The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has proposed to impose fines on both Grab and Uber for potentially affecting the nature of fair competition in the business segment that they operate in. As ride-hailing services, Grab was the dominant player in the market when Uber arrived a few years ago. However, with its services facing the ire of governments and regulatory agencies the world over, in addition to the competition that it faced by already established Grab, Uber was forced to withdraw from the market. However, it did so by allowing Grab to acquire its resources and business holdings in the country, for which Uber received shares of the company.
The CCCS has suggested that fines be imposed on both parties because the nature of the merger has lessened competition in this industry, and with the potential that the intent behind the merger was to reduce competition in the ride-hailing sector altogether. The relevant section of Singapore’s Competition Act is Section 54 (“Mergers and acquisitions that substantially lessen competition”) of Chapter 50B, yet depending on the nature of the investigation that could ensue following any challenge by the parties in question, sections 34 (“Anti-competitive agreements, decisions and practices”) and 47 (“Abuse of a dominant position”) could also come into effect.
No further comments were made by Grab or Uber following this announcement, as of yet. However, it will be interesting to see how the eventual result of the potential court case and subsequent ruling will further regulate an industry that has thrived predominantly on a lack of regulation to begin with.