Grab needs 'big competitor' to temper dominance: antitrust chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2020 09:53 AM | Updated as of Jan 17 2020 10:22 AM

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MANILA -- Grab needs a "big competitor" to blunt its market dominance, the Philippines' antitrust monitor said Friday, ahead of a review of the ride-hailing firm's refund to customers.

A "monitor" will be established "soon" to check on the refund, Philippine Competition Commission Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said. Grab started crediting the P19 million in refunds to app users' digital wallets as it denied overcharging.

"We really need a big competitor for Grab so there is pressure on fares, so that the ability of Grab to exercise market power because of its current monopoly will be much reduced," Balisacan told ANC's Market Edge.

Grab volunteered certain "commitments" to ease the PCC's concerns after it acquired rival Uber's Southeast Asia operations in 2018.

Balisacan said a case was filed, but was later withdrawn against water distributor Prime Water. The PCC is "monitoring developments" on the case, he said without elaborating.

The PCC will be able to build cases faster after the Supreme Court approved implementing rules of the competition law, which will allow PCC staff to join dawn raids and secure warrants for raids within 24 hours from a special commercial court.