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Just happen to see these posts.

First on the comparison between a Grab food rider and Ninja van.
It is just far too simplistic to compare the number of deliveries made between the 2.
Grab food rider operates as a Gig worker. As far as I know Grab doesnt pay them anything elese besides the fee for delivering the food. Many use bicycles or motorbike, which GRAB does not own/operate/ do maintenance. Medical benefits/annual leave/CPF etc are so far, non existant. There is no army of workers working at a sorting centre.

Ninja Van on the other hand, operates exactly like a logistics company with all of the overheads. There is little difference between them and your day to day delivery company. they own, operate, hire full timers. 

To illustrate, lets go through the various costs when delivering a meal/package.

Grab. Order comes in, rider picks up, delivers. End of Story,
Grab pays delivery fee to driver. 

Ninja van. Job comes in(maybe from lazada/shopee). 
Fixed and Variable costs invloved

Fixed Cost
i) Full time delivery workers (there are freelancers as well from my understanding to cater for peak season, ie 11/11)
ii)  A whole fleet of delivery trucks/van depreciation/ maintenance/road tax/insurance
iii)  Sorting/distribution centres
iv)  An army of full timers/part timers doing sorting all day long

Variable Cost
i) Drop off point costs (paid to shops to collect and for customer pick up)
ii) Fuel for a fleet of trucks and van
iii) Parking cost

As you can see there is very little point in operating Ninja van, it is just like any other delivery company. I am not saying that GRAB is doing a great job, they are not.
But in terms of cost efficiency, GRAB wins hands down. GRAB is a platform, easily scaleable without additional costs. Lala move would be a better logistics business to operate rather than Ninja van. 
And the fee collected from each package delivered for Ninja Van is next to nothing. (cents) Grab collects a few dollars on average for food delivery.
Finally consider this, surge pricing will work on grab delivery during peak periods and customers are usually more willing to pay a few dollars more for food especially during rainy weather. It is an immediate need. Imagine surge pricing on Ninja Van, it doesnt work. Surge comes during peak promotional periods on shopee/lazada. The point of these promotional periods is for consumers to pay less, not more.

(07-03-2022, 11:45 PM)Choon Wrote:
(06-03-2022, 04:34 PM)CY09 Wrote: Meituan is profitable in the food delivery. Meituan reported a 4.3% net margin and the latest first half (pre common prosperity law days), Meituan has grown it to 10% margin, see page 17

DeliveryHero has also reported positive EBITDA for its Middle East North Africa and Europe segments

I do not know the similarity among China, Europe, Middle East and North Africa; but my suspicion is that these companies have been carefully managing their cost by not over paying freelancers too much, decent commission and not much incentives.

The situation is very unique in South East Asia where all the companies are dangling huge incentives and overpaying delivery riders in their bid to be number 1

I am skeptical about the long-term business viability of delivery platforms. 

My skepticism stems from: 

- a Ninja Van vehicle driver when he drives into a condominium or HDB block, he can delivers many products to many households. There is some efficiency in physics and economics. 

- but how many meals can a Grab rider deliver in a condominium or HDB block for each trip given that customers don like to wait for food? There is no efficiency in physics and economics. For the time and distance spent on delivering only one meal, The Grab rider will need a higher fee per meal than the fee per package for the Ninja Van driver.

But I hope I can be convinced otherwise. Because Local Consumer Services of Alibaba (which includes Ele) is the largest loss business segment of Alibaba. If Local Consumer Services can turn profitable, the boost to Ali's profitability from a loss to a positive 10% margin would be significant.
Grab looks better on the dollar comparison because most of the cost factors are pushed off-P&L (i.e. nature of a platform business) but there are probably a lot more hidden long-term cost. Work insurance, pension contributions, etc are all examples of such.

I am not so sure that they are as much a value-creator as the other platform businesses (e.g. e-commerce marketplace). IMO, on ride-hailing and food delivery, they have been squeezing partners (consumers, drivers, deliverers) more than before. From the transition of the old taxi model to today's ride-hailing mix, did the entry of Grab (or GrabTaxi back then) benefit consumers? Perhaps, it traded off convenience for more exorbitant transport pricing. Did the entry of GrabFood, Foodpanda benefit the gig economy workers? Perhaps it traded off longer-term skill progression with shorter-term higher incentives. I guess that's the true work of a demand-supply market.
"Criticism is the fertilizer of learning." - Sir John Templeton
The labour laws for gig workers in South East Asia is very weak as compared to other regions, hence the hidden long term costs are low. Until these countries require platform companies to contribute to pension (like US, Europe and North Africa), Grab is in a superb position.

The problem with the current model is that Grab/Delivery hero/GoTo are giving higher incentives to gig workersthan the comission these 3 receive from consumers. To resolve this, its either these 3 have to increase the fares on consumers or that they have to cut incentives granted to gig workers. If it remains status quo, these 3 will be burning through their cash pile to stay afloat in SEA which means they will collapse.

I dont know whats the future outcome, its either (i) lower wages for gig workers, (ii) tremendous inflation to consumers or (iii) bankruptcy of these platform companies.

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