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Ever wondered how much data web giants generate? Singaporean super-app Grab says 40TB a day

Reports record Q1 sales and advances plans for SPAC-ulative IPO

Singapore-based mega-app Grab has revealed that it generates 40TB of data a day. All that data is clearly valuable: Grab has also announced record profits.

The Southeast Asian company, which bought out Uber in Singapore and since expanded into e-commerce, payments, and financial services, did not disclose what it does with the data, nor how it is protected. But it did disclose [PDF] that it has 23.8 million monthly transacting customers, who collectively generated a record US$507 million adjusted net sales in its first quarter, boasting that the company saw a 39 per cent increase in adjusted net sales despite a COVID-related hit to its mobility services.

The company told The Register that not all of that 40TB of daily data is generated by customers - millions of drivers and other partners also contribute. Doing the math on the user/data ratio is still interesting.

Grab also claimed that in Q1 2021 it was Southeast Asia's most downloaded app, with its mobility and delivery services drawing the highest share of average monthly active smartphone users in the region across iOS and Android combined.

Not only are more people downloading the app in Southeast Asia, they are spending more. According to Grab, its spend per user increased by 31 per cent year-on-year.

The multinational company also said in 2020 it was overall responsible for 50 per cent of Southeast Asia's online food delivery, 72 per cent of the region's ride-hailing services and 23 per cent of its e-wallet market. The online food delivery segment seems to be the one to watch, as it experienced 96 per cent year-on-year growth from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021.

In an investor's call, Grab president Ming Maa said: "In Q1 2021, in spite of [COVID] re-emergence in various countries at different times, the diversification of our platform from both a geographic and segment perspective resulted in fairly stable GMV performance over the quarter.

"Now we did witness weaker mobility volumes in Q1, but this was offset by a strong uptick in deliveries with Grabmart proving to be one of the bright spots in the delivery segment."

Maa attributed the shift from mobility to delivery to lockdown measures across Southeast Asia. As for the future, he predicted:

In the second half of 2021, we expect mobility revenues to recover when [lockdowns] ease and vax rates improve.

Another expectation for Grab in the second half of 2021 is its plans to go public in the United States through a US$40 billion merger with Altimeter Growth, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

On Monday, Grab and Altimeter Growth filed a US Securities and Exchange Commission draft registration statement on Form F-4 in preparation for the IPO. ®

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