Running an airline isn't easy, and neither is launching ridesharing, financial services, and delivery businesses from scratch. AirAsia has its work cut out for it in terms of the required investments and trying to be everything to everyone in Southeast Asian markets with entrenched incumbents.
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While there are concerns that Grab, with its ridesharing, food delivery and financial services, is reaching near-monopoly superapp status in Southeast Asia, rival AirAsia, an airline and superapp wannabe, has been hanging in there so far in these early days of the airline's digital aspirations.
Actually, is it still an airline? Undoubtably yes, but for the fourth quarter of 2020, AirAsia Group reported recently that AirAsia Digital's revenue, generated from its cargo, food and package delivery, as well as financial services, made up 42 percent of the group's overall revenue.
Of course, this came in the context of the group's substantial losses and 92 percent year over year revenue plunge. It's also questionable whether lumping AirAsia cargo into its digital segment doesn't distort the nature and statistics of that business.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandez generated headlines the other day when he said the next element in the Group's superapp ambitions, which puts it on a collision course with Grab and others like Gojek and even Traveloka, would be entering the ridesharing business.
We asked Barney Harford, a former CEO of online travel agency Orbitz and the ex-chief operating officer of ridehailing company Uber,&nbs