

So for now and for as long as the above continues to hold true, Grab’s mission is to drive Southeast Asia forward by creating economic empowerment for everyone—because everyone should have the option to pursue economic progress for themselves.

How can we make a difference?

We don’t pretend to have all the answers or have everything figured out. But here’s the thesis for how Grab can achieve our mission as best as we understand it today. As we learn, this thesis will evolve.

1. Build marketplaces that enable everyday entrepreneurs to thrive

Grab aspires to become experts in the craft of building and growing marketplaces that enable everyday entrepreneurs to thrive. We’re not trying to support everyday entrepreneurs through charity. Charity isn’t sustainable or scalable, but more importantly, it isn’t empowering. Instead, we’re building markets that everyday entrepreneurs can thrive in, and helping them participate in markets that are getting harder for them to be a part of without what we enable.

Markets are where consumers and providers exchange value. There’s a deep science in understanding what makes markets work, and how to expand them. That science describes making markets trustworthy, kickstarting virtuous cycles, and ensuring win-win value-exchange. We have to master and build on that science to make markets more open to everyday entrepreneurs.

Think about it this way—imagine if we wanted to serve everyday entrepreneur retailers in the pre-internet days. Maybe we’d build a shopping mall—a physical 2-sided market. But then we would have to get consumers to come. So we build parking lots, an amazing food court, entertainment, and other amenities. We’d find anchor tenants like an Apple Store, and maybe even give them discounted rent to help attract consumers. But then we’d find innovative ways to expose these everyday entrepreneurs to all the shoppers who came to the mall.  For example, maybe we’d line the walk between the anchor store and food court with shops of everyday entrepreneurs. Learning how to do this all in the AI-powered, mobile internet age is the craft of marketplace-making that Grab has to master.


Our understanding of the markets we are expanding show us that we have to be great at the following:

A)Provide delightful experiences that encourage consumers to do business with everyday entrepreneurs.

Without consumers, we cannot help our partners. And consumers have many choices. If we can’t serve them well, we will lose the opportunity to inspire them to do more business with everyday entrepreneurs. So in order for our markets to attract, retain, and be loved by consumers, we need to stand head and shoulders above the crowd in meeting their needs in delightful, safe, seamless, and convenient ways.

How we do this will range from setting quality standards for everyday entrepreneurs to join and continue participating in our markets; to providing them with training, education and assistance so they can continuously improve their attractiveness and competitiveness; to working with partners to extend their world-class offerings to consumers in our markets; to continuously setting and raising the bar for the industry on experiences Grab is in direct control of.

B)Offer unbeatable value.

For everyday entrepreneurs to remain competitive, especially as large organisations apply new technologies, we have to help them provide equal or better value. In some cases we need to make sure prices are unbeatable, and in other cases, we have to make sure value-for-money is unbeatable. As we master the craft of digital marketplace-making, we should be having data- and science-based discussions on which approach to use in each situation.

We do this by:

Making our costs competitive so partners can benefit from the cost advantages of scale and technology, no matter their size. We must remember that our cost is their cost. The cost structure of Grab is in effect passed through everyday entrepreneurs to their customers. The more wasteful we are, the less successful they will be. The more prudent and wise we are with our investments, the faster we scale impact.


Integrating services and experiences across our ecosystem, to create a holistic differentiated offering that no single player, partner, or entrepreneur could achieve on its own. In doing so, we create value for consumers that is greater than the sum of its parts.

If consumers get a delightful experience and unbeatable value from engaging and transacting with the everyday entrepreneurs across our ecosystem, why wouldn’t they? That’s how we can create space in the economy for everyday entrepreneurs, and solve for some of the near-term challenges they face.

2. Ensure sustainability of our mission

In the long-term, as we see technology and businesses evolve, we believe there are two possible futures. In Future A, the world is primarily dominated by a few big companies who do everything themselves. In Future B, technology creates a new renaissance, where everyday entrepreneurs and small companies thrive with greater access to consumers facilitated by companies that help them succeed. If you had to bet, which future do you think is going to come to reality?

We, for one, don’t want to leave this choice to chance.  Grab can and should play a meaningful role in building Future B.

But future-building is a much longer game, so we need to make sure we can sustain our movement for the long haul.

This implies we have to do two things exceptionally well.

A)Learn how to help everyday entrepreneurs continuously reinvent themselves.

With innovation comes disruption and it is inevitable that over time, innovation will render certain vocations obsolete and structurally reduce demand for services rendered by entire segments of everyday entrepreneurs. When that happens, how do we help them adapt and reinvent themselves so they can stay in the game? This is the hardest part of our thesis to figure out.


We’re doing a number of experiments to this end, including:

Working with partners to offer free certification courses to drivers;

Grouping individual street food hawkers together so they can hold their own against larger merchants;

Leveraging AI to lower costs of delivering insights and business support to everyday entrepreneurs that they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

This, of course, isn’t enough, but it is a start and we will need to continue chipping away at this challenge boldly over time.

B)Ensure our longevity.

Kongō Gumi, the Japanese construction firm, was once the world’s oldest company, continuously running for over 1,400 years. Unfortunately, they overextended their leverage, and in 2006 went through liquidation.

We will be of no help to everyday entrepreneurs (or anyone for that matter) if we constantly need financial help ourselves, and are unable to fund our own continuous reinvention. To ensure our own longevity, we need to learn how to be economically prudent, financially sustainable, and wise enough to manage risks that could sink our organisation.

How do we stay on mission?

Our mission won’t be easy to steward. On some days it will feel like threading a needle with your toes whilst blindfolded. We’ve learned that for us to achieve this mission, Grab needs to be one team that supports each other to do the best work of our lives. To ensure we build that kind of organisation, we have our 4Hs.

The 4Hs serve as our guide for how Grabbers should lead, collaborate, solve problems, and support each other through the ups and downs of this journey. They are a culmination of our learnings thus far about what’s worked and what’s important, and will continually evolve as we learn more.

It’s important to remember that each of the principles below should be interpreted and applied within the context of the Grab Way in its entirety. The sequencing below is not a reflection of any particular order of importance—all the principles are of equal importance and we believe that if we stand by them, we will serve all our stakeholders1 interests well.

1 Consumers, partners, Grabbers, investors, government, public, etc.


Consumer first.

As creators and stewards of marketplaces, we will constantly have to balance the needs of all sides of the marketplace to sustain its health over the long term. While we will always strive to achieve the best outcomes for all our stakeholders within the constraints of our mission, there will be times when we will need to make difficult trade offs. In these moments, we will prioritise the needs of consumers first, partners second (merchant, driver, delivery, agent and business partners), and Grab last. This is premised on the beliefs that building healthy marketplaces is core to us achieving our mission, and that love and trust of paying end-consumers ultimately determines the health and success of any marketplace.

In making decisions, we strive to take a long-term view of consumer and partner value to the Grab ecosystem instead of focusing solely on the short-term.


We recognise that we are stronger as OneGrab vs. as individual functions or business lines. We therefore actively work to overcome and break silos across verticals, functions, and hierarchies.

We work as teams (not individuals) and always endeavour to bring the best of Grab together to put our best foot forward for our stakeholders.

We before me. We put Grab’s interests ahead of our team’s interests, and similarly our team’s interests ahead of our individual interests.

Leaders coach, serve, and inspire.

Leaders at Grab are servant-leaders who do not view power as something to hoard or lord over others. They help Grabbers grow and succeed by coaching and inspiring everyone they work with, leading by example, and rolling up their sleeves to solve problems with their teams. Blaming, shaming, and coercive tactics are not part of their DNA.



Kaizen, in big and small ways.

We recognise that the path to achieving our mission is going to involve its fair share of twists and turns, requiring us to continuously adapt to new information and changing circumstances. Kaizen is the spirit of adaptability that Grab needs to navigate this winding road. Adaptability implies that we inspire and encourage our colleagues to solve problems as they arise. It implies that we constantly improve how we work. And it implies that we seek disruptive innovations to continue to advance our mission.

In an organisation that is growing as fast as ours, it is easy to neglect the spirit of adaptability. When busyness kicks in, reflection, ideation, and experimentation are often replaced by blame, pressure, and a fear of failure. Instead, we have to remain steadfast in seeking help and feedback, reflecting on our impact, ideating, problem-solving as a team, and experimenting with courage. With experimentation will come failure - that’s okay, as long as we own up to and learn from our mistakes.

Build on ground truths.

The best solutions come from a deep understanding of the target audience and problems being solved. To achieve this, we believe it’s important to personally go to the ground, apply our five senses to understand and experience the problems, and speak to stakeholders. In doing so, we allow our conscious and unconscious assumptions to be challenged, and round out our understanding with insights often not evident from data and second hand information alone.


Act with integrity. Build trust.

Trust is both a key enabler of our mission and the secret sauce for high performing teams. So we work to do the right thing, honour our word and not compromise our integrity.

Likewise, trust is the foundation upon which successful marketplaces are built. So we constantly strive to establish and build trust amongst all participants of the marketplaces we steward.


Steward resources wisely

We use resources that have been entrusted to us responsibly and with careful consideration—evaluating whether the result is worth the investment, or whether something can be done in a more efficient manner. This will enable us to keep our costs competitive, and offer unbeatable value to our consumers and partners.

That said, we are also not pennywise and pound foolish. We recognise that prudent investment is what drives growth. This requires strategic discipline as well as wisdom to pick our battles, take calculated risks, and balance between our short- and long-term investments.

We recognise that Grabbers dedicate a significant portion of our precious time to the company, and we respect every second by using it effectively, avoiding wasted or duplicative effort.


Learn from every experience

We recognise that no matter how experienced or accomplished we are, we will always have room to learn and grow. So we actively seek out the learning from every encounter and experience. As we execute on our mission, the best source of learning often comes from the very people we seek to serve - our consumers, partners, communities and Grabbers.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

We listen actively, with an open heart and mind (being conscious of our biases), and always begin by assuming good intent.

We continuously work to improve our understanding and appreciation of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, so we can be better contextual listeners.

We solve problems by fully understanding each other’s context, intent and challenges, so that we can work on finding win-win solutions together.


Debate, align, execute.

In the pursuit of our mission and in the spirit of kaizen, we value diversity of opinions and perspectives, and healthy respectful debate.

In making decisions, while we seek alignment from all relevant parties wherever possible, when teams are at an impasse, we escalate quickly up the chain of command so that we can keep moving forward.

Once a decision is made, we cease all debate, commit to making the best of it, and follow through with the appropriate execution regardless of whether or not we agree with the chosen path.

This is just the beginning

The world is at a fork in the road. On one side is massive economic disenfranchisement, and on the other side is sustainable economic empowerment. If we do our work well, we can help the world choose the better path.

We can’t say for certain we know how to achieve this. We can’t say for certain that we have even identified the problems we need to solve. But what we can say is that if our amazing team of Grabbers work together in the Grab Way, we can make a lasting difference for Southeast Asia by creating economic empowerment for everyone.

Anthony and Hooi Ling