The Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA), under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has made an appeal to the ruling issued earlier on by the Vietnam Competition Council (VCC), who concluded Grab did not violate the competition law in its acquisition of Uber’s operations in Vietnam.
In March 2018, Grab announced its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations for an undisclosed sum. A preliminary investigation into the deal was carried out shortly by the VCA and Grab was found to violate the Law on Competition 2004. The combined market share between the two parties prior to the transaction had exceeded 50 per cent and this has constituted an act of economic concentration under the competition rules.
VCC has nevertheless rejected the claim made by VAC, citing Grab did not have the voting rights at Uber Vietnam and Uber B.V., the parent company of Uber Vietnam based in the Netherlands, did then continue operating its app but not Grab.
Grab claimed that the VCA had misinterpreted the scope of relevant markets. The local acquisition was said to be part of the grand deal in which Grab took over Uber’s operations to strengthen its market share in Southeast Asia. With 27.5 per cent stake in Grab offered as an exchange, Uber ended its operations in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar in 2018.
Singapore and the Philippines have accused Grab and Uber of violating their competition laws. The former has fined both companies a sum of $9.5 million in September 2018, and the latter followed with a fine of some $300,000 later on.
The VCA’s appeal now means the ride-hailing service provider could again face the lengthy legal fight and possible punishments subsequently if found violating the local competition regulations.