Grab, Vietnam taxi firm Vinasun to settle dispute out of court

GRAB and Vietnam taxi operator Vinasun have agreed to "consider amicable arrangements" to settle their court case involving competition between the two firms, Grab said in a statement on Friday.

Vinasun filed a lawsuit against Grab last year, accusing it of unfair business practices and demanding US$1.86 million to compensate for the losses it suffered between January 2016 and June 2017.

Traditional taxi firms in Vietnam are governed by regulations that put a cap on the number of promotions and discounts they can offer every year. Vinasun claimed that Grab exploited the lack of regulations for tech-based transport companies by wooing users with rampant promotions and discounts.

Vietnam prosecutors later recommended that Grab be treated as a taxi operator instead of a tech firm. Grab opposed the recommendation, saying that it is a member of a government pilot programme for the use of technology in the transport sector and that it operates within the programme's regulations.

In response to the outcome of the court case, Jerry Lim, country head of Grab Vietnam, said: "Traditional and technology businesses can co-exist well together and learn from one another to grow and solve big, meaningful challenges together for the transportation industry."

He added that the firm is collaborating with taxi companies and testing JustGrab in some Vietnamese provinces.

JustGrab is a service that combines taxis and cars into one fleet and matches passengers to the nearest available taxi or contract car.